Paris is more than 2,000 years old. Gauls settled there between 250 and 200 BC and founded a fishing village on an island in the river that is the presentday Ile de la Cité, the center around which Paris developed. Paris is located in northern central France. The area north of the river Seine, the Rive Droite (Right Bank), includes the tree-lined Avenue des Champs-Élysées, running west to the Arc de Triomphe. East of the avenue is the massive Musée du Louvre and the Centre Georges Pompidou. On the Île de la Cité is the world-famous Notre Dame. The area south of the river is home to the city’s most prominent landmark, the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower: This towering edifice was built for the World Fair of 1889, held to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it stands 320m high and held the record as the world’s tallest structure until 1930.

Notre Dame: The city’s cathedral ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture. Notre Dame was begun in 1163 and completed around 1345.

Musée du Louvre: This enormous building, constructed around 1200 as a fortress and rebuilt in the mid-16th century for use as a royal palace, began its career as a public museum in 1793. In the 1980s, the Louvre was revamped, with the addition of a 21m glass pyramid entrance.

Centre Georges Pompidou: Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in the ’70s, the Centre Georges Pompidou is displaying and promoting modern and contemporary art.

Versailles: Beginning in 1664, the construction of the castle lasted viltually until 1715. It remained the residence of the royal family until the Revolution of 1789.

Disneyland Paris: Disney Paris is Europe’s most magical adventure for children and adults alike. There are no less than five imaginary lands to enjoy. You can stay in one of several Disney-themed hotels in three different price ranges inside the park, or you can stay “in France” and travel to EuroDisney by train or car.

Hotels and hostels in Paris

For backpackers wanting somewhere cheap to stay in the city itself, there is the ‘Hotel Alize Grenelle Tour Eiffel’ on Avenue Emile Zola, between the Tour and the Porte de Versailles. Rooms are soundproofed and there is free Wifi and parking nearby. As an alternative, try the ‘Perfect Hostel’, within walking distance of the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur. This hotel for backpackers and families on a budget has ensuite rooms for two or three, and a lounge and TV room for socialising. A three-star hotel in traditional Parisian style is the ‘Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain’. Here the 31 rooms are air-conditioned and there is a flowery courtyard to relax in. Wifi is free here too. In the four-star hotel category, try the ‘Citadines Prestige Les Halles’, an apartment-hotel just 500m from the Pompidou Centre and a ten minute walk from The Louvre. (There is a metro station close by too.) Each air-conditioned apartment has a private bathroom and kitchen with microwave, fridge and dishwasher. Also within walking distance of the main sights but at the luxury end of the range is ‘Le 123 Sebastopol – Astotel’ (i.e. the Astotel group’s hotel in boulevard Sebastopol). The whole hotel is themed around cinema, and each room is individually styled with unique cinematic décor – it’s a shame you will only get to see inside one of them (though there are pictures of others on the hotel’s website)!

Paris is always a good idea
moulin rouge paris

City of Light

Paris, the epitome of romance and sophistication, stands as an icon of culture, history, and art. From the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower to the charming cobblestone streets of Montmartre, every corner of this magnificent city whispers tales of its rich heritage and timeless elegance. With a history spanning over two millennia, Paris has evolved into a melting pot of diverse influences, offering a captivating tapestry of experiences to its visitors. Let’s delve into the enchanting world of Paris, exploring its landmarks, culture, cuisine, and allure.

Historical Marvels

Paris wears its history with pride, evident in its architectural marvels that dot the cityscape. The majestic Notre-Dame Cathedral, with its Gothic spires reaching for the heavens, stands as a testament to the city’s religious heritage. Although scarred by the devastating fire of 2019, efforts to restore this iconic landmark are a symbol of Parisians’ resilience and determination to preserve their cultural heritage.

Strolling along the banks of the Seine River, one encounters the grandeur of the Louvre Museum, once a royal palace and now a treasure trove of art spanning centuries. From the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa to the majestic Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Louvre encapsulates the essence of human creativity and ingenuity.

Cultural Melting Pot

Paris’s allure lies not only in its monuments but also in its vibrant cultural scene. The city has been a beacon for artists, writers, and intellectuals for centuries, fostering creativity and innovation. Montmartre, with its bohemian atmosphere and picturesque streets, was once home to renowned artists like Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh, who drew inspiration from its charm.

The opulent Palais Garnier, an architectural masterpiece of the 19th century, continues to enchant audiences with its world-class opera and ballet performances. Meanwhile, the vibrant streets of Le Marais pulsate with energy, offering a glimpse into Paris’s eclectic mix of boutiques, art galleries, and trendy cafes.

Gastronomic Delights

No exploration of Paris is complete without indulging in its culinary delights. French cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its exquisite flavors and meticulous preparation, and Paris serves as its ultimate playground. From haute cuisine establishments boasting Michelin stars to cozy bistros tucked away in hidden alleyways, Paris offers a gastronomic experience like no other.

A visit to a traditional Parisian boulangerie is a sensory delight, with the aroma of freshly baked baguettes and pastries filling the air. Indulge in a leisurely café au lait at a sidewalk cafe, watching the world go by as you savor a delicate macaron or a decadent éclair.

For those seeking culinary adventure, the bustling markets of Rue Mouffetard and Rue Cler offer an array of fresh produce, cheeses, and charcuterie, inviting visitors to embark on a gastronomic journey through French cuisine.

Chic Fashion and Shopping

Paris reigns supreme as a global fashion capital, setting trends and defining style for centuries. From the luxury boutiques of the Champs-Élysées to the trendy shops of the Marais district, Paris offers a shopping experience that is unparalleled in its elegance and diversity.

The legendary haute couture houses of Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton call Paris home, drawing fashion enthusiasts from around the world to indulge in the ultimate luxury shopping experience. Meanwhile, vintage enthusiasts can explore the eclectic offerings of Le Marais’s vintage boutiques, uncovering hidden gems from decades past.

Paris is always a good idea

Above all, Paris is synonymous with romance, captivating the hearts of lovers with its enchanting ambiance and timeless beauty. A leisurely stroll along the Seine River at sunset, hand in hand with a loved one, offers moments of serenity and intimacy amidst the bustling cityscape.

Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, with panoramic views of the city spread out below, is a quintessential Parisian experience that never fails to inspire romance. As night falls, the city lights up in a dazzling display, casting a magical spell over its visitors and igniting the flames of passion.

In conclusion, Paris remains an unparalleled destination, a city where history, culture, and romance converge to create an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re savoring a croissant in a quaint cafe, exploring world-class museums, or simply wandering the charming streets hand in hand with a loved one, Paris never fails to captivate and inspire. As Audrey Hepburn famously said, “Paris is always a good idea,” and indeed, it is a city that continues to enchant and beguile all who have the privilege of experiencing its timeless elegance.