Paris

Paris Travel Guide

Paris by CC user aigle_dore on Flickr

Introduction

Paris, known by hopeless romantics the world over as the City of Lights, needs no introduction. And yet, tasked with writing the segue to what is unquestionably one of the world’s great urban environments, here we are.

A city of unparalleled culture, art, food, fashion, and architecture, missing this city when on a tour of Europe would be no less than a tragic mistake. More than just a place to see one of the world’s most famous towers, to know Paris is to live it – eating in its neighbourhood bistros, drinking until dawn in its bars and nightclubs, and strolling slowly down its streets admiring its immaculately carved buildings accomplishes this goal handily.

Just seeing landmarks (which are no less impressive in their own right) won’t do this place justice. Spend a week here, and live it to the max – it will be an experience that will transform your outlook on life itself.

The Louvre by CC user bvi4092 on Flickr

Cultural Experiences

There are many cultural attractions in Paris, but if you are limited in the amount of time you have to spend here, then the following three suggestions will prove to be the best of the lot. Start by exploring the Musee du Louvre, known in English as the Louvre.

The Louvre is the world’s most visited museums, as well as being one of its largest. This essential Parisian cultural institution is best known as the home of the original copy of the Mona Lisa, but there is so much more to this palace of art and history than just this one work.

From Egyptian antiquities (mummies and papyrus scrolls included) to priceless Renaissance masterpieces, you’ll be combing the floors of this expansive national treasure for hours, so plan an entire morning or afternoon around this place if you can.

Housed in a former railway station sculpted in the Beaux Arts style, the Musée d’Orsay is one of the most prominent art museums in France and the world. Featuring the very best creative works by some of the world’s best visual artists (most of them French), the paintings, photography and sculpture here enhance the appearance of one of the globe’s most beautiful buildings. Leading artists here include Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh, but take in the pieces made by this country’s lesser known but equally capable creatives as well – you’ll be better off for it.

There are many churches in Paris, but those without the luxury of time should include the Notre Dame Cathedral in their itinerary. Considered by architecture experts and enthusiasts to be one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture in the world, even those jaded after having been to numerous Christian houses of worship will be wowed by this Parisian landmark.

The massive organ, spectacular stained glass windows, and immaculately carved stone pillars located within its interior will inspire awe in even the most secular of guests, so don’t miss it during your tour of Paris.

Arc De Triomphe by CC user oatsy40 on Flickr

Other Attractions

As far as standard tourist attractions go, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Eiffel Tower. Built in 1889 to serve as the grand entrance to the World’s Fair, it serves as Paris’ most memorable landmark in the minds of many.

Being France‘s most popular tourist attraction, you certainly won’t be alone when you make your visit, but the view from its 906 foot high observation deck (the highest in the European Union) is unforgettable.

After having a meal at its two expensive but well-run gourmet restaurants, head over to Place du Trocadéro, a park that boasts unobstructed lines of sight of the famous tower.

Another monument that you shouldn’t miss while in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe. This massive stone arch commemorates French war dead in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier being located beneath its vault as well.

Its significance to the nation’s history notwithstanding, the sheer size and sense of style make this point of interest an essential stop on your tour around town.

On a fabulous day in Paris, there is no better place to be than the Jardin du Luxembourg. Created in the 17th century for the widow of King Henry the IV of France, this 23 hectare park is now one of this cities’ most beloved green spaces. Filled with tree-lined promenades, diverse flowerbeds, fountains and outdoor sculpture, it is the place to be on a summer’s day in France’s capital city.