Paris is often referred to as ‘the City of Love’, and it’s not hard to see why. Its elegant streets and lofty landmarks exude a dreamlike quality as well as oodles of style and sophistication. The city has been an important hub since Roman times, later becoming the political, cultural and economic centre of France. But it’s the romantic ambience, immortalised in such films as Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie, that makes Paris so popular with visitors today. Whether it’s taking a romantic stroll along the River Seine or soaking up the artistic atmosphere of Montmartre, Paris has everything the heart could desire for the perfect weekend away.
Spectacular views of Paris from the top, and well worth queuing for.
A priceless collection of antiquities and art, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The mighty Gothic cathedral that inspired Victor Hugo’s Hunchback novel.
Paris is crammed with world-famous landmarks, so there is no shortage of things to see during your visit. The Champs-Elysees is a good place to start, with the grand Arc de Triomphe at one end and the Place de la Concorde and Jardin de Tuileries at the other, down by the romantic River Seine.
The Louvre is by no means the only famous art gallery in Paris, with the Musee d’Orsay housing another noteworthy collection which includes masterpieces such as Monet’s Water Lilies. Paris is also renowned for being one of the world’s great fashion capitals, and is a great place to indulge in a shopping spree, whether in the Haute Couture shops of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore or the bargain-filled Parisian flea markets.
No trip to Paris would be complete without spending some time in Montmartre, the city’s artisan district. Walk up to the Sacre Coeur, the impressive church built on the highest point in Paris. There are stunning views over the city, as well as a bustling square filled with artists selling their work. Not far from here you will also find the famed Moulin Rouge, the setting for Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed film of the same name.
France is celebrated for its fine cuisine, and Paris is no exception. However much or however little you want to spend, a delicious meal is easy to come by. Start the day with coffee and a croissant in one of the many cafes and patisseries for which Paris is famous. For lunch on a budget, try a traditional French bistro or even a hearty snack such as a crepe or baguette from a street vendor in the tourist centre. A candlelit dinner in a Parisian restaurant is a romantic way to end a day of touring this dreamy city, with many offering fixed price menus for three or four courses along with delicious French wine.
Paris generally has a pleasant climate, though summers are rather hot, and snow is not unheard of in winter. Rainfall is unpredictable, with sudden downpours liable to catch you out throughout the year. Book hotels in Paris at any time of the year and you are sure to find something to love.
Paris can be visited at any time of year, though temperatures soar in August causing many Parisians to escape the city, meaning that some shops and restaurants may be closed. The spring months from April to June are the best time to visit, when the weather is most comfortable.
Flights to Paris usually land in one of two main airports, both of which enjoy easy access via a range of public transport to central Paris. Charles de Gaulle, 30km from the city centre, is the primary hub, while Orly is closer at 18km away; some budget airlines fly to Beauvais, which is less convenient at 75km from central Paris.