France- Paris- The 2nd Best Destination in Europe

France

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France , officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a total population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. The language of France is French which is spoken and in other countries. It is a unitary semi-presidential republic with the capital in Paris, the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

France has long been a global centre of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts Europe’s fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, the most of any country in the world. France is a developed country with the world’s sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development. France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone.

Paris

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Paris is the capital and most populous city of France. It has an area of 105 square kilometres and a population of 2,229,621 in 2015 within its administrative limits. The city is both a commune and department and forms the centre and headquarters of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an area of 12,012 square kilometres and a population in 2016 of 12,142,802, comprising roughly 18 percent of the population of France.  By the 17th century, Paris was one of Europe’s major centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts, and it retains that position still today.

The City of Paris is commonly referred to as the agglomération Parisienne, and statistically as a unité urbaine, the agglomeration has a 2013 population of 10,601,122, which makes it the largest in the European Union and one-fifth the population of France, and one that makes it, after London, the second largest metropolitan area in the European Union.

Paris has many important cultural institutions: its Louvre museum is the most visited in the world; its Musée d’Orsay is noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and its Pompidou-center Musée National d’Art Moderne has the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe. The central area of the city along the Seine River is classified as a UNESCO Heritage Site and includes many notable monuments, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sainte-Chapelle, the former Universal Exposition Grand Palais, Petit Palais and Eiffel Tower, and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. In 2015, Paris received 22.2 million visitors, making it one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

Paris Attractions

Paris is a multicultural country with intersting attractions and a great culture. These are some of the most popular sights of Paris:

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

This may be the most famous monument in the world and is certainly the most emblematic of Paris. It’s hard to believe that the structure was dismissed as a monstrosity when it was first unveiled. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel and built for the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which marked the centenary of the French Revolution. The tower consists of 15,000 steel sections held together by 2.5 million rivets. This innovative structure is now considered a masterful architectural feat and is one of the top tourist attractions in Paris. From the Jardins du Trocadéroand the lawns of the Champs de Mars, there is just the right distance from the Eiffel Tower for a great photo. The tower stands 307 meters tall. It was the world’s tallest building until the Empire State Building was erected. Visitors can take an elevator or walk up the 360 steps to arrive at the first level (at 57 meters) and 344 more steps to the second level (at 115 meters). To reach the top level, at the dizzying elevation of 276 meters, take the exhilarating elevator ride from the second level. At the top, views of the Paris cityscape are truly stunning. For those interested in a gourmet meal, the Restaurant le Jules Vernes is on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. This Michelin-starred restaurant features expansive windows that allow diners to enjoy the amazing views.

Louvre Museum

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A sumptuous palace that was once the home of France’s Kings, the Louvre is now a marvelous museum of fine art. Visitors enter the museum in the courtyard of the palace at the glass pyramid (designed by Ieoh Ming Pei in 1917). This Louvre Museum possesses more than 30,000 works of art, from antiquities to medieval art and European painting of the 15th to 19th centuries. It is impossible to see it all in one visit, but tourists can focus on one particular gallery such as classical sculpture, Italian Renaissance art, or 17th-century French paintings; or take a tour of the highlights. The museum’s most famous piece is the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (in French La Joconde) painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503-1505. Other exceptional masterpieces are the ancient Venus de Milo sculpture, the monumental Victory of Samothrace of the Hellenistic period, the immense Wedding Feast at Cana painting by Veronese (1563), and Botticelli’s frescoes. Also a must-see is Liberty Leading the People (1831) by Eugène Delacroix, which depicts the violence of the Revolution of 1830.

The Louvre is surrounded on one side by the elegant Jardin des Tuileries, one of the largest and loveliest parks in Paris. The famous French landscape architect André Le Nôtre (who also designed the park at Versailles) created the Tuileries Gardens in classic formal French style.

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris

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A triumph of Gothic architecture, the Notre-Dame stands in the heart of Paris on the Ile de la Cité (an island in the Seine River) near the Latin Quarter. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world. An island in the Seine River, the Ile de la Cité is the historical and geographical center of Paris. On this small plot of land, the Romans built the Gallo-Roman city of Lutetia, and from the 6th century to the 14th century the Kings of France resided here. The Notre-Dame Cathedral was founded in 1163 by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully, and the construction took more than 150 years. The cathedral was first created in Early Gothic style, while later additions (the west front and the nave) show the transition to High Gothic style. Tourists are immediately struck by the ornamental design of the facade, with its profusion of sculptures, flying buttresses, and gargoyles.

