Sights of Paris
The Eiffel Tower, the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, Sacre Cour, Notre Dame, the Parthenon, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, the Catacombs, Place des Invalides, Pompidou Centre, the Latin Quarter, Trocadéro, Bastille etc. etc. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the city, there is always a host of attractions which you will have yet to see. The aforementioned are just a sample of the more popular ones but Paris is a truly amazing sightseeing experience which you will never forget so savour every second of your stay in the city.
Palace at Versailles
Although the palace is only a train ride from Paris, it really deserves its own slot. Built by Louis XIV in an attempt to get away from city life, the construction took from 1664 until 1715 to complete. Currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country, you should really allow at least one full day to see the whole site. And while the palace and the numerous buildings are amazing, it is really the gardens which cover several kilometres in length and width which will amaze you most, particularly in summer. And, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the area any Sunday afternoon from mid-spring to mid-autumn be sure to check out the ‘Grandes Eaux Mucisales’ where every single fountain comes to life.
Mont St. Michel, Normandie
Situated on the north coast of the country, near the border of Brittany and Normandy, Mont St. Michel is a small quasi-island. Separated from the mainland by about one kilometre of waves at high tide, it is about one kilometre in diameter and eighty metres high jutting up from the ocean. And, at the top of the island is a magnificent abbey, parts of which date from the tenth century. While there is a causeway which connects the mainland and the island which can be crossed by car, you should note that the water around Mont St. Michel can rise to fourteen metres at high tide and with such a dramatic rise between tides, there are also a lot of quicksand areas which makes the area treacherous if you’re not careful. Other than that, the sight is one of the most impressive you will ever witness.
The most visited pilgrimage shrine in the Christian World, Lourdes is located in the extreme south of the country. The origins of the pilgrimage began when a fourteen-year old local peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, saw apparitions of Our Lady eighteen times between February 11th and July 16th, 1858. In the apparition she told Bernadette to tell the village priest to build a chapel on the site where she was appearing and that many people would visit. During the sixteenth apparition Mary revealed her identity to the girl who proceeded to fall to the ground and dig frantically until a small puddle of water appeared. Over the next few days the puddle grew and formed a pool which is now the sacred spring where so many miracles have been reported. And, while many might find all of this difficult to take in, the atmosphere in Lourdes is one well worth experiencing if you are in the region.
Palais des Papes, Avignon
Over seven hundred years ago the city of Avignon was responsible for taking the papacy away from Rome and becoming the capital of the Christian world. And, the residence of the pope during this time remains one of Europe’s most impressive medieval structures – the Palais des papes. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the walled city, the palace is home to the Chapelle St. Jean and the Chapelle St. Martial where you will see some magnificent frescoes from the school of Matteo Giovanetti. The banquet hall, also known as the Grand Tinel, the pope’s bedroom, the Stag Room and the Great Audience Hall are also worth seeing but most of the rooms are now a lot less impressive than they were back in the fourteenth century, having been stripped of their riches. Nevertheless, the palace should still be visited and Avignon itself is a fascinating location attracting artists and painters from all over the world.