What I find architecturally-beautiful in Paris

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Paris is a perfect idea in the summer – when the seasonal Asian heat becomes a boring routine, Europe’s pleasant summers look like great opportunities to trot around the French capital, taking in the breathtaking sights, one at a time.

Getting around in Paris is very easy because the city’s transport system is well organized. The Métro (Paris’ rapid transit line) will effortlessly take you where you want to go but it’s always a good idea to take a city map along, as a first-time traveler, because they are really good guides. But where to go?

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most well-recognized piece of architecture in Paris. It is almost as if the Tower is a globally recognized symbol of France, and it’s no wonder why because the Eiffel Tower’s overwhelming wrought iron structure is a memorable piece of living history from the late 19th Century. An elevator (or the stairs, if you are in the mood for a slow-climb) will take you to the second floor, and this is the tallest building in Paris, so expect a great look into the French capital, when you get to the top of the Tower; there’s also an evening light show, which happens at the Tower, and it’s a magnificent vision of golden lights for five minutes.

Sainte-Chapelle

Sainte-Chapelle is a French cathedral, done up in Gothic design, and up until the 14th Century, French kings used to call it home. Imposing and beautifully French, the cathedral is a must-see because of its medieval style and its enormous stained glass collection from the 13th century. Sainte-Chapelle is such a story of survival, as well – the French Revolution had  damaged the cathedral, and it was later, very finely restored in the 19th Century.

Place de la République

Place de la République sits right atop République’s Métro station and after busy times of taking in sights (and too much to walk around to see during your holiday), it provides a calmer alternative for travelers to enjoy Paris, on a quiet stroll. The square gets its name from the French Republic and since its inception in the 19th Century, Place de la République, overwhelmingly breathes just the same.

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How To Get Lost In…Ruzafa

Milkshakes and a modernist railway station in Valencia

Ruzafa, is one of the coolest neighbourhoods you can visit in Valencia. The Spanish chasm of a municipality is decorated in creative expressions and street culture, unique to only Europe. Although, not littered with the typical museums and monuments, filled to the brim with interesting/expressive artworks, a Brit would expect to find while traversing through Spain, Ruzafa does have a railway station with a history. I absolutely adore railway stations for the dusty past that almost all have, in Europe, I think it’s safe to say.

The Estación del Norte is actually a by-product of modernism – an art movement, that gained force in the mid-19th century, and was built in 1917, during the First World War. Titanic and shaped up with oranges and orange blossoms (two of my favourite things about Valencia), the station has a ticket hall that was made possible because of local craftsmanship, skilled in designing with materials as diverse as wood and glass.

Ruzafa, Spain

 

For something truly modern, there is an organic market that props up on Sundays: in the morning, on a weekend, expect to find fruit, vegetables, pulses, cheese, bread, wine, and oils. There is also a workshop at this Parish-effort in El Patio De Ruzafa that teach you how to make both bread and soup, as well as how to pull off rooftop gardening of vegetables. The colourful street off Calle Cadiz, meanwhile, is very soulfully European: you can go for coffee at Tula Café, and expect to enjoy it all in the presence of music.

Because it is open every single day, the place is quite convenient for busybodies, who cannot keep track of the time because they are so knee-deep in work. You know what that feels like – missing one too many lunches just so you do not sink underneath all of the work. At Tula’s, the milkshakes and granizados, are a favourite with modern locals, but there are also cocktails for anyone who feels up for it in the evening.