France’s capital city is one of the world’s most recognisable travel destinations. From the Eiffel Tower to the Champs Elysées, it’s architecture that initially provides the city with fame. Then beneath the glorious facade, there’s a romantic soul, celebrated through art, fashion, gastronomy, and design.
The River Seine meanders through Paris and captures the beautiful essence of the city. Cute bridges cross the water and visitors can connect many famous attractions by walking past the buskers along the river banks, notably Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Les Invalides, the Eiffel Tower, and the Grand Palais from where the Champs-Elysées starts. Paris is divided into numbered districts known as arrondissements, which spiral out from the centre. 1st has the Louvre, 2nd is the central business district, 4th contains Notre-Dame and much expressive old architecture, with The Pantheon and Natural History Museum in the 5th Arrondissement. These are all within the traditional centre of Paris, an area that is rich in heritage buildings and history.Slightly to the east, the Eiffel Tower is the unmistakable icon in the 7th Arrondissement, while 8th is where to find the Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. The smaller arrondissements away from the centre are equally captivating, although not as packed with famous sights. In particular, 11th has excellent bars and restaurants, while the Catacombs are visited in 14th.
Paris’s Charles de Gaulle International Airport is one of Europe’s largest and the hub for Air France. Trains to the city centre take 35 to 45 minutes and stop at a series of central stations. Orly International Airport is mainly used for domestic flights. Six major Paris train stations have direct services to destinations all across Europe, including high-speed TGV trains and Eurostar to London. The city’s extensive Metro features art nouveau stations and 16 underground and overground lines. One-day and weekly tickets are available along with a strip of ten tickets to use on the different metro, bus and tram services. Paris is filled with beautiful architecture and getting around on foot is always a charming experience, especially in the central arrondissements.
Paris holds over 2000 years of history, from Celtic founders to Julius Caesar and Napoleon. A number of ancient remains have recently been found beneath the city and are on display at the Archeological Crypt of the Parvis of Notre-Dame. The cutting-edge skyscraper district of La Defense is visible from many points in Paris but isn’t officially part of the city. It’s just outside and a popular half-day trip. The World Heritage Palace of Versailles is also just outside the city.