Bucharest was once known as 'Little Paris'. It's perfect then to start the day with hot chocolate at Leonidas, 2 minutes away from the hotel, and then discover how this reputation came about. Back from the Universitatii Square, stroll down Victoriei Boulevard to the Dambovita river, passing by the Military Club, the Savings Bank and the National History Museum (a copy of the Palais du Poste in Paris). Then take a walk around the old downtown with its early 19th century houses and antique shops. Have a break at Van Gogh Cafe where you can enjoy a quick snack in the shadow of the National Bank Palace. Refreshed, cross the river and visit the world's second-largest building - the Palace of the Parliament.
After a local flavoured delicious lunch at Vatra, catch the Metro from Universitate (near the hotel) to Aviatorilor. Here you will find Herastrau Park. With an area of 24 square kilometres, this is the largest park in Bucharest! After a walk, you can enter the Village Museum. Houses from all regions of Romania, and from various periods, have been preserved here to give a picture of Romanian village life. The museum has a souvenir shop well stocked with handicrafts such as painted eggs, ceramics and icons. Stepping out of the museum, you encounter the Triumphal Arch, another piece of 'Little Paris.' Though smaller than the Parisian arch, it stands on the intersection of six boulevards, just like its big brother, and was built to commemorate Romania's Great War dead.
A perfect evening begins with a classical concert among the harmonic acoustics of the Romanian Athenaeum, one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe. It was renovated with funds donated by the public after a national campaign. Further in the old district behind the Mitropoly Palace, you will discover the old Bucharest`s spirit inside a special restaurant : Locanta Jaristea. Here you will be embraced by a Belle Epoque atmosphere and you will finally understand the cosmopolitan side of this capital : the Istanbul`s musaka and pilav are competing with the most exquisite French souflees, the northern Moldavia`s cooked meals are happily racing against the Mediteranean sweets and flavoured ice cream, but not forgeting about the serbian zakuska, the russian kaviar, the Volos olives or the smoked hams. Everything accompanied by a taraf`s music and old Romanian romance songs and dances. Pofta buna !
Between the world wars, Bucharest was known as 'Little Paris'. The city was built by French architects coming from the school of Baron Haussmann, the father of modern Paris.
The first 5-star hotel in town
The InterContinental Bucharest is the first 5-star hotel to be built in Bucharest. Since its 1971 opening, the InterContinental has been the highest hotel in town and, until 2004, the highest building in Bucharest. The 22 floors offer a luxurious meeting area, 257 rooms and suites, restaurants and a spectacular Health Club, on the top floor. A landmark of Bucharest for almost 4 decades, this building was designed so that every room should have its own balcony and a spectacular view to go with it.
Bucharest City Name origins
The name of Bucharest (Bucuresti) has an uncertain origin: tradition connects the founding of Bucharest with the name of Bucur who was either a prince, an outlaw, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a hunter, according to different legends. In Romanian, the word stem bucur means 'glad', 'joy' and in Albanian, a language which may have historical connections with the Thracian languages, 'bukur' signifies 'beautiful' and 'esht' signifies 'is', literally translated as 'it is beautiful'.
The inventor of the airplane turbo jet engine
Henri Coanda, a Romanian engineer, was the inventor of the airplane turbo jet engine. Also, don't forget Brancusi, one of the world's greatest sculptors and Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to ever receive a perfect 10 for her performance at the Olympics in Montreal, in 1976.