I have only been in Korea for a few weeks but I have already met many Koreans who showed me how much they like France and especially Paris. Always trying to exchange French words with me or telling me about the vacation time they spent in my hometown. So I thought that I could write this paper to share a bit of my love of Paris and hopefully motivate some of you to come and visit us.
One thing I really enjoy about Paris is that the heart of the city is actually quite small, you can pass through so many great spots with different atmospheres only by walking a few minutes. I used to go on very long walks with friends or by myself and would like to share with you such a little journey with the hope of maybe meeting you some day on this very same path.
|▲ Champs de Mars and Eiffel Tower in Paris, France|
Fall in Love with the Heart of Paris
First things first, the most famous place in Paris certainly remains the Eiffel Tower. But beyond being a touristic must see that gives you an incredible view of the city, it is also a very nice place to walk and hang around! You will see many Parisians chilling, picnicking or even throwing parties at night on the Champs de Mars gardens or on Trocadero square just next to the Tower.
From the Eiffel Tower, you can get to the center of the city by following the Seine River. For example, you can access the Champs-Elysees from there, it is one of the most famous and busiest streets of Paris and it is a great place to shop if your budget allows you to. I recommend tasting some macarons from Ladurée (a delicious sweet French specialty).
The Champs-Elysées links Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, a large monument rising over 50 meters. This arc has been built to honour those who fought and died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. It will offer you a gorgeous view of Paris down the Champs-Élysées and over the rooftops to the Eiffel Tower if you climb to the top of it.
Then by taking the Pont Alexandre III, my favourite bridge in the city as it gives an astonishing view on both sides of the Seine, you’ll be able to access the Louvre which is the most well-known Museum of the city and one of the biggest in the world (it holds about 38 000 pieces including Mona Lisa from Leonardo Da Vinci).
Even if you are not fond of museums you can pass by and explore the courtyards with the pyramids, the place is really gorgeous and offers perfect picture spots. And relax a bit in the Jardin des Tuileries which is a beautiful garden just next to the Louvre.
Feel free to visit the places that attract you the most over there, actually what I love the most is doing this kind of walk at night. After sunset, Paris gets fully illuminated and takes an all different shiny look. So be sure to take some time and wander around the Seine in the evening, it will also give you the opportunity to run into many young French people as Parisians love to gather around the Seine docks especially during summer with music and often improvise dancing events.
Another place I love, which is actually more a district, is the Marais. It spans from the 3rd to the 4th arrondissements (neighbourhoods) and is my favourite area of Paris, it is really the very heart and soul of the city. You should just get yourself lost in those narrow typical French streets and find amazing bakeries, crowded cafés at all hours of day, small shopping places and many nice restaurants.
|▲ A Roman Catholic church called Sacre-Coeur at the summit of the butte Montmartre, Paris|
Push a Little More with History
A bit further north you’ll find the Sacrée Coeur, a Roman Catholic Church located at the top of Montmartre Hill, the highest point in Paris. The church is very impressive and worth visiting, the hill will give you the best possible overall view of Paris.
At the bottom of the hill be sure to pass through the Pigalle district, a fun place with lots of bars, rooftops and clubs where I often go with friends. You can also find the Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) there, which is a famous and one of the oldest French Cabaret places.
Paris is also surrounded by impressive places such as the Versailles castle if you feel the need to take some fresh air outside of the city. This castle is one of the most visited places in the world and bears an important part of French history. It was built by Louis XIV, with the idea to create the “castle of lights”. You’ll be happy to visit the royal rooms and walk in the beautiful gardens. Before taking the train back to Paris, do not hesitate to pass by the Market place to buy typical products from the French gastronomy.
|▲ Glass Pyramids in Musee du Louvre located in the center of Paris, France|
Hang Around with Parisians!
One more thing, do not let the fast paced Parisian life stress you out. Most Parisians always look in a hurry and anxious when you meet them in the streets or on the subway. Just take the time to enjoy the places you like and you’ll discover soon enough that at the end of the day (around 7 p.m.) most of us settle down, often outside in gardens or docks if it is warm, to have a nice time before dinner which we call “Apéro” when we just chill and catch up with our friends. Then French people will gladly have a chat and share typical French snacks and wine with you if you reach out to them.
Even after many years living in Paris I still enjoy spending a lot of time with my friends and family in all those places and now I hope to see you there as well some day!
By Charles Dizier, Exchange Student, Graduate School of Mechanical Engineering
By Charles Dizier, 교환학생 firstname.lastname@example.org