Paris
Paris

Paris

France
Gorgeous is what Paris does best: Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle cathedral windows, Louvre museum and Musee d'Orsay masterpieces, Eiffel Tower and Sacre-Coeur panoramas, and haute couture and street fashion along Avenue des Champs-Elysees—and ooh la la, the food and wine.
Getting Around Paris
The best way to get around Paris is by using public transportation. The metro, bus or RER suburban trains are by far the easiest and most efficient way to move around the city. The metro operates from 6:30 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6:30 a.m. until 2:15 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bus operates Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Some bus routes that serve major transit hubs have extended hours until 12:30 a.m. Metro and bus fares start at 1.70€. Multiple pass books (which afford you a discount) are available as are day passes. Taxis are also a convenient way to get around the city. Minimum fare is 6.40€ and charges vary based on traffic and time. All Paris taxi services can be contacted by calling 01 45 30 30 30.
Nearby Airports
  • Charles de Gaulle Airport-CDG
  • Paris Orly Airport-ORY
Airport Taxis
  • 45€ (depending on traffic)
Things to Do and See in Paris
St. Germain-des-PrésLe MaraisCanal St-MartinMontparnasseChamps-ElyséesEiffel TowerMouffetardPalais RoyalLouvreBastilleIle de la CitéMontmartreBellevilleLuxembourgIle Saint-Louis
Saint-Germain-des-Prés was once home to all the publishing houses in Paris, and such famed writers as Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus once debated existentialism at Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots. Today's cafe prices might deter starving artists, but no one should miss the Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces housed in a Beaux-Arts railway station at Musée d'Orsay. Also worth a visit is Saint-Germain church, founded in the 6th century and older than the neighborhood itself.
Le Marais is French for marshlands, and this area covers most of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements. This historically Jewish neighborhood offers kosher delis and falafel restaurants along rue des Rosiers. You might spot rocker Lenny Kravitz at L'As du Fallafel. While most of Paris shuts down on Sundays, the Marais generally closes on Saturdays for the Jewish Sabbath. On Sundays, hit Marais vintage shops, clustered near metro Saint-Paul. The Marais is also famous as the gayest spot in "Gay Paree," with many gay and lesbian clubs and bars.
Canal St-Martin is located in northeast of Paris, and connects the Canal de l'Ourcq to the river Seine. In the film Amélie, the title character skips stones here. The canal has become trendy in recent years, with several restaurants and bars opening overlooking the water. Get your drinks in a to-go cup so you can sip your drink while dangling your legs over the edge of the canal. During the day, the canal offers picturesque views, and it's a lovely place to wander outside the city bustle.
Montparnasse was once one of two hills (or "monts") to the north and the south of Paris. The northern hill of Montmartre still stands today, but the southern peak was leveled in 1725. To regain its former stature, Montparnasse built Paris' tallest building in 1973. The Tour Montparnasse was deemed so ugly that further skyscraper construction was effectively banned within the city limits. This lone tower offers expansive views of Paris from the 360 Café, the highest restaurant in Europe. A weekly organic market is held on Sunday mornings, where rue de Rennes meets rue de Raspail.
The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is probably the most famous street in the world. Directly translated, its name means Elysian Fields, the heavenly resting place for heroes in Greek mythology. The long avenue ends at the famous Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb 284 steps to reach the top. From the terrace, you'll see the avenues leading from the center in a 12-pointed star. Once the world's most exclusive retail real estate, Champs-Élysées has recently gone mass-market with H&M, Starbucks, and McDonald's. But you'll still find the flagship stores Louis Vuitton and Guerlain here, as well as the famous Ladurée macaron shop.
The Eiffel Tower is perhaps the most famous monument in the world. If you want to head to the top without wasting your day waiting in line, arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are two different levels to visit: the lower level can be accessed by elevator or stairs, or you can head straight to the very top. Dining options are the casual 58 Tour Eiffel on the lower level, or the more upscale, famous Jules Verne restaurant atop the tower. Foodies will prefer to take in the view, and then head to rue Saint-Dominique to take their pick of three restaurants by French celebrity chef Christian Constant.
Mouffetard is one of Paris' oldest market streets, built atop an old Roman road. Start at the bottom of the street, and browse your way past produce sellers and flea-market vendors to the top. Afterward, find outdoor seating at bars around Place de la Contrescarpe. The market is closed on Mondays.
