Take me to... Paris

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With a population of 2.1 million and holding the record for attracting more visitors than any other city in the world – 30 million of them in 2018 to be exact – Paris is a city not to be missed off your travel list. 

Popular for long weekends of exploring everything the French capital has to offer, Paris is bursting with monumental landmarks, glamourous shopping boutiques, classic bistros and iconic art – all to admire, experience and immerse yourself in. Also known as the ‘city of love’, Paris is full of romance, from the twinkling lights of Le Tour Eiffel and quiet cobbled streets, to its endless culinary delights (French macaroons would be our treat of choice).

Paris is recognized as one of Europe’s major centers in business, finance, fashion, science and the arts. Any visit could be spent walking amongst the 6,100 streets in the city, visiting museums, architectural landmarks and galleries such as the Louvre, The Musee D’Orsay, Musee National d’Art Moderne, to name a few. Walk through the historical district along the River Seine, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and famous streets such as Champs-Élysées, where you can find the beautiful architecture of the Notre-Dame de Paris, Sainte-Chapelle chapel, Tour Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Cœur Basilica. 

The Louvre Museum

As the world’s most popular museum, the Louvre Museum welcomes around 9 million visitors a year. Housing a variety of art in the Louvre Palace, the museum holds a total of 460,000 pieces and only 35,000 of those are shown to the public. The palace was originally built in the 12th to 13th century and officially opened as a museum in 1793. The palace was damaged during the suppression of the Paris Commune in 1871, where a fire destroyed the interior, but thanks to firemen and employees most of the museum was saved. During World War II the museum was cleared of most works and it wasn’t until 1945 when art started returning to the Louvre.
Today, the Louvre has additional architecture that is recognized internationally. The Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) is a large glass and metal pyramid designed by Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei. It was completed and opened in 1989 and has since become a landmark of Paris. The larger pyramid is the main entrance to the museum and has three smaller pyramids nearby in the main courtyard (Cour Napoléon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre).

Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral

The Cathedral of Notre-Dame, meaning Our Lady, draws in 13 million visitors a year. Originally built on a small island called the Île de la Cité, construction of the cathedral started in 1163 and was completed nearly two centuries later in 1345. The cathedral has a wealth of history, and is home to the crown of thorns and the tunic of Saint Louis. It was undergoing extensive renovations when a devastating fire started in the roof in April this year. 

The spire and roof collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, were saved and ideas, pledges and donations are coming in on how the cathedral can be restored. French MPs have approved to restore it within five years, whether this is rebuilding in its original form or with a more contemporary look. Visitors are unable to go into the cathedral but can still pay their respects and visit the site. 

Getting around

Give your feet a rest from all the sightseeing and take a trip on the Paris Metro. Consisting of 300 stations on 16 lines covering the area of central Paris, hop on and hop off and admire the architecture of the stations, often recognized by their unique entrances inspired by Art Nouveau. 

As the second busiest metro system in Europe – behind Moscow Metro – it may not be the easiest system to navigate. One thing that might help are the varying interiors across the different lines. You’ll be sure to spot Camira’s fabrics on route as we have been making fabrics for the Paris Metro network since 2006, redesigning, recoloring and weaving new fabrics to work with the theme of each line. 

One of the most recognized can be seen on the A line, with a graphic daisies pattern that we made in 2008, recreating an existing pattern and recoloring - make sure to keep an eye out for it whilst travelling around this beautiful city!