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Ah! Paris

When the ice thaws over Western Europe and warpath begins to rejuvenate that temperate world, few people can resist the urge to travel. As it is said, travel broadens the mind and no place broadens the mind more than Paris, France, a city where past, present and future collide into a beautiful collage of experience.

For centuries, this metropolis has been the seat of French leadership, dating back to the time of the Frankish kings. It lies in the midst of its beautiful country, surrounded on all sides by a range of vineyards, hills and quaint townships. From a distance it appears like a Dali painting with contemporary and ancient architecture melding together in graceful harmony. It is a sight too beautiful to behold.

Inside the city there is no shortage of fun, excitement and intrigue, making it a match for even the most experienced globe trotter.  During the day one can walk the cobble and asphalt streets and never see an end to their ever peeking interest.  There is the ever popular Eiffel Tower where one can ride to the top and gaze out at their adventure to come from upon that marvel of engineering.  For those with a bit of a pre-industrial taste in engineering there is the Arc de Triomphe with its marble white color and artfully sculpted facades. Rivaling even the previous two is the enormous Cathedral of Notre-Dame with its great towers and many buttresses; it stands a testament to man’s love of all things beautiful and is the most visited monument in all of France.

If these impressive places are too much for one to bear but you still wish to experience the wonders of history, then perhaps a trip to the quaint Musée de Montmartre is in store. The Museum displays a unique collection of paintings, posters and drawings that recount the history of Montmartre, including its artistic atmosphere and workshops, from the Bateau-Lavoir at the Cortot studio to the famous cabarets such as the Lapin Agile and the Moulin Rouge.

Of course one must eat on their journey across Paris. But with the streets lined with restaurants small and large how can a person choose only one? Simple, go online to the Paris tourism directory for a full range of delectable destinations that will match the tastes of any expert traveler. There are plenty of foreign restaurants to cater to the home body in any person as well as some of Paris’s local favorites such as innumerable Brasseries. For those who are unaware, a Brasserie is a kind of big sister to the bistro. At their origins, they were simply breweries, but as time went on, the word came to designate large, typically Parisian bistros with an inimitable charm where you can dine on traditional French dishes, including onion soup, “coq au vin” and “pot au feu”. In a sense they are the perfect place for anyone who wishes to experience true French cuisine.

But as it is with the rest of the world, the sun must go down and shops must close for the evening.  But you are in Paris. Just because the street lamps come on doesn’t mean that the fun must stop. Paris has one of the most active and historic nightlives of any European city, with tradition dating back centuries. There are clubs, cabarets, tours, aquariums, bars, concerts; you name it and Paris has it in spectacular fashion.

Looking for a drink? What’s your taste? Want a trendy tabacist bar like the Chez Jeanette where cigarette and hookah smoke perfume the air with flavorful scents? Or maybe you desire the timeless cool of places like the Costes venues (Café Georges, Etienne Marcel, etc.). Perhaps you want to appease the artist in you. Then you may want to order a flavorful drink at the critically acclaimed “The Left Bank” where great minds do think alike.

On the other hand you’re probably like the author and can’t resist the hard kick of drums and a sweet synth track. Paris is more than accommodating to the electronic music junkie in all of us with numerous clubs and houses playing classics and hits until the sun comes up. Castel Paris, Le Cab and VIP Room Theater Paris are just few of the innumerable discotheques where the weary travelers can lose themselves in the pulse of contemporary tunes.

Ok, so maybe that’s too much for you and a more classic approach is needed. As always,Paris comes to the rescue with tradition. And what dance embodies Parisian folklore more than the French cancan? A true piece of French heritage that attracts visitors to the Moulin Rouge, FoliesBergères, La Belle Epoque and Nouvelle Eve, in a festive and colorful atmosphere.

Even if that is too much, Paris has you covered with a list of acclaimed jazz clubs. Landmark clubs like Le Petit Journal, Le Caveau de la huchette or Le Duc des Lombards; iconic café-concerts like Café Laurent, the centre of life in Saint-Germain-des-prés in the 50s where Boris Vian used to play; restaurants with live music, like the Bellevilloise and its famous Sunday jazz brunch; or the River Café and its floating concerts on the Seine, and so many more.

So when making your next trip schedule, think on what Paris can offer you and your compatriots. Who knows, you may just be surprised by how much fun you have.

Post submitted by Samuel Martin

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