This is it ! You are nearing a visit to the one of the world’s greatest cities, Paris ! The capital of France is also known as the City of Light. This enchanting city, at the crossroads of cultures, is the capital of fashion and home to world highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Avenue des Champs Elysées, to name but a few. In terms of architectural beauty, art history, events, gastronomy and sheer extravagance, Paris is a milestone ahead of any other city on earth.
Beyond the highlights of the city, Paris is the ideal place to discover the French art de vivre. Take a seat in a café and simply enjoy the scene in front of you : locals shopping fresh food from authentic markets, people taking their time for lunch which usually lasts more than an hour, women and men who are well groomed in a simple yet fashionable way… Simple things that make life much more enjoyable.
When it’s time to eat, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Indeed, Paris has a wealth of restaurants serving specialities from every corner of the world. And of course you don’t come to this amazing city without having a morning croissant, lunch in a neighbourhood bistro or dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurants if you wish to have a treat.
Paris has one of the world’s most extensive public transport systems. You can take a taxi if you are not much of an adventurer, but that would be a pity ! Metro (subway or underground), buses and city bicycles are much more fun and are very easy to use, even for beginners. Go to any metro station and ask the RATP staff to help you out with the best ticket option. Don’t forget to ask for a free tourist map.
It takes more than a couple of days to discover Paris, but you can plan your visit according to our 3-day itinerary to see the best of the City of Light.
Starting from the Paris-Gare du Nord station, take the Metro 5 to stop at La Bastille, the birthplace of the French revolution, in the enjoyable Marais quarter. From colourful small bars to popular clubs, this is the liveliest spot of Paris. Since the nineties, the Marais quarter has attracted many artists and designers. Following your visit to the Marais quarter, you’ll set off to the Latin quarter (take metro 5 and 10 to stop at St Michel). The lively atmosphere, cafés, bistros and restaurants will no doubt delight you.
Continue by foot to the Ile de la Cité, the place where Paris was born, which is a tiny island on the Seine River in the very heart of the French Metropolis. On the island, you’ll enjoy the magnificence of the Notre Dame Cathedral and next to the it, you’ll find the famous Point Zero of Paris, the reference point to measure distances from Paris to other towns and cities. Not far from Notre Dame, is the Rue de Rivoli, where you can find trendy shops and most importantly the world’s largest museum – the Louvre Museum, home to the famous portrait of Mona Lisa. There are several landmarks to visit in the vicinity : the Georges Pompidou Centre which is home to modern art, the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries, and the Palais Royal.
Walking along the Rue de Rivoli, towards the Place Concorde, you’ll soon reach one of the most beautiful avenues in the world – Avenue des Champs Elysées. If you are in Paris in the Christmas period, you’ll be amazed by the beautiful illuminations. The rest of the year, the avenue is just as pretty with hip shops, restaurants and night clubs.
Our tip : In summer, the most famous urban beach, Paris Plage, is a huge success. For two months every summer, the banks of the Seine River is filled with tons of sand, parasols and tanned bodies. Get your towel down to enjoy summer in a unique way in Paris.
Montmartre is a gastronomical and cultural area with an authentic Parisian charm – a romantic atmosphere, legendary cabarets, music halls, theatres and streets full of history. Some say it is the last area in Paris which has a small town’s aura. This famous area invites you to stroll around and to enjoy a crêpe or an ice cream on a café terrace, while savoring its particular atmosphere.
Montmartre is also known for the Sacré-Coeur Basilica which offers a fantastic panoramic view over the city of Paris. Climb the stairs or take the funicular cable railway to the reach the Basilica. The view is particularly enchanting at sunset and few sights in Paris are more memorable.
Paris by night is just as exciting as visiting it by day. Indeed the Parisian nightlife scene is always animated and ever changing. You can of course make a beeline to the Champs Elysées or the lively Marais quarter. However, watching the Eiffel Tower at night is something that will captivate the most skeptical. The French and Parisian icon is beautifully floodlighted at night and the view from the top is grandiose. The shorter queues at night will allow you to visit this monument at your own pace.
Our tip : If you want to have a memorable dinner in Montmartre, why not try the saucy, yet classy show and dinner spectacle at the Moulin Rouge or a retro-dinner spectacle at Michou, a local institution.
Paris being at forefront of fashion, you will find designer shops, famous brands and many friendly boutiques all around the city. However, there is one place that stands out for its elegance and wealth of designer creations : The legendary Galeries Lafayette. The department store, created in 1894, has constantly reflected the styles of the times through a sophisticated selection of brands, ranging from the most prestigious to the most affordable.
If you are looking for posh boutiques, head to Place Vendome, which is not far from the Jardin des Tuileries. For those who are looking for antiques or bric-a-brac treasures, there are several vide greniers throughout the year.
Our tip : Non-EU visitors can obtain a tax deduction. Ask a shop assistant about it when you are the Galeries Lafayette or any big shops.