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Paris: three ways

No number of visits to the French capital feel quite enough. Explore Paris with this list, tailored to your level of familiarity. You’ll also find a special section on the Louvre – itself a sight worth returning to.
Notre Dame’s west façade with its central rose window
COMPILED BY CATRIONA GREW AND RORY GOULDING, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CATHERINE LE NEVEZ, CHRISTOPHER PITTS AND NICOLA WILLIAMS. PHOTOGRAPH: JONATHAN STOKES

FOR FIRST-TIMERS

Arc de Triomphe £

(paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr; place Charles de Gaulle)

If anything rivals the Eiffel Tower as the symbol of Paris, it's this magnificent 1836 monument to Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz (1805). The intricately sculpted arch stands sentinel in the centre of the Etoile (Star) roundabout. From the viewing platform on top (50m up via 284 steps and well worth the climb) you can see the dozen avenues radiating out.

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur £

(sacre-coeur-montmartre.com) Begun in 1875 in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and the Paris Commune, Sacre-Cceur is a symbol of struggle. When it was consecrated in 1919, it stood in contrast to the bohemian lifestyle that surrounded it. The view over Paris from its parvis (front terrace) is breathtaking.

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris £

(notredamedeparis.fr)

Paris' mostvisited unticketed site is a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture. Seven centuries old, its interior fits 6,000 worshippers. Highlights include three glorious rose windows, a treasury and the bell towers, which can be climbed. From the North Tower, 400-odd steps spiral to the top of the west facade, where you'll find yourself face-to-face with frightening gargoyles and spectacular city views.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - July 2018
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