You're Going to Love Paris
Paris is the capital of fashion, art, and instantly recognizable landmarks. There is nothing quite like seeing the city lit up at night viewed from the Eiffel Tower, or watching the can-can dancers at the Moulin Rouge. Known throughout the world as the City of Light, Paris is renowned for its architecture, bridges, cathedrals and parks.
With its quaint quartiers (quarters) and small village districts within the city, Paris is charming yet intimate. It is one of the world's most vibrant cities and a firm favorite with honeymooners. Newlyweds enjoy walking romantically together along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees or the Place de la Concorde.
Paris has a real sense of community with its local shops, markets, restaurants, and cafes. The Parisians are very friendly and proud of their city. Shopaholics love to visit Paris, and the city has many international stores like L'Eclaireur, Printemps, or the Galeries Lafayette.
Whether you're jetting off to Paris for a two-week vacation or a long weekend, there are plenty of exciting things to do and see.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Paris
1. The mouth-watering food
The French offer great food so try “haute cuisine”, artisan baguettes, croque-madame, or how about duck confit? There are many mouth-watering culinary delights that can be found in gourmet restaurants such as Le Jules Verne or Le Chateaubriand.
2. The historical churches
The city's iconic historical churches are integral to the feel of Paris. A visit here would not be complete without seeing Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur, both of which attract tourists from around the world.
3. The allure of the city’s great landmarks
Paris has many impressive and historical landmarks to see. From the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, Montmartre to the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris will certainly delight you. Spend a day in the Gardens of Versailles or for something a little different, take the kids to Disneyland Paris.
4. The grand museums
Paris is recognized as a city filled with magnificent museums. There is everything from the majestic Louvre(about 11 Euro) to the petite Musee Rodin (around 9 Euro), the Carnavalet Museum(4-8 Euro) to the Musee de l'Orangerie (approximately 8 Euro).
5. The chance to spot a celebrity
What could be better than enjoying a coffee with a delicious croissant in Café de Flore watching the world go by? Keep an eye out for famous celebrities, many of whom live in and frequently visit the City of Love.
What to do in Paris
1. Eiffel Tower: The Iron Lady
The Eiffel Tower is a striking feat of engineering, known worldwide as the ultimate icon of France. Upon its completion for the 1889 World's Fair, it was the tallest person-made structure around, and it remains one of the most visited monuments on earth. Traveling up the wrought iron tower for mesmerizing views of Paris is an unforgettable experience!
2. Château de Versailles: A Royal Eden
The Palace of Versailles and its spectacular gardens are one of France's most beloved attractions. The design of these grounds is the epitome of the pre-Revolutionary French Monarchy, and it is jaw-dropping to boot. Visitors are transported to the nation's royal past with a walk through the gardens, which match the splendor of the palace itself.
3. Louvre Museum: Mona Lisa's Regal Home
The Louvre is the world's largest and most comprehensive museum, and it exceeds all expectations. Home, of course, to the incomparable Mona Lisa, the museum houses tens of thousands of artworks in galleries once home to French kings. The courtyard of this ex-palace is a popular gathering point for visitors, especially around the large glass pyramid - a contemporary Parisian icon.
4. Ile de la Cite: An Isle for the Ages
Once the medieval origin of the city, île de la Cité is the most central point in Paris. Besides offering beautiful waterside lounging opportunities along the Seine, the island boasts two of Paris's most well-known attractions: the Notre-Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle Church. The favorite thoroughfare onto île de la Cité is historical Pont-Neuf, the oldest bridge that still crosses the Seine, with gorgeous views.
5. 18th arrondissement: Parisian Pinnacle
Montmartre is artists' neighborhood turned tourists' stomping ground, located at the highest point in Paris. The Basilica of Sacre-Coeur is its greatest highlight, sitting at the peak of the hill and always host to throngs of visitors. A few steps further is the Place du Tertre. This is where modern masters like Picasso and Van Gogh once spent their days; now it's home to a delightful art market run by contemporary amateurs.
When to Visit Paris
Although Paris has reasonably priced accommodation all year round, the summer months, May to September, are the most expensive. The city is alive in summer with outdoor music festivals like the Fete de la Musique and Bastille Day celebrations on July 14th. For something a little different visit the open-air cinema at the Parc de la Villette. You can find cheaper air fares and hotel deals in spring time and during the autumn months of September to early November. Winter can be dark and cold but still a wonderful time to visit Paris, especially during Christmas and New Year festivities when Parisians flock to the Champs-Elysees as the clock strikes twelve.
Where to Stay in Paris
Popular neighborhoods in Paris
Paris is divided into 20 official districts called arrondissements. Here are the four most popular.
Arrondissement 1 - known as the geographic center of Paris, this is the most popular place to stay. Here you can find the Musee du Louvre, the Jardin desTuileries, the Place Vendome and many other attractions.
Arrondissement 2 - the second district and the city's smallest arrondissement. It is also a bustling business center with many restaurants and cafes. To get a feel of the city, take a walk along the famous Rue Montorgueil and the hip Etienne Marcel.
Arrondissement 5 - the Latin Quarter district has an old world charm and the bustling Maubert Mutualite Market. Nearby there are street performers, vendors, and boutique hotels. It is a popular area with students attending La Sorbonne and famous Parisian high schools.
Arrondissement 7 - known as the Eiffel Tower district here you will experience a sleepy, relaxed atmosphere. This is a quiet part of town with gorgeous houses in the unique Parisian style. Walk to the Eiffel Tower and take the elevator to the top for unbeatable, panoramic views across the city.
How to Get Around Paris
It is possible to see most of Paris' landmarks and attractions on foot. Explore the entire city in only a few hours, popping into a café or two along the way. Alternatively, there is public transport, Metro or buses. Buy a one day ticket for around 5 Euro. Weekly or monthly public transport travel passes are also available.
Taxis are very expensive in Paris, but are a little cheaper at night when there is less traffic around. Taxis can be found near train stations, big hotels, attractions, and major intersections. There is a minimum fare on all taxi fares of 6.50 Euro.
Traffic is very busy in the center of Paris and street parking is virtually impossible especially around the Arc de Triomphe. Driving in Paris can be erratic, to say the least. Renting a car costs on average 70 Euro per day.
The Cost of Living in Paris
Paris' hottest shopping streets
Paris is renowned for its fantastic array of shopping options. It is up there with New York, London, and Milan, a shopper's paradise. There are tempting window displays with the latest fashion designs, jewelry, cosmetics, electronics, arts, and crafts. Browse the boutiques along Canal St-Martin or be invited into the impressive arcades of the historical Palais-Royal. Find affordable goods in Le Marais from Parisian design clothing stores.
Groceries and other necessities
Paris has many grocery stores and supermarkets. If you are self-catering, buy quality groceries at Franprix, a chain of supermarkets found in almost every neighborhood. There is also Carrefour, Dia, and Picard offering exclusive food and Parisian specialties.