Welcome to Paris

Guide to Paris, France
"This is what you do on your very first day in Paris. You get yourself, not a drizzle, but some honest-to-goodness rain, and you find yourself someone really nice and drive her through the Bois de Boulogne in a taxi. The rain's very important. That's when Paris smells its sweetest. It's the damp chestnut trees." Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina
Of all the cities in the world, it's probably hardest to go wrong in Paris. You may get lost, you may come upon surly waiters or have your taxi whisked from under your nose by a coiffed Comtesse juggling a miniature dog and a vast crocodile handbag. But you will never be bored. You will never fail to see something surprising, uplifting or beautiful. And you will never forget your time in this great, historical city, where an afternoon spent watching the rain teem onto the grey slates from a spindly cafe table is as worthwhile a pursuit as a visit to the Louvre to view great works of art, or a stroll in the Tuileries as the Spring sunshine warms the backs of old men playing boules. Paris is always elegant, intelligent, and magnificent, at any time of year and in any mood.



Guide to Paris, FranceGuide to Paris, France



See

THE OBVIOUS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS ARE ALWAYS WORTH A VISIT- BUT THE EIFFEL TOWER, NOTRE DAME, THE LOUVRE AND THE POMPIDOU CENTRE ARE THE BIG GAME OF PARIS, AND WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY INVOLVE A LENGTHY QUEUE.
The Eiffel tower is worth the effort, but the enormous Louvre can induce Art Fatigue, particularly at the height of tourist season when viewing its masterpieces feels more like leaving a football stadium than contemplating life's mysteries. Luckily, Paris is also a city that's perfect for wandering - find boutiques in the Latin Quarter, stroll the banks of the Seine, or take the Metro to the flea market at Porte de Clignancourt, (the station name that's most delightful to say out loud.)

Sacre Coeur

The white church tops the hill of Montmartre, offering sweeping views across the city more
35, Rue du Chevalier-de-la-Barre 75018 Paris +33 1 53 41 89 00 Anvers

Musee D'Orsay

Home to the world's largest collection of impressionism more
1, Rue de la Legion d'Honneur 75007 Paris 01 40 49 49 78 Assemblee National / Solferino Musee D'Orsay RER

Jardin de Luxembourg

Florentine-inspired gardens offer exquisite statuary, an orangery and a large pond more
Rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris +33 1 42 64 33 99 Odeon

Eat

PARIS MAY WELL BE MORE FAMED FOR ITS RESTAURANTS THAN ITS MONUMENTS. EVERY STREET OFFERS A NEIGHBOURHOOD BISTRO, ECHOING WITH THE CRASH OF CUTLERY AND EVERY BOULEVARD HAS ITS GREAT, TRADITIONAL RESTAURANTS WITH PENGUIN-OUTFITTED WAITERS GLIDING BETWEEN TABLES HEAVING GREAT PLATES OF SEAFOOD. FOR A TRADITIONAL PARISIAN EXPERIENCE, TRY THESE...

La Petite Chaise

The oldest restaurant in Paris, opened in 1680. more
36, Rue de Grenelle 75007 Paris +33 1 42 22 13 35 Saint-Thomas d'Aquin

Nanashi

This little Japanese-influenced cafe is not remotely traditional more
57 Rue Charlot 75003 Paris 01 44 61 45 49 Temple

Bistro Paul Bert

For genuine Parisian atmosphere, for under €100, it’s unbeatable. more
8, Rue Paul Bert 11th 75011 Paris 01 43 72 24 01 Faidberbe-Chaligny



Guide to Paris, FranceGuide to Paris, France



Drink

DRINKING IN PARIS IS A TRADITION THAT STRETCHES BACK FAR BEYOND ERNEST HEMINGWAY AND SCOTT AND ZELDA FITZGERALD. AFTER DARK, THE CITY'S LOUCHE, dramatic side is unleashed, and the polished wood and glass of the city’s vintage bars sparkles as the wine flows.
There are hundreds of drinking establishments, many offering dancing, live music, free jazz and poetry. Somewhere in Paris, it's always 1923. But many more modern bars have since blossomed in the historic streets. For true Parisian flavour, try...

