Paris is a Mecca for tourists who are drawn by many iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Many travelers, however, locate lesser-known Parisian gems that give them a completely unique travel experience. From architectural feats to historical landmarks, this cosmopolitan capital remains one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world.
Paris is overflowing with history and continues to be influential in the spheres of culture, fashion, art, design and food. It is known as the City of Light with its motto proclaiming its staying power, "She is tossed by the waves but is not sunk." For those seeking a unique experience in the incredible city, exciting opportunities are around every corner. The Centre Culturel George Pompidou, for example, is not as well-known as other Parisian tourist destinations, but hosts millions of visitors each year. Opened in 1977 to house literature, art and cinema, this groundbreaking vision of architect Le Corbusier attracts artists and visitors alike.
Other attractions include La Defence, a business district stretching over 400 acres that is recognized for its stunning skyscrapers and underground circulation as well as the more than 60 modern art sculptures and monuments. The infamous Catacombs of Paris contain the bones of more than six million people, many of whom were believed to be killed during the French Revolution. Maximilien Robespierre and Jean-Paul Marat, influential figures in the Revolution, are believed to be buried there. Tourists from around the globe have visited the catacombs since 1867.
Another location rich in history is the Pere Lachaise Cemetery which has become a silent oasis in the midst of the many busy Paris neighborhoods. It offers rich vegetation comparable to any of the more well known parks in Paris. One can spend hours looking for tombs of famous icons buried there including French singer Edith Piaf, Irish writer Oscar Wilde and American rock legend Jim Morrison.
From the cemetery it is easy to stroll through the nearby city of Belleville. Literally translated into "beautiful town," this neighborhood is home to outdoor markets and large numbers of artists and musicians from around the world. The multicultural community creates a rich and unique environment unlike anything else in Paris. It is in this area that the least expensive city hotels will be found along with other exotic and interesting restaurants.
Though the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre are must-see attractions for a first-time Paris visitor, there are hundreds of galleries, restaurants, monuments and regions to explore. Rich in history, glitz and glamour, you'll be sure to find something new every time you embark on a Paris vacation.
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