If you really want to visit a magical city, then Paris is for you. Romantic, modern, iconic and historical at the same time.
Where you can get to walk next to supermodel shootings anywhere in the downtown, where you can get to see people of all races and colours living in a beautiful chaotic, artistic way.
It is no wonder that Paris was the birthplace or base for so many artists as it oozes art, independence, freedom from all its pores. This time around, I’d like to introduce you to one of the most unique places in the world that’s Paris.
Paris is one of the oldest and most famous capital cities in the world, it’s a business hub, cultural hub, fashion hub and last but not least a sports and tourist hub. There are thousands of people moving to Paris every year to fulfil their lives, to study arts or to become artists. Several poets have visited and spent years in Paris, which gave them inspiration. The city is huge, it has several districts, a picturesque downtown area, that’s stacked with attractions, art galleries and some of the largest and most famous museums in the world.
Best seasons to go: Paris is fantastic in any season, but I would suggest visiting it between April and June and between September and early November as these are the most suitable seasons for cityscapes.
The best places to visit
1. The Eiffel Tower:
quite funnily, the trademark building of Paris that has become the symbol of France in its entirety was built by a German architect. The Eiffel tower is surrounded by a beautiful park and it’s about a 10-15-minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe, so it’s really close to centre of the city.
2. Notre Dame de Paris:
there is hardly anyone who wouldn’t have heard of the Notre Dame, especially after Disney has renewed the old classic book of Victor Hugo that’ called The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To date it’s a functioning church, one of the largest in the city. Another reasons it’s worth visiting is the view from its top, the beautiful sculptures inside and its spiritual atmosphere.
3. Musée d’Orsay:
it’s located quite close to Notre Dame and it’s one of the most picturesque looking museums you can get to see. It’s housing some of the best impressionist and post-impressionist art works, so if you are interested in this period, you should definitely pay a visit.
one of the largest and oldest museums of the world is a masterpiece in itself. And the adding of the glass pyramid back in the Eighties has really made the whole building world famous.
5. University Sorbonne:
even if you are not a student this historical university is well worth a visit for its beautiful buildings and situation.
6. Sainte Chapelle
this attraction often gets overlooked but it’s one of the most beautiful gothic style masterpieces ever created, especially in terms of its gigantic glass-stained windows. It’s definitely worth visiting if you like history and arts. Buy a skip the line ticket for around USD 15 if you don’t want to spend a long time in the queue.
7. The Luxembourg Gardens
also, being featured in lots of famous movies, this is the most beautiful and largest garden of Paris, in addition you can also get to see the beautiful Renaissance style Luxembourg Palace too.
8. The Opera
one of the most beautiful opera houses ever, the Palais Opera Garnier now gives home to the French National Ballet and it’s one of the most beautiful buildings, in and out which you can get to see in the city.
The Best Things to do in Paris:
This city is the place where you can never get bored. There are so many things to do here that I had difficulties to differentiate between the things to see and the things to do.
- Walk along Champs Elysées in the early evening hours after dark: because that’s when it’s in full bloom. It’s not just the shops, it’s the sight of the world-famous Arc de Triomphe which was raised by Napoleon. This is the avenue which gives place to several marches such as the Grand Marche of the army and other notable festivals as well.
- Go on top of Tour Eiffel: because Tour Eiffel is just iconic, the key trademark of the city and the view from here is just spectacular.
- Walk up to Montmartre from the Pigalle metro station if you want to see the older, more artistic side of the city. I love its small pastry shops, bakeries, cafés and the whole atmosphere up there is magical. Your walk should end by the large white church another trademark building of Paris the Sacré Coeur.
- Visit the Louvre Museum: not only because it’s one of the most famous and popular museums of all time but also because it in fact houses some of the highest valued and world famous art works such as the Mona Lisa. You can now book or buy tickets in advance online.
- Sit at one of the cafés along the river Seine and taste the local pastries. Did you know it was French who originally invented the classic café culture? Indeed, visiting cafés is a very French activity all Parisians just love doing. In addition, several cafés also operate as restaurants, so if you get hungry, you don’t have to look for another place.
- Go on a sightseeing boat tour on the Seine: this is one of the most popular types of tours and for a good reason: it’s just marvellous, especially in the evening hours.
- Check out the 100-Year-Old Bridge: it served as the spot of so many old movies and it’s a lovely old bridge.
- Check out the vintage markets of Marché aux Puces de Clignancourt: this is a real old school flea market where many people come to when they are looking for old, inspirational treasures.
- Check out the Sorbonne and the Latin Quarter which is always full of students, great restaurants and cafés.
- Check out Place du Concorde: this is a huge square that houses a real Egyptian Obelisk which Napoleon ordered to be taken from Egypt and stand in the centre of Paris. This square also gives place for lots of fashion shootings one of which I also witnessed and it’s also where the Champs Elysées Avenue begins.
- Check out the Moulin Rouge: it’s the birthplace of cabaret dancing. if you want to check out some artistically erotic cabaret show performed by professional dancers. Moulin Rouge is a real one of a kind bar and although not cheap it’s definitely worth visiting.
- Visit Pére Lachaise Cemetery which is one of the most legendary cemeteries in the world, keeping the graves of several world-famous artists.
- Just wander in-between the small isles of the downtown area and keep on exploring as this is a great city for exploration.
- If you want to eat out, check out the Marais District which has some of the very best eateries for a good price. If you are timid to go alone or would like a better experience then enrol in a Marais District Food, Wine and Cheese tasting tour.
- If you don’t have much time but want to explore as many attractions as possible, I suggest you go on a Paris tour.
- If you are fan of Picasso and want to check out his art work in person, then Paris is the place to visit: at Musée Picasso you can get to see more than 50,000 of his work.
- Check out one of the French food markets which you can get to find all across the city.
Excursions outside Paris:
- If on the contrary you have many days to spend in Paris, then you should get an excursion to the picturesque Versailles Palace.
- Another fantastic excursion is to take a boat which would take you up to the Loire Valley where you can see some of the most picturesque palaces and other beautiful buildings from the river.
Rue Fabourg St. Honoré: if you want to see the best shopping street in the city, then this avenue is the place to come to. It’s houses the best stores and shopping malls of Paris and it’s downtown.
Galleries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché: Check out the oldest and most luxurious shopping malls of Paris the Galleries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché if you are into fashion. Not only do they look as picturesque as an Opera house they also house some of the top French brands’ collections.
Paris has a very well-developed Metro system consisting of multiple Metro lines which can take you anywhere in the city. Buy a daily ticket or a tourist ticket if you don’t want to worry about buying tickets all the time.
Paris houses the one and only Disney World in Europe and they are very proud of that. Although it’s not inside the city, it can be easily accessed both by bus and train and it’s the very best program for families with kids. This Disney World is also served by dozens of hotels, if you wish to spend more than one day there.
Expert Advice on visiting:
- There are many pickpockets who work in crowds especially in Metros
- Beware of some areas in the evening or late evening hours, this is especially in the Pigalle area
- Do not miss to see the city from the river Seine, it’s lovely and romantic every season.
- Most locals speak a minimum level of English.