China

Inspired by 1930s Shanghai, this scarlet-walled enclave boasts the longest bar in Paris more
50, Rue de Charenton 75012 Paris +33 1 43 46 08 09 Ledru-Rollin

Café de la Paix

Drinking here is a toast to Paris’s glorious past more
12 Boulevard des Capucines 75009 Paris 01 40 07 36 36 Opera

La Palette

Behung with artworks, this beautiful art deco café is an institution more
43 Rue de Seine 75006 Paris 01 43 26 6815 St.Germain Des Pres

Sleep

Paris hotels can be smaller than a Louboutin shoebox or magnificent grand palais, with matching prices. For an authentic experience, aim for hotels with a little history...

Raffles Le Royal Monceau

A world-class historic hotel, with subtle Art Deco styling more
37 Avenue Hoche 75008 Paris +33 1 42 99 88 00 Charles de Gaulle - Etoile Charles de Gaulle - Etoile RER

Hotel Lutetia

Built in 1910, this glorious Art Deco gem in St Germain has hosted Matisse and Picasso more
45, Boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris Sevres-Babylone

Saint James Albany Paris Hotel Spa

This hotel is a drop of tranquility in the centre of the city more
202 Rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris Tuileries



Guide to Paris, France

In The Mood


READ 

The Pursuit of Love- Nancy Mitford

The Elegance of the Hedgehog- Muriel Barbery

The Paris Wife- Paula McLain

(Read review - click here)

My Life in France - Julia Child

(Read review - click here)

EAT

Little Paris Kitchen – Rachel Khoo

WATCH

Midnight In Paris

Frantic Funny Face

Three Colours Blue

LISTEN

The Very Best of Edith Piaf

An American in Paris- George Gershwin

 If You Ever Go To Paris- Sydney Bechet 

Madeline Peyroux- Dreamland




TIPS

If you plan a lot of sightseeing, buy a Paris pass for free museum and gallery entry and access to hundreds of attractions, from €105 for two days for an adult. www.parispass.com

Remember many shops and galleries close on Sundays- it is a day of relaxation here, so don't plan a hectic Sunday schedule.

You will see infinitely more of the real Paris by following the locals, not the tourists. Try the Marché des Enfants Rouges, a daily morning food market in the Marais with the very best local produce, at 39 rue de Bretagne. Buy ingredients for a picnic and avoid the lunchtime bistro crowds.

Never anticipate fawning politeness from Parisians. And it's largely a myth that speaking a little French will soften them- generally, it mildly annoys them and most waiters would rather speak English than suffer your halting attempts.

Driving in Paris requires nerves of Tungsten, and public transport is excellent- so if possible, leave the car at home; or park on the outskirts, and take the RER.

Take a bateau-mouche. They may be a little touristy, but who cares? The Seine's traditional pleasure cruisers allow you to see all the best sights of Paris from the river, and at night, the views are magical.




Getting Around


CAR

Driving in Paris isn't the easiest option. However, should you need to drive, there are parking tariffs dependent on how central you are. It is roughly €3 to park in a designated parking area, with the outer arrondissements charging around €1.

However, meters do not accept coins – you will need a Paris Carte card, available from tobacconists for between €10 and 30, which you then place behind your windshield. In underground car parks, which can be found in every popular area, marked by a blue ‘P’, the charge is usually €2.50 per day. Parking in non-designated areas is strictly prohibited and can incur a hefty fine.

METRO

The Metro is Paris’s regular subway system, with 16 routes that have stops near all major boulevards and destinations. Look for the ‘M’ or Metro sign above ground, as it is easy to confuse the underground with certain stations that only offer RER – regional – train services.

The Metro runs at all hours besides those between midnight and 5:00am seven days a week. A single subway ticket costs €1.70, but a ‘carnet’ of ten tickets is more advisable for 12.70, reducing the overall price, and can be bought from all stations. Tickets can be bought from the buffet car on Eurostar before you arrive, which will avoid queuing.

BUS

As well as a regular night bus, there are lines that run from North to South and East to West through the city, arriving at landmarks like Notre Dame (line 38) and the Champs Elysees (line 28).

BIKE

A popular choice for tourists and locals alike. The Velib program offers a good, cheap rental service, charging only €8 for a week, alongside a €150 security deposit. Skating is also permitted. 

WALK

Walking is perhaps the safest – and most rewarding – option for exploring Paris. 







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Paris

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Lyon

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Paris




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