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Paris - France

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris Musee d'Orsay, ParisEiffel Tower, ParisView from Eiffel Tower, Paris

Paris is one of the world's great cities.  Centuries as the capital of one of the most successful countries has led to a collection of great cultural and architectural treasures.  The cities monuments and parks are a great place to explore at any time of year.

The great Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame is on many an itinery.  This huge white church stands on an island in the Seine and took almost 200 years to complete.  The great rose windows and the flying butresses to the rear are among the highlights.  It's also possible to climb the north tower to gain a better view of the many gargoyles.

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the world.  Built as a temporary structure for the 1889 World's Fair it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.  There are observation decks on three levels – the top level is 276m high – a dizzying height in a city of low rise buildings!

The other iconic monument is the massive Arc de Triomphe.  Decorated with battle scenes this commemorates Napolean's Imperial victorues.  The arch is sat in the middle of the largest roundabout in the world, where 12 major avenues meet.  There's no traffic lights or lane markings aside from a small blue line around the edge – don't even think about driving through here!

Paris's galleries are world class, celebrating a huge variety of art collections.  The Louvre is the most famous (and busiest) but gems can be found in a number of other galleries across the city including the Monet's work in the Orangery and the grand tapestries of the Museum of Medieval Art.  The Musee d'Orsay, in a spectacular train station houses late 19th century and early 20th century Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings and scultpure.

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