Paris is so much nicer when you visit with a family member ! Last week, my brother visited me from the United States and I took him to see some of my favorite places in and around Île de la Cité. Of course, a three-day vacation in Paris is difficult to do especially when there is so much to see. Perhaps when he comes again with his wife, we will have the chance to visit many of the extraordinary sights that we missed like the Catacombs, Père-Lachaise, Le Grand Palais, Musée d’Orsay and perhaps make it to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Can you believe it ? In all of my visits to the city of lights, I’ve never been to the top ! After meeting up with him at Charles de Gaulle Airport, we took the Roissy Bus to Opéra Garnier and then the RER and Metro to our hotel L’Hôtel de Reims in the 12th Arrondissement near the Gare de Lyon. It is a cozy, handsome, newly renovated retreat along the quiet Rue Hector Malot, not far from Metro Station 14. An added bonus included the incredible shopping and restaurants featured underneath the Arches du viaduc des Arts (a quiet promenade) that follows the nearby Avenue Daumesnil. Sadly, I did not take any photos of this wonderful place but I grabbed some screen shots from Google Maps. The day before my brother arrived, I spent over an hour walking along the promenade, planted with gardens of all types and sizes. Our first destination was a leisurely stroll through the Jardin des Plantes that radiates outward toward the Seine from the Muséum national d’Histoire. From there we passed by the church of Saint-Étienne-du-Mont and Lycée Henri-IV before reaching our intended objective, Le Panthéon, an enormous national monument that functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens. Some of the tombs include those of Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Marie and Pierre Curie, Voltaire, Rousseau, Émile Zola, Alexandre Dumas and the heart of Léon Gambetta. Underneath the central dome is a 67-meter pendulum initially installed by Léon Foucalt in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. After a short walk to the Metro, passing by the prestigious Sorbonne University, we emerged at Place Charles de Gaulle at the western extreme of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées to visit l’Arc de Triomphe. This monument to was commissioned in 1806 by Emperor Napoleon after the victory at Austerlitz and honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Panoramic views from the top are spectacular as one can see all of Paris and the grand avenues that radiate from it. Our next stop was the great icon of France, the Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 for l’Exposition universelle de Paris by engineer Gustave Eiffel. The best way to view the city’s most popular monument is to arrive by Metro at the Palais du Trocadéro, walk down the stairs toward the base of the tower and finally have a casual stroll through the Champ-de-Mars gardens. If you are interested in military history or wish to visit the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte, make your way to l’Hotel national des Invalides. This impressive structure initiated by Louis XIV in 1670 houses the Musée de l’Armee, Musée des Plans-Reliefs, Musée d’Histoire Contemporaine and is crowned by the gold-gilt Église du Dôme.Underneath this magnificent dome is the final resting place for some of France’s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte. His remains were placed here in 1861. No expense was spared for the tomb and his body lies within six separate coffins. They are made of iron, mahogany, two of lead, ebony and the outer one is red porphyry. The tomb sits on a green granite pedestal surrounded by 12 pillars of victory. In my opinion, there is no better way to unwind after a long day of sightseeing than to take in the show at the Bal du Moulin Rouge located in the Pigalle district. The cabaret built in 1889 by Joseph Oller is famous for being the spiritual birthplace of the modern can-can. Artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec contributed to its popularity by painting numerous scenes and posters of nightlife at the Moulin Rouge. The current revue is named “Féerie”. It contains four main scenes with a total of 69 songs. Multiple acts are performed by a total of 100 artists including Doriss girls (showing their breasts), dancers, acrobats, magicians and clowns. Traditionally each revue runs for 10 to 12 years and costs 7 to 9 million Euros to create. We made our booking in advance and had the “Belle Époque” dinner before the show began. I can’t say anything more about this experience than WOW!!! It is definitely worth the 180 Euros per person and shouldn’t be missed. I first saw “Féerie” in 2001 and I am still enchanted !