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By James Burrows
Paris is a city that has seen world wars, revolutions and economic changes in its 2000 years of history and visitors to the region looking to gain an understanding of the city's history and culture should pay a visit to some of Paris' top cultural and historical attractions. Here is a guide to five of the region's most interesting historical and cultural sights.
1. Eiffel Tower - The Eiffel Tower has become both a cultural and historical symbol of Paris and visitors to the city should not miss seeing this attraction. Built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, this iron tower stands on the Champ de Mars and is about 324 metres high. The tower was first built to stand as the arch to the World Exposition in 1889 and received a lot of negative attention when it was unveiled. Today, the tower is one of the most visited attractions in the city and has featured in scores of movies. The tower also houses two restaurants and is a good location for a romantic meal.
2. Notre Dame Cathedral - The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the world and was built during the 12th century. Situated on the Ile de la Cité, this cathedral with its famous bell tower, spires, stained glass windows and gargoyles is a must visit attraction for the history enthusiast. The interior of the cathedral has several statues and arches and is a complex work of design that required hundred years to be completed. This building has become even more popular after the book, the Hunchback of Notre Dame was released and today tourists climb the steps all the way to the bell tower to see the gargoyles and the city from the highest pinnacle.
3. Musee d'Orsay - One of the city's most popular museums and second only to the Louvre, this building stands testament to Paris' Impressionist art. Visitors to the museum will be able to see art work dating back to the 1800s and the World War. The Musee d'Orsay is housed in what was once a railway station which was converted into a gallery to house the city's art in 1986. Paintings by Monet and Renoir, sculptures, antiques and photography exhibits from 1848 to 1914 can be found here.
4. The Bastille - Visitors to Paris must not fail to plan a trip to the Bastille square in Paris, where the Bastille prison once stood. This prison was once the site of the French Revolution and was demolished much later.
5. The Louvre - This is Paris' most revered museums and has gained even more attention after the release of the book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This museum houses some of the world's most famous artworks like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
James works in the Travel industry and in between watching FC Barcelona, works with short term rentals and writes Paris travel guides in Spain.
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