A city full of trea­sures...

Beth Abbit ex­plores the many won­der­ful sights and sounds of Paris

The Galloway News - - READER TRAVEL -

Paris seems at its most beau­ti­ful when strolling along the banks of the Seine in the dusky sun­set of spring. Dur­ing my whistlestop tour of the French cap­i­tal, many Parisians are in a ju­bi­lant mood just a day af­ter the elec­tion of their new pres­i­dent, Em­manuel Macron.

French flags fly proudly along the length of the Champs Elysées and one huge tri­color blows gen­tly in the wind, hang­ing from the spec­tac­u­lar Arc de Tri­om­phe.

All across this beau­ti­ful city, trees and flow­ers be­gin their bloom. Paris has been re­ju­ve­nated, it seems.

The city has suf­fered more than its fair share of tragedies over the last cou­ple of years and this has no doubt had an ef­fect on the tourist in­dus­try.

But this most won­der­ful of Euro­pean cities has enough beauty, el­e­gance and glam­our to keep tourists com­ing back again and again.

How could they stay away when Paris has so much to of­fer?

The city is full of trea­sures, among them Notre-Dame Cathe­dral, the Lou­vre and the glam­our of the Champs-Elysées.

It would be im­pos­si­ble to rec­om­mend just a few things on a trip to this won­der­ful city, but the best ad­vice is to steer away from long queues.

Art lovers can’t go wrong with the Lou­vre, where the build­ing’s glass pyra­mid is rea­son enough to visit.

But those keen to see works by the Im­pres­sion­ist mas­ters Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Toulouse-Lautrec should head straight to the grand sur­round­ings of the for­mer rail­way sta­tion Musée d’Or­say.

The Grand Palais, too, is a good start­ing point for art lovers. The palace is cur­rently host­ing an ex­ten­sive ex­hi­bi­tion of Rodin’s work to mark the cen­te­nary of his death.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing with a lit­tle more of an edge, then take to the streets where you can find an abun­dance of graf­fiti and street art. French ur­ban artist In­vader’s video game-in­spired tile­work can been seen across Paris, while a trip to the bo­hemian neigh­bour­hood of Belleville, once home to French singer Edith Piaf, throws up a wealth of images.

No trip to Paris would be com­plete with­out a trek up the hill to the an­cient quar­ter of Mon­temarte.

Swarm­ing with tourists and job­bing artists, this pa­rade of sou­venir shops and over­priced cafés can be a bit of a cat­tle mar­ket – but it’s worth vis­it­ing if only for the breath­tak­ing views across Paris. What could be bet­ter?

Last, but not least, what would Paris be with­out The Eif­fel Tower?

This iconic mon­u­ment, once re­viled by the French, is now a proud sym­bol of those most trea­sured of na­tional val­ues – lib­erty, equal­ity and brother­hood.

Start your evening with a bustling meal at Res­tau­rant 58 on the first floor of the enor­mous iron struc­ture.

It is of course, the only place in Paris with­out a view of the tower, and gives din­ers a unique van­tage point over the city.

Fol­low din­ner with a river­boat cruise along the Seine. This gen­tle jaunt gives tourists the chance to soak up the wealth of glo­ri­ous build­ings along the Paris sky­line as the sun sets on the spec­tac­u­lar city.

As the light fades the stun­ning build­ings that pop­u­late the shore­line fall into soft fo­cus. Then, in true Parisian style, the boat docks at the Eif­fel Tower on the hour – just as the mag­nif­i­cent struc­ture be­gins to glit­ter and sparkle.

Next, take a taxi to Mont­martre for a night at that most fa­mous of Parisian nightspots, the Moulin Rouge.

The sound of pop­ping cham­pagne corks and a ca­coph­ony of whoops and screams fill the air at this fa­mous es­tab­lish­ment. The red wind­mill – famed for its out­ra­geously deca­dent live shows – does not dis­ap­point the tourists look­ing for a truly Parisian night out.

As bare-chested men and women high­kick their way across the stage the show un­folds in a whirl­wind of Can Can kicks, glitzy out­fits and flashy white teeth.

The two-hour show in­cludes some hair­rais­ing feats of ac­ro­bat­ics, a seem­ingly end­less gag­gle of glam­orous cho­rus girls and some heart-stop­ping feats of brav­ery in­volv­ing a tank of wa­ter and some very large snakes.

This tourist- friendly club may, nowa­days, be a far cry from the seedy, erotic Moulin Rouge of the early 1900s, but this dizzy­ing palace of camp is the clos­est you can get to the real thing in 2017, and it cer­tainly doesn’t dis­ap­point.

The Eif­fel Tower stands at more than 300m tall and was of­fi­cially opened in 1889

The Moulin Rouge Hon­ey­comb dessert at Miche­lin starred L’Abeille at the Shangri La, Paris

Street art in Belleville, Paris

The view from the Shangri La Ho­tel, above, and the din­ing room, be­low

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