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It’s the dream destination for visitors in search of history, romance, art and architecture – as well as food and fashion. Its the home of the historic splendour.
However well you think you know Paris, there’s always something new to discover. There’s always a new bar or restaurant to check out, a new gallery. Behind the shimmering palaces, grand boulevards and historic façades you will find intimate courtyards, gardens and craft workshop. The real insight to Paris’s appeal is that it is a city of villages where people actually live – even right in the centre.
‘La Ville Lumière (The City of Light) is home to the most famous and most visited museum in the world, the Louvre. as well as the Musée d’Orsay, noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, a museum of modern and contemporary art. The architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre.
Indeed, you can navigate Paris by its monuments – like the Eiffel Tower and the Sacré Coeur, the Centre Pompidou or the Monparnasse Tower that dot the city. Using a map, the city splits into Right and Left Bank, north and south of the River Seine (with the Ile de la Cité and Ile St-Louis in the river), then the 20 arrondissements turn clockwise from the centre.
Parisians identify themselves by the village districts: right in the centre is the Right Bank, the Louvre, heart of former royal Paris and boulevards west from the Tuileries up the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe.
To the east is the beautifully preserved Marais; to the north, Montmartre. In poorer north-east Paris, the Père Lachaise cemetery. On the Left Bank, the Latin Quarter host medieval churches. Further west are St-Germain with its cafés and fashion boutiques, the Faubourg St-Germain,Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower.
Paris’s is relatively compact which means you can walk many place – the best way to discover the city. The public transport system has 14 metro lines, RER suburban rail. The best best is always to get a carnet of 10 tickets valid on the métro, RER, bus and tram within central Paris – much more economical than buying individual tickets – and better value than the Paris Visite passes.
Thanks to its unique blend of iconic sights, innovative architecture and unusual places, the French capital promises a sightseeing and shopping like no other city. Paris has 1,803 monuments and 173 museums, as well as some of the great shopping in the world. The Champs Elysées, Printemps and the Galeries Lafayette and the concentration of high-end boutiques make it a magnet for shopping.
When you think of fashion,you think of Paris. The city’s iconic Paris Fashion Week held twice yearly, and fashion’s influence means that shopping in Paris means the best in clothes, shoes, accessories and much more. Parisians often seem to make being stylish look effortless. It’s no surprise, then, that the city remains the global centre for style-related, making it the ideal place to check out the boutique stores with world famous designer creations and the finest jewellery. There’s something to find for everyone: from high-end boutiques to fantastic flea markets.
Indeed, Parisian department stores have become must-see monuments with their fabulous Art Nouveau glass domes. Try Galleries Lafayette with its magnificent stained-glass roof. For high end boutiques, visit Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Rue Saint-Honoré, Rue de la Paix and around the Place Vendome. For something different why not take a stroll along the Champs Elysees, where you will find 1.9 Kilometers of luxury shops, cafes and famous theatres.
No visit to Paris would be complete without taking time out to see the famous outdoor markets. Le Marché des Enfants Rouges in the 3rd arrondissement is the oldest covered food market. See the classic French baguettes, cheeses and wines and enjoy viewing real Parisian life in action. Rue Daguerre in the 14th arrondissement near Montparnasse cemetery is permanent market with fantastic cheese shops here, and is also the location of the famous bakery Au Moulin de la Vierge. Every neighborhood in Paris features its own local food market: try out but Marché Moufettard, Marché biologique Raspail, Marché de la Rue Cler, and the covered Marché Saint Quentin on Boulevard Magenta.
There are lots of flea markets and flower markets in Paris. The biggest flea market in the world is St-Ouen Flea Market, close to Montmartre with tons of selling clothes, antiques, and art. For antiques, visit the Montreuil Flea Market where you can still find a bargain. Your are expected to haggle over the price; so start negotiating!
For something a bit different, discover the famous passages of Paris. These are covered pedestrian arcade that are all over the city, always full of small traditional shops. These small arcades started popping up all over Paris at the end of the 18th century, and were very popular among the wealthy. Over 20 of these arcades still exist today, and indeed, many such as the Passage Jouffroy (between the Boulevard Montmartre and Rue de la Grange-Bateliere) or the Galerie Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, have become historical monuments.
For sighteseeing, its almost impossible to know where to start when you fly to Paris. The Eiffel Tower is a must see. Constructed in 1889 to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution it is now the worlds most visited paid monument. From the top of the Tower, you’ll be treated to an unrestricted view over Paris.
Take the lift to the third floor for something extra special; enjoy a glass of champagne whilst experiencing magnificent panoramic views over the city. http://www.toureiffel.paris Then, hop onto one of the river boats moored just below and glide down the Seine as far as Notre-Dame. Visit one of the largest and most famous religious buildings in the world, The Notre-Dame. Climb the North tower or admire the spire and stained glass of this historic Catholic Cathedral, which presents one of the best examples of French gothic architecture.
The Louvre Museum is also a must see, which houses many famous works of arts, including the Mona Lisa. http://www.notredamedeparis.fr As you leave, take a walk over the Pont des Arts footbridge and the Pont Neuf and visit the Left Bank.