The Louvre is more than a world-class art museum. The Louvre was originally a fortified castle on the Seine, and the foundations of this medieval fortress can be seen in the its underbelly. In 1358, Charles V abandoned the royal Conciergerie across the river in favor of the Louvre. It remained the royal residence until the 16th century, when child-king Louis XIV moved into the Palais-Royal directly behind it to escape his would-be assassins. Today, the Louvre is wall-to-wall masterpieces, from ancient Egypt to early 19th century modernism. The famous glass pyramids designed by I.M. Pei were installed in 1989, and the Palais Royal's gardens feature contemporary sculptures by Daniel Buren. The Louvre is open late on Friday evenings, and entry is free on the first Sunday of the month.
The Louvre is more than a world-class art museum. The Louvre was originally a fortified castle on the Seine, and the foundations of this medieval fortress can be seen in the its underbelly. In 1358, Charles V abandoned the royal Conciergerie across the river in favor of the Louvre. It remained the royal residence until the 16th century, when child-king Louis XIV moved into the Palais-Royal directly behind it to escape his would-be assassins. Today, the Louvre is wall-to-wall masterpieces, from ancient Egypt to early 19th century modernism. The famous glass pyramids designed by I.M. Pei were installed in 1989, and the Palais Royal's gardens feature contemporary sculptures by Daniel Buren. The Louvre is open late on Friday evenings, and entry is free on the first Sunday of the month.
Bastille is most famous for the prison that once stood here. The prison was demolished by French Revolutionaries and has been replaced with a column, built in memory of the 1930 July Revolution. Today, Bastille is less known for revolution than for nightlife. Some of Paris' best bars and clubs can be found along rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine and rue de la Roquette. The area becomes nearly all-pedestrian at night, teeming with locals and visitors alike.
This part of the 5th arrondissement got its name thanks to the nearby Sorbonne University. When the Sorbonne was founded in the 12th century, all teaching was in Latin, and that's what students spoke outside. You won’t find Latin speakers here anymore, though the Sorbonne building does still preside over the boulevard Saint-Michel. It's now a heavily touristic area with overpriced restaurants and t-shirt shops, avoided by Parisians. Still, there are points of interest like the Cluny baths built during Roman Times, and the exquisite Saint-Séverin cathedral.
Montmartre was only annexed to Paris in 1860, and the locals of the 18th arrondissement still inhabit a world apart, in historic residences along winding cobblestone streets. At the top of the hill you'll find the picturesque Sacré-Coeur Basilica—but don't get caught taking pictures inside, or you'll be thrown out. For better dining and boutique shopping, head downhill to rue des Abbesses. Legendary restaurants along this major thoroughfare include the Moulin de la Galette, depicted in a famous Renoir painting. As you wander the area and take in the views, beware of pickpockets.
For a destination that's truly off the beaten track, head to Belleville. This northern neighborhood was once quite poor, and legend has it that French singer Edith Piaf was actually born in the streets of Belleville. Today Belleville remains affordable and arty, with many artists setting up their loft-studios here. Belleville is also home to large Chinese and Vietnamese populations, and you'll find many Asian-influenced restaurants in the 20th arrondissement. Among the many local parks, Parc de Belleville is a prime spot for a stroll, with magnificent views of the city from the north.
Mingle with locals at Luxembourg, where local high schoolers hang out in the park after school and Sorbonne university students throng local bars. Commissioned by Marie de Medici in 1611, the Luxembourg gardens and adjacent palace are beautiful to explore. A marionette theater, antique carousel and fenced-in playground make this area a kiddie paradise. Small Musée de Luxembourg features contemporary art, as well as intriguing special exhibits.
These are two islands in the middle of the Seine. Ile de la Cité is the historic center of Paris, best symbolized by Notre Dame de Paris. Entry to the cathedral is free, and admiring the splendid stained glass rosette window and Gothic interiors can take hours. Visit the bell tower for a fee by lining up outside the northern wall, and pose for hunchback of Notre Dame photos atop the tower. Behind the cathedral, don't miss the moving monument to the Paris deportees of the Holocaust. Visit adjacent Sainte-Chapelle, a tiny but exquisite cathedral with intricate stained-glass windows. A plaque beneath Pont-Neuf is dedicated to Grand Master Templar Jacques de Molay, who was burned at the stake here in 1314. The adjacent island of Ile Saint-Louis offers every possible luxury along rue Saint-Louis en Ile, but best of all is artisanal ice cream at Berthillon.
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