- Views from several places such as the Tour Montparnasse, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Centre George Pompidou.
- Walking aimlessly in areas such as west of Av des Champs-Elysees, Latin Quarter, Les Halles etc.
- Seeing Paris by river, for example a Seine cruise.
- Visiting Montmarte- especially the flea market (check in the "Shopping" section)
Paris, the world's most visited city, is that right? Of course it is! Then it must be doing something right! Now days, many people, whether or not they've been to Paris, have some idea about it. The clichés do exist, but the traveller discovers something beyond them, which may be more appealing than the clichés- such as simply walking around quiet side streets.
When to go
April is a good time to go in shoulder season and the weather is nice, if a bit rainy. Been in August for 3 days and thought it was crowded and on the cooler and rainier side (2010). But I don't know general weather. Look here- http://www.timeanddate.com/ From what I've heard, August can be anything or everything.
Always say "Bonjour" when entering a shop and say "Merci" when leaving. If approaching a person on the street for directions, understand that he/she isn't entitled to help you so being polite will be appreciated, start off with "Excusez-moi." Bad French is better than no French, that goes without saying. By doing all this myself, people were extremely helpful and kind.
Clearing up Stereotypes
Remember, the French aren't generally rude. It is an often misjudged stereotype. Many people involved in the tourism industry speak English, but a few phrases/words in French go a long way. Saying "Bonjour" (Good day) while entering a shop and "Merci (Thank you) while leaving is local etiquette and should be followed to receive similar respect in return (see above).
The city of Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements , like districts, each with numerous attractions and hotels etc. Have a look here for some more information.
See more in the "Transportation" section.
Good Internet resources
Sigh...this is a superb long list! Here is a shortlist of some of the sights.
|La Jaconde, or commonly known as Mona Lisa|
The Mona Lisa/La Jaconde, as you can see above, is a famous work inside, though not my favourite. My favourite work is right opposite it. In fact it is totally unforgettable.
A good, relaxed way of seeing this mega-site is to get the pamphlet and do some research, then tackle the part you feel is most interesting.
The Louvre has an excellent Egyptian collection, for example.
The Louvre is well connected- with two metro stations close by (Louvre-Rivoli and Palais Royal-Musee du Louvre).
|Center George Pompidou's appealing exterior facade|
It's around a 1-1.5 km walk from the Louvre
Built in 1889 for L'Exposition Universelle (World Fair), the Eiffel Tower was strongly opposed by the elites and was about to be pulled down. Not it is a symbol for the technological advances of the 19th century.
The Tower can get pretty crowded, some people prefer to get tickets on-line in advance although we waited in the queue. Still, the former is preferable.
Our experience was from the second level- with a nice souvenir shop and crowded viewpoints. The views were lovely- the Seine, the roads along it, the cruises cruising it, the Park below...
Metro station Bir-Hakiem is close by. There is also a bus station close by. For great views get down at Trocadero metro station (some of the best views are from Trocadero).
It is one of the most visited buildings in Paris- so queues may persist. But it's rewarding as the interior is pretty beautiful (lovely stained glass).
|Jardin Luxembourg and the Palais Luxembourg|
Bastille is home to the Opéra Bastille and Place de la Bastille where the infamous prison once stood.
It's situated on top of the Butte Montmarte with majestic views across Paris. Beware of pickpockets around. Again, it's a busy and touristy place. There is a nice funicular to get you to the top, or else you can walk. Abbess metro station is close by.
|Arc de Triomphe|
This is Paris's premier opera house and is a beautiful building.
Another place is the town of Versailles , home to the famous grand Chậteau de Versailles. It's huge. The gardens are very elegant, even more elegant than the lovely interior, IMO, although both are excellent and worth visiting. Very ornate interior, showing the opulence of the royalty, and very beautiful and lush gardens.
Look here for my favourite hotel: Le Meridien Montparnasse .
From a now deleted post:
Le Meridien Montparnasse
There are many places to eat in Paris, including restaurants and cafes. There are also kiosks, like Pomme de Pain etc. I won't recommend Basanti in Montparnasse, rude service and poor quality of food. For great bakery items, try branches of Pomme de Pain.
Check out Europe's largest flea market, Marche aux Puces de St-Quen in Montmarte near Abbess metro station.
Many designers are located on Av Champs-Elysees and around. In addition, try Blvd St-Germain and Rue St-Honore.
Transport around Paris is easy, use the Metro (€1.60/ticket, a carnet [10 tickets] for around €12). There's also the bus and the RER. http://www.ratp.fr/en/ratp/c_5000/accueil/
To get from the airport- taxis and can also be used.
My Parisian itinerary
DAY 1- I went to the Eifel Tower after my arrival and after I checked-in to my hotel, Le Meridien Montparnasse (http://www.spg.com/). I just took some photoes from the Champs-du-Mars garden and went to the Invalides before walking away to Trocadero.
|View from Eiffel Tower|
DAY 3- I took a bus to Arc de Triamphe. After enjoying the views, I headed on Champs-Elysees to eat and shop. I visited the Sacre-Coeur and the Eiffel Tower in the evening.
DAY 4- I visited the Chateau de Versailles and La Defense.
DAY 5- I visited the Notre-Dame, Pantheon, took a Seine cruise and visited the Jardin du Luxembourg.
DAY 6- Shopped around St-Germain Blvd and visited the Musee du Picasso and roamed around the Marais and Bastille.
Paris has an efficient metro and bus network, and in a city where the atmosphere has to be experienced to be believed, walking is superb.
|A Metro station|
- A Seine cruise (touristy but what the heck?) Great views.
- Walking around Marais (quaint street, nice bakeries...)
Views of Paris
It can hard to decide where to go for good views if you're short on time. My personal favourite is Tour Montparnasse which gives a fairly open viewpoint with breathing room. The first two pictures are from Tour Montparnasse, the third from Arc de Triomphe and the last two from the Eiffel Tower.
Paris is, in general, a safe city but you should be wary of the usual petty crime. There have also been some reports of petty crime from the RER. Although some areas of Montmarte may seem dodgy, they are as safe as anywhere in Paris if you follow normal precautions.
Just one day in Paris? Extremely difficult to shortlist! But you can start off with the Eiffel Tower, go up for some good views, and walk around the park and come to Trocadero district. In the afternoon, go to Arc de Triomphe and walk up for some views. Roam around Av des Champs-Elysees and around. Return to the area around the Eiffel Tower in the evening for a Seine cruise.
Follow the One Day itinerary on the first day. On the second day, visit a museum such as the Louvre and stroll around the area of the respective museum. Later in the afternoon, visit the Notre-Dame and the Jardin Luxembourg and go up Tour Montparnasse later in the evening.
Follow the Two Day Itinerary for the first two days. Make a day trip on the third day, such as to Versailles. When you're back in the evening, go to Montmarte and visit the Sacre-Coeur Basilica and visit the flea market Marche aux Puces de St-Quen.
Four or More Days
You can now visit more areas such as La Defense and Marais and explore deeply in already visited areas.
Remember one of the main source of enjoyment in Paris is just strolling around aimlessly!
No of visits- 2
First visit- Apr 2009