Paris Destination Guide
Whether you call it the 'City of Lights,' the 'Fashion Capital of the World' or simply the most romantic town on the planet, there's a reason Paris is the world's most popular tourist destination. Its attractions are world famous, from the Louvre to Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Setting for countless movies and home to a colourful cast of artists, entrepreneurs and long-term visitors seduced by its alluring atmosphere, Paris tourism offers the chance to get swept away in the charm of this intoxicating city. Flights to Paris open the door to a breathtaking new world; whether you ever decide to return home is up to you.
The Notre Dame de Paris is the city's most visited attraction. Construction on the spectacular French Gothic cathedral in the middle of the Ile de la Cite started in 1163 and less than 200 years later it was considered one of the most important buildings in the modern world. A trip to The Louvre should be high on any list of things to do in Paris, with the museum perhaps the most famous in the world. It's where you'll find Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa – the museum's most popular exhibit. Every year millions of visitors ascend to the top of the Eiffel Tower on the Champs de Mars to enjoy sweeping panoramic views over the city.
Regarded as the culinary capital of Europe, dining out in Paris is a hallowed attraction in itself. The city is home to several Michelin-starred restaurants but even the humblest of back-alley bistros is likely to offer an absorbing candlelight experience. Paris restaurants can be predictably expensive, particularly if you stick exclusively to tourist areas. Consider making lunch your main meal of the day as that's when you'll find the best 'prix fixe' deals. The city's 20 arrondissements boast thousands of atmospheric places to drink, from grungy dive joints to upscale cocktail bars and bohemian student hangouts. Simply stroll the streets until you find a place which takes your fancy.
The sheer diversity of Paris' famous 20 arrondissements helps explain the city's enduring popularity with tourists. Paris hotels are spread far and wide, though certain quarters house more attractions than others. Le Marais is at the heart of the city and close to several major attractions, including The Louvre. On the left bank of the River Seine is the lively Latin Quarter, where the city's bohemian student population hold sway. The northwestern fringes are where you'll find the Champs-Elysees, while on the other side of the city is the artistic enclave of Montmartre – each offering their own unique versions of Paris accommodation.
The home of haute couture, fashion is the cornerstone of shopping in Paris. The Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and nearby Avenue Montaigne contain some of the city's most exclusive high-end stores, while the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps on Boulevard Haussmann offer quintessentially Parisian shopping experiences. If your budget is at the other end of the scale, a weekend excursion to the northern suburb of Saint-Ouen is a must. It's home to Paris' largest flea market and is a great place to shop for antique furniture, vinyl records and vintage clothes. Book lovers will delight in a trip to the Shakespeare and Company bookstore – a faithful tribute to the original which closed during World War II.
Paris like a Local
Undoubtedly a walking city, many of Paris' best-loved attractions are within easy walking distance of each other. However, one of the most fun ways to truly experience the city is by taking a ride on the Paris Metro. Beloved by locals and tourists alike for its scale, its offbeat Art Nouveau architecture and the sheer convenience of traversing the city's oft-clogged streets underground, the Metro is a Parisian institution. Line 6 is a favourite with tourists and offers picturesque views of several prominent attractions. For a less aesthetically pleasing but equally useful train-travel experience you can take a Paris RER train out to Disneyland Paris on the eastern outskirts of the city.