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“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” (Ernest Hemingway)
A WELL-ROUNDED CULTURE
The ancient Romans founded Paris in 53 BC, calling it Lutetia Parisiorum. Today, more than 2,000 years later, Paris is universally considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a preeminence confirmed by the 28 million visitors who come to the French capital each year.
The city, stretched out along a loop of the Seine, is the cradle of culture, gastronomy, politics and global finance. Nobody can resist the charm of its districts (arrondissements), each with its own attractions and varied population, the inheritance of colonization that extended over the five continents and is now a cultural advantage for the country.
Start your tour of the city where it all began: the present-day Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin) along the Rive Gauche of the Seine. After visiting the Palais du Luxembourg, now the home of the French Senate, and strolling through the wonderful gardens (Jardins) alongside, reinvigorate your mind by immersing yourself in culture with a visit to the monumental buildings of the Sorbonne University, one of the oldest and most prestigious cultural institutions in the world.
ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL TOURS
Visitors to Paris cannot and should not miss out the most traditional and taken for granted, but also the most fascinating, visit to the city's most famous monument, the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) to admire the city from on top of its 324 meters. The tower, a symbol of the city, continues to trouble the minds of French intellectuals and until 1930 was the highest architectural structure in the world. And as you can never have enough culture, you should devote a day to visiting the Louvre Museum. With its 9 million visitors a year, this is the most visited art museum in the world. Maybe that's why Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa has such an enigmatic look! But the beauty of Paris can be best admired from the Seine, on board a bateau-mouche at sunset.
The city is spread out before the eyes of visitors who can enjoy the architectural wonders, far from the chaos of the city. You will have a magical viewpoint of the Ile de la Cité, one of the city's two islands in the river, before distinguishing the imposing beauty of Notre Dame Cathedral, while the sidewalks along the Seine are filled with lovers and street artists, creating the classic cartoon postcard of Paris.
FASCINATING AND TIMELESS
The "Ville-Lumière", the nickname by which the city is known thanks to the massive city lighting project carried out by Marshall Nicholas de La Reynie, has a timeless beauty. Paris is a lady who has retained her charm amazingly well. Time might add a few lines, but it can only make her more precious, leaving visitors enraptured and speechless. But Paris is not just about art and culture: today the La Défense financial district is home to around 30 Fortune Global 500 companies, which puts the French city ahead of economic giants such as London, New York and Beijing. Thanks to foreign, especially Arab, investors, the city is experiencing a new youthfulness and a renewed desire to excel.
Take soccer, for example, which has seen the French tradition assert itself with great effort over its longstanding rivals, English and Italian clubs. But today, thanks to Qatari investors, even the city's historic club Paris Saint Germain can dream of European and world triumphs with players of international standing like Ibrahimović and Cavani, snatched from their original clubs for millions of euro.
And while waiting to lift the Champions League Cup, Parisians (and visitors) can take comfort in the wonders of French cuisine. A center of world excellence for the palate, assisted as always by Mother Nature, who offers in these places early produce grown by the expert hands of local farmers and transformed by Michelin-star chefs.
You may decide just to taste a bit of Camembert cheese but you will notice that the presentation will be top class. Immersing yourself in the delights of foie gras, sole à la meunière (apparently King Louis XIV's favorite dish), Quiche Lorraine or simply biting into a Croque Monsieur in a Paris bistro, you will recognize the real taste and tradition of French cuisine. And even though Paris is a long way from Marseilles where the dish was created, don't miss the opportunity to taste a delicacy, Bouillabaisse, a splendid soup of fish and shellfish, rigorously selected from the market fishmonger.
It is not by chance that in 2010 UNESCO put French gastronomy on its Intangible Cultural Heritage lists. So you really must make a trip to Paris! What are you waiting for? Book an Alitalia flight now and set off!