The City of Light is really set to shine in 2014 (sorry!) with a host of new attractions, innovative exhibitions and exciting events. This cultural gem has undergone something of a cultural renaissance and there are more amazing things to do in Paris now than ever before!
Stroll the Seine – Visitors to Paris can now stroll alongside the picturesque Seine River without choking on exhaust fumes. The new Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë vowed to banish cars from sections of this congested city; including the highways along the UNESCO listed Banks of the Seine. Experience the romantic waterway which has inspired painters, poets, philosophers, novelists and architects for centuries. Criss-cross the 32 bridges that span the Seine which flows through ten of Paris’ arrondissements.
Cycle the City of Light – Thanks to an innovative bike-sharing system, Paris is now even easier to explore from the saddle. Vélib’ was set up in July 2007 and now has 20,000 bikes within 1800 stations, making it the largest cycle sharing network in the world! Explore the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Champs Elysees and the new 1.5km traffic-free stretch of the Right Bank.
Explore the Musee Picasso – Following years of renovation, the Musée Picasso is preparing to reopen in June 2014. Works from the fabulous Pablo Picasso will once again adorn the gallery walls. Home to the vast collection of Picasso’s paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, the collection within the 17th century Marais mansion is sure to wow once more.
Rediscover the mighty Eiffel Tower – When was the last time you ascended the most iconic structure in Europe? Well 2014 is the perfect opportunity as this great hulking iron monument celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Opened on 31st of May 1889 to coincide with the Exposition, the 1,063 feet (324 meter) tower was only granted a 20 year permit. Today the Observation tower receives some seven million visits annually – making it the most visited paid-for monument on earth!
Learn more about Jean-Baptiste Pigalle – The French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle was born on 26 January 1714 and this year marks the 300th anniversary of his birth. Both his life and works will be celebrated in his birthplace of Paris. Pigalle’s most iconic work is the 1776 nude statue of Voltaire, which was acquired by the Louvre in 1962. He also has a district of the city named after him, centered around Place Pigalle in the 9th arrondissements.
Explore the Louvre’s Islamic Art Galleries – The refurbished Islamic art galleries within the prestigious Louvre museum is unmissable – and with just 3,000 of the total 18,000 works on display, there is plenty to see in 2014 and beyond. And the crowning glory is undoubtedly the golden roof over the courtyard which is said to resemble a flying carpet. And 2014 also marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the controversial glass pyramid; 30 March 1989 saw the grand unveiling of the new entrance to the Louvre. Top 3 must-see exhibits include the Mona Lisa, Nike of Samothrace (Winged Victory) and Venus de Milo.
Experience the Paris Marathon 2014 – Sunday 6 April 2014 sees the annual road marathon snake through this magnificent city; watch the 37,000 participants run from the Champs-Élysées starting point, via the Place de la Concorde and finally finishing up at Foch Avenue.
Listen to the bells of Notre Dame – The medieval bells of the Notre Dame cathedral were replaced last year with state-of-the art bells to commemorate the 850th Jubilee Year. 8 bells within the North Tower were replaced, alongside the great bell, named Marie in the south tower. The blessing was presided over by the Archbishop of Paris. This cements the iconic landmarks’ status of both musical and historical importance.
Explore the quirky boutiques – Locals love the quaint little specialist shops that line the back streets of Paris. Whether your new hobby for 2014 is taxidermy, collecting antique children’s toys or discovering new potions from French apothecary shops, you’ll be in heaven here! It’s a great way to while away a afternoon and to indulge your passions in the city of romance.
Tip a nod to the Charles de Gaulle Airport – Forty years ago the Charles de Gaulle Airport, aka Roissy, opened in Paris. Located 25 km (16 miles) to the northeast of the city, the airport opened on 8 Mar 1974 and is today the second busiest airport in Europe, behind Heathrow in London.
Check out the Kids Kingdom – Hanging out in one of the new tepees beside the Left Bank in the 7th arrondissements is now even more fun thanks to the newly opened Kids Kingdom. Kids of all ages and interests can hang with their mates in the Satellite of the Senses which fuses fun and education. And prepare to get messy at the giant blackboard wall, where children can really let their imaginations run riot with the oversize chalk sticks.
Rediscover the 7th Arrondissement – Paris’ Palais-Bourbon district, and in particular the Left Bank area, is now even more appealing thanks to a newly pedestrianised section. A 2.3 km stretch of the Rive Gauche highway has been converted into a leisure area, lined with cafes, gardens and restaurants. So now you can wander the stretch between Pont de l’Alma and the Pont Royal in peace.
Check out Paris’ Fairs – The famous Universal Exposition (World’s Fair) first took place here 125 years ago this year. Running from 6 may to 31 October 1889; the fair was promoted with the construction of the mighty Eiffel Tower. This year there are more than 1,600 events and fairs in the city, covering fashion, travel, wildlife, hobbies, antiques, health and beauty, healthy living and many many more.
Catch the end of the Tour de France – The thrilling climax of the most gruelling cycle race on earth takes place in Paris on Sunday 27 July 2014. This year sees the first two stages held in England, stopping at Leeds, Harrogate, York, Sheffield and Cambridge. The tour also passes through Ypres in Belgium to pay respects at the centenary of the start of World War I. The twenty first stage runs 136km from Evry to the Champs-Elysées in Paris, where fireworks, music and celebrations greet the riders.