The city synonymous with fashion, luxury and style won’t disappoint
It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or fifth visit, Paris is always enchanting. The City of Lights really is beautiful – the monuments, the architecture, the fashion and the streetscapes. Style, romance and culture intersect to make this the world’s top tourist destination.
A haven for art lovers
The number of world-class museums in Paris can be overwhelming. Start with the Louvre. With more than 30,000 artworks – including, of course, the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo – there’s enough to keep you occupied.
The Musee d’Orsay boasts a wonderful collection of Impressionist art and the stroll along the left bank to get there is lovely, browsing the secondhand booksellers set up along the River Seine. See Monet’s breathtaking Water Lilies murals at the Musee de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.
The city loves its food
There’s more to Paris’ famed pâtisseries than the macaron. But of course, they’re certainly legendary, so try Ladurée, Pierre Hermé or Gérard Mulot. Make like an aristocrat and enjoy a typical French teatime in a salon de thé (tea salon) like Angelina on Rue de Rivoli, famous for its rich hot chocolate. Dine at one of the city’s many civilised brasseries – a mainstay of Parisian dining – or sit outside at a St. Germain café and watch the world go by.
This city’s grand old department stores are Paris institutions – pop into Galeries Lafayette (don’t miss the food hall!) or Le Bon Marché. Head to the Marais neighbourhood for vintage clothes and antiques. The people watching is superb on prestigious Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, with its luxury flagships and art galleries. On the grand Avenue des Champs-Élysées, you’ll find all the big names, from high-end to fast fashion chains. And do try to get to an authentic Parisian flea market – the one at Porte de Clignancourt, known as Les Puces (The Fleas) is the best-known.
Slow down and enjoy la belle vie
When you’ve had enough of strolling along grand, sweeping boulevards and charming cobbled laneways, take a break. There are so many beautiful green spaces in Paris – they cover roughly one-quarter of the city. Don’t miss the Jardin des Tuileries on one side of the Louvre, the largest and oldest in Paris today. You’ll enjoy an unbroken vista towards the Place de la Concorde, the Arc de Triomphe and the Grande Arche. Jardin du Luxembourg, on about 60 acres in the heart of the left bank, is another perennial favourite. It’s very family friendly with pony rides, a merry-go-round, ice-cream stands and puppet shows. There’s even an apple orchard.
See the big icons
In a city crammed with beautiful monuments and iconic landmarks, one always stands out. Yes, the Eiffel Tower. Climb the 674 steps to the second floor to be rewarded with those spectacular views. A visit to the Trocadero Gardens across the river provides the perfect distance for your obligatory selfie with the Iron Lady.
Climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe will give another excellent view, this time with La Tour Eiffel. You’ll also be entertained by watching drivers navigate Paris’ crazy roundabouts.
But don’t miss the small sights
Visit the 13th-century Saint Chapelle, a Gothic masterpiece. On the Île de la Cité, it’s a relatively small chapel that often gets overlooked. The interior is breathtaking, with (almost) floor to ceiling stained glass and stunning mosaic panels.
The remains of more than six million people are kept in a labyrinthine underground tunnel network. Nearly two kilometres of the Paris Catacombs are open for curious visitors – the decorative displays are fascinating.
Get out of town
It’s worth the train trip to the legendary Château de Versailles. This incredible palace was built to impress; it positively oozes luxury and splendour. Don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Apartments and, of course, those magnificent gardens.
The fabled wine region of Champagne is another easy day trip – see the vineyards, wine cellars, rolling hills and castles of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.