Paris, France (review published 2004)

So, you’ve enjoyed too many burgers and beers around the barbeque and need to  shed a few pounds.
Perhaps you’re thinking of joining your local gym or picking up the tennis racket that’s been gathering dust in the garage.
All seems a little too much like hard work, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got a much more exciting idea – how about a few days in Paris?
Yes, I know Paris is supposed to be the world capital of lurve, but that’s  not the kind of exercise I’m talking about. Tut tut.
All you need to do is absorb some of the city’s famous sights. Here’s my five ‘steps’ to a whole new  you in just one long weekend:
1) Sacre-Coeur (Day 1). The dazzling domes of this  100-year-old basilica high up in the arty Montmartre district will take your breath away.
But get it back, quick. You’ve work to do!
Saunter up the zig-zag steps through colourful gardens (do NOT take the funicular cable railway) to a terrace where your reward will be a sweeping cityscape.
But that was the easy part. Now ascend spiral staircases to the central dome,  which is the second highest viewpoint in Paris and affords a 360 degree panorama.
Sacre-Coeur, Paris (picture: Didier B) 
2) Arc de Triomphe (Day 1) Climb the 284 steps to the roof of Napoleon’s 50m  high stately monument, which also serves as the world’s grandest roundabout.
Gaze along the Champs Elysees then spy the chaos below as hundreds of  Citroens and Renaults attempt to edge their way towards one of the 12 exits.
 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAArc de Triomphe, Paris (picture:  dontworry)
3) Notre Dame (Day 2) After a good night’s sleep you’ll be ready to tackle  the 387 steps to the top of the Gothic cathedral’s south tower.
You’ll come face to face with the famous gargoyles and get a bird’s eye view of the Ile de la Cite, the largest island in the River Seine, where Paris was born.
Notre Dame, Paris
4) The Louvre (Day 2) This immense former royal palace is the world’s largest museum and not even the fittest visitor could possibly see everything in one go, so plan your tour carefully.
Highlights among the 350 priceless objects on four floors include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and some jaw-dropping antiquities from Ancient Egypt.
Back at base, give your feet a good soaking in preparation for the weekend’s  tallest challenge – all 300 metres of it.

 EL010906PARIS - 10. Emma Lee. Stock shots of Paris, France. Louvre.

The Louvre, Paris (picture Zuffe)


5) Eiffel Tower (Day 3) This graceful 1889 iron structure was the highest in the world until New York erected its Empire State Building.
Climbing the 700 steps to the second floor you get a real feel for this miracle of engineering. You can break the journey with a drink on the first  floor.
Of course, there are lifts but where’s the fun in that? The queues are often lengthy and by walking you’ll save euros while losing pounds.
You won’t want to leave Paris without going all the way… so get yourself  off to the top of the tower. Sadly, you’ve no option but to take the lift.
 2010 TRAVEL - FRANCE KEYCAMP 3 10355.jpg
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Once back on terra firma, cross the Seine to the Jardins du Trocadero for  some great photo opportunites then take a stroll along the right bank.
Don’t miss the ornate Pont Alexandre III bridge, the Place de la Concorde with its Egyptian obelisk and la Conciergerie, a 14th century royal palace on Ile de la Cite.
Congratulations! You’ve now completed your Parisian weekend work-out. Au revoir.
Top tip
The Metro is a little marvel. Unlike in London, the stations are not buried in the Earth’s crust and we never had to wait more than two minutes for a train. It’s easy to understand and you can buy a three-day pass.
Travel file
Adrian travelled to Paris on the Eurostar, which operates up to 14 daily services to Paris with fares from £59 return. The fastest London-Paris journey time is now two hours 35 minutes and you could be in the French capital in under two hours if you board at Ashford in Kent.  Tickets are available on 08705 186 186 or online at Eurostar.  Adrian stayed at the comfortable Holiday Inn Republique Paris, centrally located on the Place de la Republique. The elegant building features a Napoleon III-style inner courtyard. There’s a five-line Metro station on the  doorstep, which is just three stops from the Eurostar terminal at Gare du Nord.  Prices for a double room start from 115 euros per night.

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