The Picasso Museum is hugely popular with art lovers.
The Picasso Museum is hugely popular with art lovers. Graeme Wilson

Pretty postcards from picturesque Paris

PARIS is renowned as the city of love - and on both my visits I've fallen head over heels.

The object of my desire hasn't been a beguiling French beauty with an alluring accent, but the city itself.

Whenever I visit a new destination, my priority is to get out and explore by foot, and Paris is the perfect place to wander in wonderment.

Day and night, its streets are filled with unexpected treats around every corner, with its rich history evident wherever you roam, be it from Montmartre to the Marais or Bastille to Belleville.

And if you're not up for a walk, there's always the option to jump on board and take in the sights from the comfort of one of the many vessels gliding up and down the Seine.

I'm not a student of architecture, but more than once during my treasured time in the city I have found myself staring at a charming building of unknown origin just marvelling at its exquisite design.

When it comes to iconic landmarks, Paris shines bright - with the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur and Louvre featuring in literally millions of annual holiday selfies by visitors from across the world.

And around-the-clock restoration efforts are bringing legendary Notre Dame back to life after the devastating fire that destroyed its roof and famous spire earlier this year.

The arts in their varying forms are proudly celebrated in Paris, and any refinement I possess owes much to cultural beacons such as the Opera Bastille and Musee d'Orsay.

On my latest visit, I declined queuing for hours for a fleeting glimpse of da Vinci's Mona Lisa at the Louvre, but instead put that time to good use at the Picasso Museum where I gained new appreciation for the unique work of the Spanish master.

If the way to a man's heart is indeed through his stomach, then that goes a long way to explaining my deep affection for Paris.

The myriad patisseries and boulangeries have played a key role in fuelling the dawn-to-dusk sampling of all the city has to offer this latter-day Antipodean explorer, and no visit is complete without a little people-watching over a coffee and croissant at a corner cafe.

I'm a little less comfortable in fine-dining environments, but a milestone birthday treat sampling the culinary pleasures of the Jules Verne restaurant high up in the Eiffel Tower is etched in my memory.

Such memories of Paris will live with me forever with these photos a lasting reminder of my love affair with the city.

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