Paris: Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandra III

The best way to discover Paris bridges is by walking along the banks of the River Seine. There are about 32 bridges on the river in Paris; Impressionnant! One of the bridge that attract my sight is the Pont Alexandre III, the city’s most opulently decorated bridge.

Foundation Metal

It is constructed from steel and stone in the Art Nouveau style. The bridge was named after Tsar Alexandre III to commemorate the Franco-Russian Alliance signed in 1892. Even though construction of the bridge only started in May 1897, the first stone was laid by Czar Nicholas II in October 1896, who followed Alexander III to the throne in 1894. The bridge was officially opened to mark the occasion of the Universal Exposition in 1900, although construction had been completed some time before.

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Paris: Tour Montparnasse

Montparnasse

A large number of stores are shuttered on Sunday, making the museum the best spot for the crowd to visit. I decided to visit Tour Montparnasse instead, a  popular observation building set aside the Eiffel Tower. The tower, built in 1973, was one of the first tall skyscrapers in Paris. Nothing special about its architectural style but like any other building such as the Empire State Building in New York or Petronas Twin Tower in Malaysia, Tour Montparnasse offers unrivaled views of the city below. This was a much more relaxing experience than the over-crowded Eiffel Tower.

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Paris: Notre-Dame Cathedral & Centre Georges Pompidou

Notre DameOne of the Gothic masterpiece listed on the UNESCO World Heritage that worth the visit is the notable Notre-Dame Cathedral. The name will remind you of the classic romance; The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, a novel by Victor Hugo published in 1831. The epicenter of the novel, of course, is the Gothic cathedral itself. Like what Hugo would say; Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable. This year the Cathedral celebrate its 850th anniversary!

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Paris: Cruising Along River Seine

Bateux-Mouches

The real essence of Paris is captured by the River Seine that flows right through the heart of the city bordering 10 of the 20 arrondisements. The bridges along the river evoke the most romantic visions of Paris. Most people will agree with me that taking a stroll along the Seine is a quintessential Parisian experience. Like Fluctuat Nec Mergitur, a motto encrusted everywhere in Paris; It floats and doesn’t sink, reminds how important Seine is.

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Paris: Palace of Versailles

Château de Versailles

It was another cold winter morning. I decided to head out early to catch the train to the Palace of Versailles, one of the largest and most opulent castles in the world. If you love history and architecture, you wouldn’t want to miss this. Getting to the majestic palace is pretty straight forward. The Versailles Palace is located southwest of Paris suburb. Purchase a ticket at the station counter that heads to Versailles Rive Gauche. Do note that T+ ticket is not valid for this journey. My French is really that bad and I tend to pronounce Versailles as “ver-sales” instead of “ver-sahy”. Lost in translation.

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Paris: Musée du Louvre

Louvre Entrance

Ever since Dan Brown incorporated the Louvre in his best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, I am dying to visit the museum and see it for myself. Right after my visit to the Grand Mosque, I took the metro and alight at Palais Royal-Musée du Louvre. It is utterly impossible to describe the Louvre in just a paragraph or two, but I’ll try.  The museum has a maze of rooms housing a vast collection of artwork, sculpture and other artifacts. Just imagine over 3 million of art works, 6000 paintings, several miles of corridors and galleries . I conclude that it is impossible to view all the exhibits in a day. Besides being the most visited art museums of 2012, what Louvre got to offer are unrivalled collections of French paintings and ancient art works.

Street Art Paris

The best thing about Paris is that you can wonder around the city to find cool bit of street arts. I am lucky to stumble upon a few pavement artists wielding chalk, hoping that the weather will hold out long enough to last a tad longer. I loved the Charlie Chaplin scene that I came across in a square right above the metro station.

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Paris: Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées

Arc de triomphe

What makes Paris distinctive are the wide range of splendors and architecture marvels that the city preserves. Every turn offers different history and simply picturesque. You will never fail to notice the prominent landmark, the Arc de Triomphe that sits in the middle of the intersection Place Charles de Gaulle. This is a significant place in Paris history; evoking both joyful and dark historical memories.

Roundabout

Massive roundabout; Place Charles de Gaulle.

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