When people think of Paris they think of romance, of culture, of glamour….and of course, the historic and iconic Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel tower is considered to be one of the most important man-made constructions in the world, so it is definitely essential to visit this cultural landmark when visiting the city, but Paris has so much more to offer its visitors than simply this metal statue.
Beautiful Buildings and Monuments
As well as the famous Eiffel Tower, Paris is a awash with beautiful buildings and monuments waiting to be explored.
You can walk along the most famous shopping street in Paris (the Champs Elysee) to see the Arc de Triomphe which sits at the north end. This impressive monument sits in the middle of a huge roundabout, but is fully accessible thanks to underground tunnels.
The monument was constructed in the early 1800s as a tribute to Napoleon Bonaparte. It is also the site of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, making it the focal point of all remembrance celebrations in the country.
The most visited historic attraction in Paris is Notre Dame cathedral. The impressive building dominates the skyline, and leaves visitors with plenty to explore.
Constructed between 1163 – 1345, Notre Dame is perhaps most famous for the hundreds of gargoyles on its exterior and the bells in its bell tower: on certain days it is possible to take a tour of the cathedral and climb to the very top of the bell tower.
It’s important to note that, as Notre Dame is a catholic cathedral, appropriate dress (ie no tank tops) should be worn if you’re planning a visit.
Finally, no trip to Paris would be complete without a full day spent exploring the Louvre museum. The building itself here is a work of architectural significance, but more interesting and important are the works it contains inside.
Here you can see arguably the world’s most famous portrait, the Mona Lisa, as well as thousands of other incredibly significant works of art. Note that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, so plan your visit accordingly.
When you’ve had your fill of history and culture, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Paris! Why not release your inner child and visit one of the city’s most world-famous theme parks?
Disneyland Paris offers all the fun and excitement of it’s American counterparts, but with a certain amount of Parisian je ne sais quoi!
There are two parks (Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios park) with each offering great shows, the opportunity to say hello to Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters, and of course a wonderful selection of gentle and thrill rides, depending on how much of an adrenaline junkie you are!
Disneyland Paris resort offers a host of restaurants, shopping experiences and six uniquely themed hotels. However the beauty of this particular park is that it is situated less than thirty minutes from the heart of the city, and is served by its own RER subway station: so you can visit for the day without having to book a hotel at all, if you want to maximise the time you spend in central Paris during your trip.
If you’re looking for a theme park a little less shiny and corporate American and a little more French then you could also explore Parc Asterix. Inspired by the famous French comic of the same name, which was first released in 1959, Parc Asterix offers high octane thrill rides, shows, and other entertainment and with a uniquely French sense of humour.
The park is located around 35km north of Paris, meaning that you could access it in less than an hour by car.
Although the park bears all the hallmarks that you would expect from a traditional theme park anywhere in the world, it also has a uniquely french feel that makes it well worth the visit.
Fashion, Fashion, Fashion!
It would be impossible to visit Paris without talking about the fashion (and hitting the shops, of course).
French men and women have a very distinctive sense of style, and they take great pride in what they wear. It stands to reason, therefore, that Paris will be a paradise for fashion lovers, and for those seeking luxury, high end goods.
Strolling along the Champs Elysees is a curious experience for fashion fans: unlike other cities, where the high end shops tend to occupy their own streets, here you will find stores such as Louis Vuitton alongside the Disney store and Prada alongside Primark.
The beauty of this is that you’ll find everything you want and need in one place, and the opportunity for people watching is doubled.
Paris is also well known for its great department stores, particularly Les Galleries Lafayette and Printemps.
A shopping trip to Paris simply wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Les Galleries Lafayette, which offers fashions and interior offerings from some of the very best French designers, as well as one of the most expansive and delicious food halls in the city.
Why not consider booking your trip in either September or February, so that it coincides with the city’s famous fashion weeks.
Here you will find some of the most impressive and powerful French designers unveiling their new season offerings.
Whilst access to the shows themselves is restricted to fashion buyers, bloggers, and members of the press, the atmosphere in the city (not to mention the outfits on the streets) are truly electric.
Finally, you may not realise that, unlike in most other countries in the world, stores in France are not permitted to determine their own sale periods of reduce their stock when needed.
Rather, the biannual sales (known as Les Soldes) are determined by the French government, who allocate two 5 week periods a year when discounts can be offered.
If you’re visiting Paris for a shopping trip and like to bag a bargain then these are the very best times of the year to visit the country and hit the shops!
For 2018, the dates for Les Soldes has been set as Wednesday 10th January- Tuesday 20th February and Wednesday 27th June- Tuesday 7th August. Mark the dates in your diary and join the city’s most dedicated followers of fashion as they jostle and hunt for the best bargains.
Fantastic Food and Wine
As well as their laid back attitude, their love of cigarettes, and their arrogance, the French are also stereo-typically famous for their love of fine food and wine. If you’re looking for a decadent foodie adventure then there is nowhere better in the world to visit than Paris.
Start your day at a boulangerie where you can enjoy croissants, pain au chocolat, and other delicious French pastries. When lunch time arrives, head to a street cafe and be sure to sit outside: nothing is more typically French than spending a long lunch hour people watching from the pavement.
Whilst taking your lunch break, be sure to sample the many delicious cheeses, breads, pates, and great French wines that are offered with pride.
There are very few bad restaurants or cafes in Paris, because the large majority of restaurant owners take great pride in the quality of food they serve their guests and have a passion for fresh ingredients.
If you still have room then, in the evening, there is no experience better than booking a table in one of the great gourmet restaurants the city offers: Michelin stars abound in Paris, and eating out is more than just being presented a meal. It is an experience you will never forget!
If you want to get out of the city for the day then why not take a day trip to the Champagne Region? You’ll find a host of tour companies offering day trips to sample the most famous sparkling wine in the world, and see how and where it is made.
Organizing a day trip will take all the hassle out of the adventure for you, although of course if you’d rather organize something independently it is also incredibly easy to hire a car and hit the road.
Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world! Although I have visited the city more than a dozen times, each time you visit you experience something completely different and unique, and it manages to capture another piece of your heart. When it comes to taking a city break, there is nowhere I would rather be.
One of the best things about Paris is that there’s something for everyone: ideal if you’re traveling in a group! Foodies will be delighted (and almost constantly full up), whilst fashionistas will delight in the incredible shopping experiences.
There’s nowhere better in the world to be a history buff, and who could say no to the opportunity to spend a day drinking champagne!
No matter what you do in the city, you’re sure to be entertained, and find that you want to keep returning again and again.