Tour Paris by Helicopter

Ixair

This is definitely a more expensive activity, but so worth it. You may be able to get spectacular views from the tops of tall buildings, or the Eiffel Tower, but absolutely nothing beats the view you’ll get from a helicopter.

IXAIR Helicopteres gives amazing helicopter tours of the city. They start at the Heliport de Paris, sweep over the capital, Versailles, and over the grand countryside. They have several different packages, all ranging in price and time frame, but one of the neater things they offer is the 45 minute ‘Grand Paris Tour’ that touches down at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace, which is where space rockets, including the Concorde are housed.

The Abbaye de Chaalis tour is another neat package that flies you over Versailles palace, to the Abbaye Royale de Chaalis, and through the Ermenonville forest that has beautiful flora and fauna and ancient abbey ruins.

You can contact IXAIR to inquire on fees and reservations available by phone or by email. We’ve listed the contact information below:

Phone: 33 1 30 08 80 80

Email: contact@ixair.com

There are also several other companies offering this service, with IXAIR being the most well known. We’ve listed some links below:

FrenchAdeventures.Com : http://www.frenchadventures.com/heliparis.html

Heli-Challenge: http://www.eurostar.com/UK/uk/leisure/frequent_travellers/spend_points_by_category/experiences/paris_experiences/paris_helicoptere.jsp

 

Our Lady of Paris



Gracing the skies high above Paris, casting its enormous reflection in the ripples of the river Seine, stands the ominously beautiful Notre Dame cathedral. Notre Dame de Paris translates into Our Lady of Paris, and is one of the most magnificent examples of Gothic architecture in the world. With beautiful arched supports and gargoyles dotting the exterior, expertly crafted stained glass filtering in light, a rich history, and playing a starring role in Victor Hugo’s renowned book The Hunchback of Notre Dame, it’s no small wonder the cathedral holds a powerful draw for visitors the world over.

In this edition of This Week In Pictures, we take you inside the Notre Dame cathedral. Enjoy!

The Notre Dame, shown here resting on the river Seine

Rising high above Paris, the Notre Dame certainly demands attention.

Notice the curved support arches that give the Notre Dame an elegantly curved shape

One of the famous Notre Dame gargoyles looking out over the city

Intricate wood carvings tell a story inside the Notre Dame

Stunning and intricate columns and ceilings

Statues of Christian apostles adorning the stone walls of the cathedral

Stained glass featuring the Madonna

Gorgeous and intricate stained glass window

The cathedral looking elegant in the night sky

Attractions Map of Paris


Because Paris has so much to see and do, it’s always nice to get a birds eye view of what’s there and make your touring plan. Below is a map displaying some of Paris’ main attractions and must-see’s that may help. (You can click on the map to see the full image)

Odd French Foods

Paris is the mecca of fine dining, all star chefs, and fabulous cuisine. Parisian chefs are well known for bringing flair and creativity to their dishes, often pairing unique foods and flavors together to create something your taste buds have never tasted the likes of before. Something else these crafty Parisian chefs are known for is using ingredients not typically eaten to create one of a kind dishes, most of them taking an adventurous spirit to try. In today’s “This Week in Pictures” we’re taking a look at some foods only the bold try.

Smoked Ox Tongue, also known as "Langue Lucullus" can be found, stuffed, sliced and sauteed or grilled, or mixed in with pasta.

Veal Belly, or "Tripe", is considered French soul food. It can be cooked a number of ways, including being used in pastas, soups, or grilled/sauteed.

Just like we have our turkey fowl for most major holidays in the U.S., Parisians have Guinea Fowl, or "Pintade" served as a main course at many of their holiday celebrations.

The famed frogs legs, which really do taste like chicken by the way.

Probably the most well known odd food to come out of Parisian kitchens, Escargot can be gotten both in shell and out of shell. Usually they are served in a rich sauce, and most often are available as a starter dish.

A delicious and flavorful berry used in a lot of sauces and dishes in France.

When most of us think of the term "sweetbread", we mainly think of pastries or some sort of starchy concoction - but not the fine dining world! To them, sweetbread refers to a calf's pancreas.

This sea creature has a weird, rubbery texture and resembles the look of snails.

