Paris is without question one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. Rich in history, art, scenery, night-life, family-friendly activities, world-famous cuisine and shopping, Paris has a lot to offer.
There are of course the must-see attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Notre-Dame, the River Seine and the Louvre. Since Paris is also a wonderfully walkable city, in a well mapped-out plan, you can see all of these attractions in a day, and on foot, saving some extra cash while taking in the sites.
Cultural Attractions, Cuisine & Spirits
If you are a literary buff, Paris offers an impressive collection of historical writers and present-day resources. Visit the Victor Hugo Museum followed by a late lunch at Le Deux Magots (meaning Two Figurines from China), a restaurant offering the much desired outdoor café sidewalk seating. Le Deux Magots, located in the Saint Germain neighborhood of Paris, was frequented by artistic innovators and the intellectual elite of times past, such as: Picasso, Hemingway, Sartre, Camus, Faulkner and Fitzgerald. The decadent French cooking and warm red décor make this an inviting location for any season. Shakespeare & Co. is a must-see attraction for book lovers and book collectors. Opened in 1951 by American expatriate George Whitman, this welcoming shop is full of literary love and rare reads, just opposite Notre-Dame.
If you’re traveling as a couple (as opposed to a family), you may be interested in visiting the infamous Moulin Rouge. The mysterious and intriguing subject of books and movies throughout the years, this turn of the century cabaret played an iconic role in French cultural and artistic identity. Although the Moulin Rouge may be much calmer than the reputation of past performances, the venue’s dinner shows are a bit of a financial splurge. Save up for one of these must-see shows which receive rave reviews, and be sure to book your tickets in advance (well in advance) because they sell out quickly!
Paris is the perfect destination for the food obsessed. From crepes at La Creperie de Josselin to eclairs at La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Paris has it all. And while you’re there, don’t forget to try some world-famous wine!
Some additional touring options include: a visit to the Catacombs, a day-trip to the Normandy D-day battlefields and beaches and a walk to the scenic Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre.
A city set along the ancient river which plays such a prominent role in classics such as Les Misérables, the Seine brings tranquility to Paris. You can escape the bustle of the busy streets by walking down a flight of stairs to walk along the calming walkways along the river.
Paris has quite a reputation for high-end fashion houses of Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy of which you’re probably already familiar. If you’re looking for something a bit less extravagant, try Le Bon Marché which is the first department store in the world. A 20 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower makes this upscale shopping spot a must-see for shopping enthusiasts. As impressive as this giant shopping destination may be, our greatest recommendation for shopping in Paris is to stroll through the narrow back-streets. Once you’re off the beaten path, out of the way of other tourists, you will find the real heart of Parisian fashions and trinkets. The neighborhood of Montparnasse offers many such boutiques and antique shops.
Although the majority of people whom you will encounter will speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn a few key phrases prior to your trip. These will come in handy should you find someone who doesn’t speak English, and it shows the locals that you’re really interested in their city.