Arc de Triomphe

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The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile (Triumphal Arch of the Star) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile — the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues. Inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus, the Arc de Triomphe has an overall height of 50 metres , width of 45 m , and depth of 22 m, while its large vault is 29.19 m high and 14.62 m wide.  The Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the victorious French armies of the Revolution and the First Empire. Napoleon ordered the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836. Designed by JF Chalgrin, the arch features reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies. Particularly noteworthy is the relief by François Rude on the Champs-Elysées front, Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, also known as The Marseillaise, illustrating the troops setting out, led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and more than a hundred battles. From the viewing platform, there are panoramic views of the 12 avenues, which radiate from the Place de l’Etoile, including the route from the Champs-Elysées to Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. At the foot of the Arc de Triomphe is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated in 1921 as a memorial to the dead of World War I.

Traditional French Recipe

The traditional cooking of a country defines the characteristics of the native’s personality and habits. Their preferences act as a presentation of their culture and effects through the history. Frech cooking is one of the most popular and recherche in the world’s gastronomy as it is specified with peculiar features.

French cuicine is also popular for its exceptional dishes like Coquilles Saint-Jacques,Cheese Soufflé and Coq au vin and sweets as Crepes, Tartes and Croissants.

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Coq au vin

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Total:1 hr 45 minActive: 45 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy
Ingredients
1 (6 to 8) pound capon, cut into 8 to 10 pieces (You can use regular chicken if you can't find a capon, but I highly recommend searching one out.)
Kosher salt
Olive oil
All-purpose flour for dusting
8 ounces pound slab bacon, cut into lardons
3 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups hearty red wine
1/2 pound small cipollini onions, (If you can't find cipollini onions, pearl onions are a good substitute)
4 to 6 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
1 bundle of fresh thyme
12 ounces pound fingerling potatoes, cut in 1-inch slices
Fresh chives, finely chopped, for garnish

Coat a large 7-quart Dutch oven or rondeau with olive oil and bring to a medium high heat. Pat the capon dry and sprinkle generously with salt, to taste. Working in batches if necessary, coat the capon gently with flour and put immediately in the hot oil. Only flour the capon that you are working with in that batch- no premature flouring. Premature flouring will result in doughy, gritty, mealy capon rather than crispy. Brown on all sides, and then remove from the pan to paper towels. Remove any excess oil from the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the bacon lardons to the pan with a tiny splash of new olive oil. Cook the bacon until it is brown and crispy. Add the celery and onions, season with salt and cook until the veggies are starting to soften, are very aromatic and have no color, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms give off their juices, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the brandy and cook until it has reduced down. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. The mixture will become very thick–that is good! Stir in the wine and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil over medium heat. Toss in the cipollini onions, skin and all! Cook the onions for 3 to 4 minutes and then strain. When the onions are cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard, reserving the onions.

Return the legs and thighs of the capon to the pan, reserving the breasts. Stir in enough chicken stock until the chicken is three-quarters covered. Add the bay leaves and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if needed. Add the cipollini onions and the potatoes. Partially cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

After the capon has simmered for 20 minutes, turn the legs and thighs over and add the breasts. Check the level of liquid and add more chicken stock if needed. Partially cover the pan and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Remove the capon from the pan and skim the sauce, if necessary. If the sauce is on the thin side reduce it down until it becomes a sauce-like consistency. Season. Transfer the capon to a serving platter, garnish with chopped chives and serve with lots of the sauce.

Here is the link with the traditional French cooking dish and video preparation:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/coq-au-vin-recipe-2012206

And we mustn’t forget to mention a cooking recipe of French Crepes…!

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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • Butter, for coating the pan

Directions

Watch how to make this recipe. (Here is the link with the video recipe).

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds. Place the crepe batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add butter to coat. Pour 1 ounce of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. After they have cooled you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

*Savory Variation Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

*Sweet Variation Add 21/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.

Don’t forget to combine the French recipes with a recherche bottle of wine or champagne as French are well known!!!

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As well France and especially Paris has a great gastronomy and wine production as their culture is so prime and distinctive..!

Undeniably, France is an amazing destination for a traveller as it has a great culture and historical and tourist attractions!!!


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