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Leisure Activities in Paris

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 15th September 2014 12:38

If you have chosen to study or work abroad in Paris then we congratulate you on an excellent choice. With titles like the ‘City of Light’ and the ‘City of Love’, Paris is considered one of the most stunning and romantic cities in the world. Overflowing with history and remaining incredibly influential in art, fashion, food and design, Paris offers a unique culture and experience for all visitors that are tempted by its beauty. We have put together five things to do in Paris during your free time that will let you witness how the city has earned these superlative plaudits.

Arc de Triomphe

Standing at the centre of Place de l’Étoile on the western end of the Champs-Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe was originally commissioned by the French emperor Napoleon as a tribute to his victories as Emperor of France. Today, the iconic arch stands as a symbol of honour for those who fought and died for France.

The monument stands 50 metres high and is decorated with inspiring sculptures representing important moments and battle scenes of the French revolution. Visitors can witness the engraved names of military leaders of the French Revolution and Empire, with the names of those who died on the field of battle underlined. The monument also boasts a museum as well as the famous ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’, and visitors can also journey to the top of the monument to enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of Paris.

Visitors that are under 26 and hold a European passport are granted free entry to the monument all year round.  Opening hours are from 10am to 11pm between April to September, and from 10am to 10.30pm between October and March. Last admission is 45 minutes before closing. The Arc de Triomphe is closed 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning only), 14 July (morning only), 27 July, 11 November (morning only) and 25 December.

Eiffel Tower

Considered one of the most famous landmarks in the world and a symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 in order to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the French Revolution. Despite the immense size and complex lighting system, construction of the tower took only two years, two months and five days, making it a tremendous technical and architectural achievement. It stands as an incredible demonstration of French engineering and has been a tremendous success ever since it was first completed.

A glittering beacon in the skies of the Capital, the monument has seen regular renovations to adapt for an ever-growing public interest. The tower boasts extraordinary light shows, prestigious visitors and breath-taking views of the entire city. Ticket demand for the tower is high, so it is recommended to book your ticket in advance online.

Opening hours to the top of the tower are from 9am to 12.45am (last admission 11pm) between 15 June to 1 September, and from 9.30am to 11.45pm (last admission 10.30pm) for the rest of the year. The Eiffel Tower is open every single day of the year and has extended hours to 12am for the Easter weekend and the spring holidays.

Louvre Museum

Originally built as a defensive fortress for Paris, it wasn’t until 1793 that the building became a museum and it now welcomes nearly 10 million people every year. The Louvre now stands as one of the most visited museums in the world and is home to thousands of masterpieces, making it a pillar of French culture and history.

The museum contains over 35,000 pieces of artwork, including Da Vinci’s world famous Mona Lisa. Sculptures, paintings and decorative art are only some of the magnificent styles visitors are able to experience while journeying through the Louvre and exploring the history of France. The Louvre also includes the serene and picturesque Tuileries Gardens which are the perfect place for visitors to relax and reflect about their experiences within the museum itself.

Visitors that are under 26 and hold a European passport are granted free entry to the museum all year round. Opening hours are from 9am to 6pm on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and from 9am to 9.45pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Louvre Museum is closed on Tuesdays and 1 January, 1 May, 11 November and 25 December.

Moulin Rouge

Opened in 1899 during an excited atmosphere of Industrial Revolution, the Moulin Rouge firmly placed itself as an extravagant home of musical entertainment in the area of Montmartre. The theatre was built with the vision of a venue offering entertainment that could be enjoyed by all, regardless of social class.

The Moulin Rouge still stands today, with the likes of Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald and Elton John having graced the stage. The theatre now offers a magnificent venue where people can enjoy a unique dining experience before witnessing the dazzling musical entertainment and acrobatic dance routines that the theatre is renowned for.

While the show is in French, the theatre is visited by thousands of tourists of all nationalities every year.  The true enjoyment of the Moulin Rouge comes from the expressive dance routines and the familiar songs.  It is recommended to book tickets in advance as demand for shows is very high.

The Moulin Rouge is opened seven days a week from 7pm to 1am. Dinner is available at 7pm before the 9pm show. The theatre offers two shows each night, starting at 9pm and 11pm.

Parc des Princes

Home ground to the professional French football club Paris Saint-Germain, this modern stadium was finished in 1972 and is the third to have been built on the site since the first opened its doors in 1897. Having hosted six European club football finals, including the first ever European Champion Clubs’ Cup showpiece in 1956, the stadium is the home of some incredible football history.

Visitors who attend a football match and see the legendary PSG playing up close will not only enjoy the sport but also witness the incredible atmosphere of the fans. Ticket prices range depending on opponent, but for a regular match range from €35 upwards. The stadium also offers guided stadium tours which typically last 60 minutes for €10. These include visiting the dressing rooms, players’ tunnel, VIP boxes and a rising collection of trophies in the trophy room.

Stadium Tours generally take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Parc des Princes is currently undergoing renovation for the rest of 2014 which may cause changes to tour dates and times. It is recommended to check availability of chosen dates with the stadium itself.