 

 

The Iron Lady of Paris

The Eiffel Tower, or the Iron Lady as it’s sometimes referred to, is a 1,063 foot tall radio tower that soars in the Paris skyline.  The history of the tower is a big part of what makes it such an important landmark. It was originally built in 1889 as the entranceway to the Worlds Fair, after which it was supposed to be torn down once the permit held by its designer, Gustave Eiffel, wore out. The city saw that it could be of some use as a communication device, though, and thus it remained up and served a significant role during the First Battle of the Marne. What’s interesting here is while the City of Paris saw the tower as an asset, most Parisian citizens saw it as nothing more than an eyesore – especially the arts populace. Local papers even received angry letters criticizing the tower and its continued presence in the beloved city.

Throughout the years, the Eiffel Tower played a significant and interesting role in Parisian history. For instance, during World War II when the Nazi party occupied Paris, the French actually cut the lift cables on the tower in an effort to prevent Adolf Hitler from easily making it to the top. Hitler’s soldiers had to climb all the way to the top to hang the swastika flag, which initially flew off due to the high wind and had to be replaced with a smaller one. Interestingly, Hitler never made it to the top of the tower, which Parisians will recall fondly that Hitler may have conquered France but he couldn’t conquer the Eiffel Tower. After the city of Paris was freed from the grasp of the Nazi party, the lifts to the tower were restored within a matter of hours.

While the Eiffel Tower is probably France’s biggest tourist attraction, it still maintains its role as a radio tower, with two radio stations broadcasting their signals from the top. When visiting the Iron Lady today, there are a number of things you can view that really give you a unique perspective of the tower and its rich history. The top of the tower is host to a small apartment that Gustave Eiffel l used at one time to host parties. The apartment can still be seen today and provides an interesting glimpse into the towers history. You can even catch a meal, or two, on the Eiffel Tower at one of its TWO restaurants – Le 58 tour Eiffel on the first level and Le Jules Verne on the second level. The latter of the two restaurants even has a Michelin Star! Another unique piece of history you can view is the engraved names of the seventy-two people that helped design and contribute to what the Eiffel Tower is today. Included are inscriptions of scientists, engineers, and even Gustave Eiffel himself.

You can also learn about a few very unique events in which the Eiffel Tower starred while you are here. For example, in 1912 an Austrian named Franz Reichelt attempted to jump 60 metres from the first floor using a home designed parachute. Sadly, he failed and fell to his death. Interestingly, this would be the first of many daredevils jumping from the Eiffel Tower. You can also learn of a more recent odd fact – the Eiffel Tower is apparently married? That’s right! In 2007, Erika Eiffel, married (or as much as one can marry a steel tower) the Eiffel Tower.

Visiting this landmark that is truly a Paris, and a global, icon is a definite must see for any Parisian tourist, especially if you want to get a remarkable glimpse into the history and greatness of Paris. Plus, the view from the top, where you can see all of Paris, is just breathtaking. Make it your first stop, or make it your last stop, just as long as you stop by!

Paris: French for How to be Fashionable

For most, when thinking about Paris, three things come to mind: food, amour (love), and fashion – for the style savvy, the latter of the three being the most important. Paris has set the fashion curve high for the rest of the world by producing numerous outrageous and extremely talented designers, by its residents taking pride in their style and daring to be bold, and by being a city that truly embraces uniqueness and trend setting in fashion. Even the biggest fashion event of the year worldwide is held here once a year – Paris Fashion Week.

For those of you not lucky enough to make it to Paris Fashion this year in 2012, you don’t have to miss out on all the designer fun! Check out these shopping hot-spots to catch all your favorite designers’ most recent collections. Hey, even if you can’t afford them, the window shopping is still worth the trip!

Street: Avenue Montaigne – Here you’ll find such designers as Yves Saint-Laurent and Christian Dior.

Street: Avenue Hoche – Visit Dior’s store here!

Street: Rue Cambon – Chanel!

Street: avenue des Champs-Elysees – Pick up a real Parisian Louis Vuitton bag while you’re here!

Street: avenue George-V – You won’t want to miss the Givenchy designer store located on this street.

Street: Rue Vivienne – The Jean Paul Gaultier store is a must see when you’re in Paris.

Street: rue de Montpensier – Marc Jacobs!

Those are just a few examples of the famous designer boutiques you can easily locate within Paris. Now, if you’re the type that would rather do most of their shopping in a mall area, instead of running from store to store, there is also the Carousel du Louvre that features some great boutiques. Not to mention the tasty café’s located in the mall!

So, when in Paris, do as the Parisians – dress to the nines in the latest fashions! Have fun and splurge a little – why not? You’re in Paris! Happy shopping!