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Thursday 30 May 2024

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History, culture and architectural beauty in Paris

Paris is renowned for many things, from its fabulous food and wine to the winding River Seine and its reputation as the most romantic city in the world

One thing that has fascinated visitors for decades is the country’s heritage, with some of the most important architectural and cultural movements in history taking place in the French capital, and evidence of many of these historical events are still there for all to see.

The first stop on any itinerary should be the incredible Palace of Versailles, one of the most beautiful buildings on the planet that stands as perhaps the major relic of the French monarchy.

Its grandeur is matched only by its vastness, with the palace’s 2,143 windows, 1,252 fireplaces and 67 staircases each holding their own iota of history and all presenting perfect picture opportunities.

An official seat of power in France until 1789, the Palace of Versailles was the chosen location for the country’s citizens to make their stand against King Louis XVI and resulted in the Royal Family leaving behind their life of decadence, though its opulence provides a reminder of that time.

The enormous Arc de Triomphe is one of the most iconic of all French monuments, aside from the Eiffel Tower, though many people are unaware of its historical significance.

Its construction began under Napoleon in 1809 to celebrate the triumph of the Republican armies but it was not completed until 1836 after Bonaparte’s empire had collapsed.

The monument is testament to French military glory and is decorated with friezes of battle scenes, as well as Napoleon’s victories, while the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I, a poignant tribute to soldiers who died in both world wars, is located underneath.

Another important tribute to the country’s great citizens is the Pantheon, an imposing neoclassical edifice that is the final resting place of some of the greatest minds in French history.

Built on the ruined church of Sainte-Geneviève in Paris’ Latin Quarter, the construction of the pantheon was ordered by King Louis XV after he recovered from an illness in 1744.

Although the revolution transformed the political landscape of France and the Pantheon’s purpose was cast into doubt, it was eventually rededicated as a ‘Temple to Reason’ that acts as a mausoleum for the country’s greatest French intellectuals and a reminder of their contribution to mankind.

Notre Dame Cathedral is instantly recognisable and is indelibly etched into the minds of the public thanks to the work of Victor Hugo, but its construction took many years and the attraction has undergone many changes over the centuries.

The construction of the cathedral began in 1160 and was completed in its original form within 40 years, before Jean de Chelles built the north arm and began work on the south arm in 1250 – a task finally which was completed by Jean de Montreuil.

The chapels were constructed between the buttresses between the mid-13th century and early 14th century and the finishing touches were added to the towers, which remain a tremendous sight and offer unrivalled views of the city once people have ascended the 422 steps.

Exploring these magnificent attractions is like stepping into another time, as the history, culture and architecture comes to life.

People choosing to travel to Paris and see just why it continues to hold a special allure should ensure they are covered by travel medical insurance that can provide them with valuable piece of mind and allow them to focus on the wonderful attractions.

Some 220 pre-existing medical conditions are covered for free, while serious conditions are available through medical screening.

Better still, all destinations are covered, ranging from the UK and Europe to worldwide locations, so the policy can cover future trips that take in more sights and sounds and help people to learn more about the great cultural and historical hotspots around the world.

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