For more art, discover the impressionaist treasures of the Musee D’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine. It used to be a ‘Beaux-Arts’ era railway station built at the end of the 19th century. It has the largest collection of impressionist with painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh. For something just as iconic, try the Centre Georges Pompidou also known as the Pompidou Centre in English – the inside-out building – with all the pipes, stairs and other normal parts of a building actually outside! Its in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Les Halles, and the Marais. Again, it has largest museum for modern art in Europe.
Go regal at the Palace of Versailles – the site of the huge royal palace and gardens built by the Sun King, Louis XIV. Versailles is best known for being the site of the vast royal palace and gardens as well as the scene for major historic event such as the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. It is a real “must see” location on the western part of Paris. Not only does it have enormous historical significance but also it is a very beautiful building. If you plan to visit Versailles, get there early, as the queues are huge – all day until early evening.
If you want a taste of 19th century Bohemian Paris, go to Montmartre, starting out from the Odéon metro station. The brasseries and cafes of boulevard Montparnasse are home to the workshops of Picasso and Utrillo, the birthplace of cubism and cabarets. Make sure you make it as far as Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Parisian centre of intellectual and artistic activity. Visit the Marais, one of the oldest parts of the city, with beautiful private houses, the Picasso museum, the latest small chic boutiques, and stillness and quiet of the Place des Vosges.
+ Information about Paris
Below you can see some extra information and travel tips, you are welcome to leave comments if you have travel ideas you want to share.
Good restaurants in Paris
Paris is the ‘Capital of Gastronomy’ – and is the home to some of the world’s finest – and priciest – restaurants. Get acquainted with the art of eating well in the city that is synonomous with creating culinary trends.
Typical brasseries serve French classics such as steak-frites and pommes parisiennes (Parisian potatoes), as well as more elaborate “bistro” style dishes. If you want to grab some food on the go, opt for a traditional simple baguette sandwich with ham and butter from any boulangerie, and enjoy a picnic on a bench in one of the many parks.
The grand French gastronomic meal is one thing, but the sheer variety of places to eat you can find in Paris, from haute-cuisine to all-day cafés, bars and bistros is what matters to the visitor. Note – many top restaurants have much cheaper menus at lunch – an excellent time to get a table at short notice.
For a splurge, try Le Jules Verne – 400ft up the Eiffel Tower, reached by the restaurant’s lift on the south pillar, with its food to match the view. It even has a chocolate bolt dessert to recognise the 2.5 million bolts that hold the Eiffel Tower together. Take a look at Au Comptoir du Relais for a no-choice, gastronomic weekday dinner. At lunchtimes, no reservations are possible, and the place is packed out with foodies and literary types sampling the regional fare. Next door at L’Avant Comptoir, you can take away a crêpe or sandwich, or squeeze in for wine, charcuterie and hors d’oeuvres.
Paris nightlife is very varied – its not all about the can-can girls! Visit the Café de Flore, the legendary St-Germain café – from breakfast rendezvous to lunch to aperitif hour to late-night drinking, it’s the place to imaginge having a conversation with Sartres! Le Café Marly gives you a chance to sip a drink on a terrace overlooking the Louvre courtyard, with views over the gallery’s glass pyramid.
The Petit Suisse overlooks the Jardin du Luxembourg since 1791 and has a very down-to-earth appeal. Its samllwith lots of different levels – including a mini terrace and mezzanine.
For something offbeat, film director, David Lynch has opened Silencio – his LA club that is something between a private bar, arts club and nightclub – it has a free but selective entry after midnight. Silencio is located deep underground in a building that has a multitude of rooms including a gold-leaf tunnel, a Twin Peaks forest, a cinema, a smoking room and a stage for DJs.
Hotels in Paris
With over 1500 places to stay in Paris, you will be spoilt for choice for accommodation. The Shangri-La Hotel is just From the 5-start Crillon, Bristol or Ritz to the more humble 2-star,there is a choice for every budget.
Paris excels in luxury, but most hotels are small, family affairs. Many hotels have been recently refurbished, so air-conditioning, lifts and comfortable beds are the norm, and many are in historic buildings. Don’t expect huge bedrooms. What you lose in room size, you gain in character and atmosphere. Breakfast is generally not include.
Hotels are heavily booked during the January/February fashion weeks and furniture fairs. Look for well-priced offers, especially at business-orientated hotels, in August and at weekends when they are less busy.
The Shangri-La Hotel is just one example of the many luxury hotels in Paris, located just 600 metres from the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River. Custom designed suites, stunning views and 2 Michelin Star Restaurants are just some of the outstanding facilities this hotel has to offer.
The Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Hotel is perfect for those wanting to be in the heart of this vibrant city, located just 700m from the Arc De Triomphe, it is the only five-star hotel situated on the Champs Elysees.
Try the Hotel Ekta – a boutique hotel offering black and white 1960 décor, a futuristic lounge, a hidden garden terrace, a great atmosphere near the Champs-Elysées on rue Galilée..
If you’re on a budget, there are also many hostels and hotels to meet your needs such as the Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget which both offer convenient locations and low prices.