The Insider Guide
The City of Lights, the city of lovers – the French capital does not disappoint. No matter how many times you’ve seen pictures of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré-Coeur, they never fail to wow in real life. So here’s how to enjoy the sights and discover the secret gems – a trip down to the Catacombs, anyone?
Allons-y! The Main Attractions
From food and fashion to art and architecture, this is a city that combines tradition with innovation, where you can meander along elegant boulevards, or do what every young Parisian does and hire a bike. Where you can shop for vintage in Les Halles or Porte de Clignancourt, or head to the Marais for designer boutiques, concept stores, street art – and street food. Where you can admire the Impressionists in the Musée d’Orsay on the Rive Gauche, or take a ride to the Bois de Boulogne, where art and the future collide at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. Stroll the cobbled streets of Montmartre and enjoy the risqué past of the Moulin Rouge and its association with Toulouse-Lautrec, or head to the revamped Palais de Tokyo by the Seine for one of the best views of the Paris skyline. Wander down the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe, admiring the elegance of the Grand Palais and enjoying a coffee at a café-trottoir en route, or visit the IM Pei-designed glass pyramid at the Louvre, best enjoyed at sunset. And then there are the French novelists – from Victor Hugo, and his association with Notre Dame, to Camus, Sartre and de Beauvoir and theirs with the Café des Deux Magots. The Panthéon is the resting place for many literary greats, as is the famous Père Lachaise cemetery. To see French history at its most opulent, take a day trip west to the Palais de Versailles – you’ll soon understand why it’s “Vive la République” here. For all these attractions and more, read on.