Paris … There are various ways to see Paris. You can do it on your own and discover things or you can go on a guided tour which will probably save you time but won’t give you the same feeling of working things out for yourself. You can hire a cab or walk and explore to your heart’s content. Walk down the Champs Elysees from the Arc de Triomphe and you pass some famous restaurants and hotels. Midway is the Rond Point and from there to the Place de la Concorde you may walk down a tree-lined avenue to Avenue Gabriel, where you find public buildings, including the Presidential Palace and the American Embassy. At the Place de la Concorde you’ll encounter the Crillon and the Marine Ministry. About two blocks away is the Church of the
Madeleine which is a must, as are Notre Dame on the Ile de La Cit6 and the Sainte Chapelle located inside the Palais de Justice, and which has one of the most beautiful stained-glass window arrangements in Europe. There are lectures and tours through the Great Cathedral that are most interesting. See also the Tuileries Gardens along the Rue de Rivoli; you can’t miss the Eiffel Tower or the Opera.
Of course, climb the hill to Montmartre, with its twisting streets and many restaurants and cafes. Sacr6 Coeur stands on top of the hill and you get a magnificent view of the city below. Back in the heart of Paris you will, of course, see the Place Vendome, the Rue de la Paix. Take a stroll, down the chain of Grands Boulevards: Boulevard de la Madeleine, Boulevard des Capucines, Boulevard des Italiens, Boulevard Poissonniere, Boulevard St. Denis, Boulevard St. Martin, which form a wide continuous avenue of shops and theaters. ,Go to the Left Bank and take a look at the Boul’ Mich, or, Boulevard St. Michel. The Sorbonne is nearby and the Pantheon. The Luxembourg Gardens and Palace are here, too.
Drive out through the Bois de Boulogne, with its lakes and fine restaurants and bridle paths. It’s charming.
Browse at the open book stalls along the Seine. Take a trip on the Seine River, on the colorful “Bateau Mouche,” and see all the familiar monuments from a different angle. Boat trips are 1 to 2 hours long, and some include lunch or dinner. Visit “Les Halles,” Paris’ central market at the end of a long night out, and have onion soup. Pay a visit to the Hotel des Invalides and Napoleon’s tomb. In fact, do anything that interests you. It is all fascinating.
Versailles – Fontainebleau … There are many short trips out of Paris to the environs which are practically musts. Versailles is 12 miles away. Here are the gardens, the Palace of Louis XIV, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon. You can see La Malmaison on this trip, too, the home of Napoleon and Josephine. Fontainebleau, with its Renaissance palace, its formal gardens, is fascinating. You can visit this on a standard tour or drive it in a cab. Fontainebleau, once a twelfth-century fortress, was reconstructed in the sixteenth century and eventually became the favorite residence of Napoleon. Drive through the 42,000-acre forest. During the summer in the gardens ofChantilly there is a huge chateau set in a formal park. Chartres is about a day’s trip from the city. Visit the Cathedral of Chartres, noted for its stained-glass windows.
The Chateau Country . No visit to France is really complete without a trip through the Chateau country, the center of which is Tours. The Hotel Univers or the Metropole ar
e both good here. Make this city your headquarters and then take any of the standard trips to Blois, Amboise, Chaumont, Chenonceaux, Chambord, Loches, Luynes, Langeais, Villandry, Azay-le-Rideau, Chinon. During summer months Sound and Light Spectacles are given every night in most of these chateaux similar to those in Versailles. Night trips can be arranged from Paris or from Tours. Some of the chateaux are furnished in magnificent style; some are in ruins; others are visited for their architectural interest. Azay-le-Rideau contains a kitchen which is a rarity. It has, too, a Fontainebleau tapestry ordered by Charles I for the city of Rome. Villandry is famous for its Spanish Museum, its beautiful gardens. Chenonceaux is one of the most famous and is the castle given to Diane de Poitiers by Henry II. The gardens were ruined in 1944 by bombings but the chateau was unharmed.
Blois contains an ornate staircase in its inner court. Here, too, is the death chamber of Catherine de Medicis and her private chapel. Amboise is furnished “with period pieces, Aubusson tapestries; there is an interesting collection of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century armors in the guardroom. Chambord is an enormous place with 365 rooms. There are innumerable turrets and spires, a wall surrounding the gardens and an estate which is the largest in Francs
Visit Vouvray while in Tours. Here s where some of the finest wines in the world are made. Visit the vineyards with their acres and acres of grapes. While in Tours take a run down the Cognac country, if you are a braiuly fancier. Here is the world-famous center for the Cognac which takes its name from the city and the region. A little farther on is Bordeaux, which is as famous for its wines as Cognac is for its brandy.
Pyrin-Basque_ Region … In Southwest France the Pyre stretch from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean in a natural boundary line between France and Spain. On the coast of the Bay of Biscay is Biarritz, a famous be.ach resort made fashionable by the Empress Eugenie. There are luxurious hotels such as Miramar and Le Palais, a casino, excellent restaurnts and a wonderful beach nearby. Not quite so fashionable but smart in its way is R.-Jean-de-Luz which is less expensive. Biarritz is about S25 per day Anterican Plan, if it’s the de luxe you want. There are also moderately priced accommodations. Pelota is a favorite locesport; or you can see a bullfight at Bayonne.