Paris, France, one of the most popular short city break destinations with many famous sights to see, fashionable shops, chic cafes and gourmet restaurants to enjoy Paris attracts visitors from all over the world. It is one of the leading cities for fashion design brands and perfumes.
Walking is a good way to explore the city itself which is divided into arrondissements or districts, the metro system also makes it easy to get around. The cities buses are not to difficult to understand and you do get to see more of the city than from the sub-way. You can purchase travel passes/coupons which you may find beneficial, transport maps are available from the Tourist Offices and at the stations where you can get more information regarding the various travel options, costs etc.
There are sightseeing options, bus tours or tourist buses take in the main visitor attractions, open top bus tours are popular in the summer, you can get on and off en route and see Paris at your own speed spending more time at the sights that interest you. There are several boat trips on offer in the summer months from Seine River Cruises to Paris Canal Cruises taking you past many of the major tourist sights in Paris.
Notre- Dame is sited on the south-east corner of the Île de la Cité the Cathedral was begun in 1160 and completed around two centuries later. During the 17th and 18th centuries sadly it fell into decline during the 19th century extensive renovation work was carried out which included the addition of the steeple and some rather scary looking gargoyles.
The spire was designed by Viollet-le-duc and rises to a height of about 90 metres. Inside Notre-Dame you can admire two magnificent rose windows, tours are available in English but you should contact www.cathedralparis.com prior to your visit to confirm guided tour details.
The Arc de Triomphe in the middle of place Charles de Gaulle was started by Napoleon as a tribute to the armies of France; it was not completed until 1836 now it towers above the traffic. The monument stands at over 51m in height and is around 45m wide, for great views of the city’s landmarks you need to go to the top observation level, pedestrian access to the Arch is via the underpass.
Down from the Arc de Triomphe is the famous Avenue des Champs – Élysées which was actually created in 1667 by Andre Le Notre, originally it was fields and garden. It is a popular meeting place at times of celebration and crisis. This broad avenue which is approximately 2km in length is lined with cafes, fast food chains, cinemas, shopping malls and is mainly aimed at the tourist!
The Musée du Louvre, this impressive museum houses world famous works of art and many magnificent collections. If your time is limited you might prefer to visit the wing and section that interests you personally. The popular Denon wing displays Italian masterpieces; another important painting is the Mona Lisa. Other treasures you should go to see are the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. You can collect a floor plan from the main entrance which will help you find your way around.
The Eiffel Tower a landmark of Paris is another must see attraction for most tourists to the city, it was built in 1889 as a temporary structure and when it was complete it was the tallest structure in France at approximately 300m high, an engineering wonder. It was named after the engineer architect Gustave Eiffel. You may want to join the queues and take the opportunity to go to the top of the tower and marvel at the views over Paris, weather permitting of course. After dusk at the start of every hour the lights twinkle from the structure, a spectacle well worth seeing.
There are many places to eat where you can enjoy a variety of food as well as good regional French cuisine there are no shortages of restaurants, patisseries/ cafés, wine bars and beer cellars to try.
If you are on a tight budget you should move away from the popular tourist areas where you will come across eateries and restaurants with fixed price menus that offer good value for money.
There are various music venues catering for all types of music including classical and jazz, you might prefer one of the clubs where you can dance until dawn. Some of you might be interested in the Cabaret Clubs the most well known Paris Show is Le Moulin Rouge if you would like to take in this show you should book in advance of your stay particularly if you are on a weekend break. You can find out more on http://www.moulinrouge.fr/home-flash-gb.html
There is accommodation to suit all pockets from luxury 5 star hotels to basic hotels and hostels. Paris hotels are on the whole more expensive than many other European capital cities.
Paris has plenty of shops some of the streets focus on fashion for example or in art and antiques. One of the best shopping streets is Montaigne, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and there is the trendy rue Bonaparte. Two famous department stores you might like to visit are Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.
If you are visiting Paris at the beginning of December and exploring the city’s historical streets you to can enjoy the Christmas Lights which are turned on then for the festive season.
Paris has so much to offer with many more museums, monuments and attractions that may be of interest to you as you cannot see everything on your first visit you should plan what you would most like to do on this and subsequent visits to the city. There is plenty for everyone to experience and enjoy.