Paris | The City Guide
City of Lights. The most beautiful avenue of the world, the cabarets and the croissants... a city and its image recognised around the world! Paris reveals its numerous faces through to its different neighborhoods. Chic and luxurious toward the west, Bohemian and pop toward the east, Paris is also an incredible crossroads of cultures and arts, a historical hub influencing many authors, painters and other artists. Here is a list of essential places to visit in Paris for a short stay, and more if you’re planning for longer. Ready ? Let’s go!
Great hostels can be found around the place, pricing between 18-40 € depending on the season. Wherever you find yourself, it’s very easy and quick to reach the center of Paris by metro, or RER for those who opt for a hotel or AirBnB on the outskirts of the capital. So many good choices available and varying according to the season that I prefer to leave you masters of your decisions!
** TIPS **
Museums in Paris are free on the first Sunday of each month. Moreover, each museum or monument offers free entry according to the time of week, or age (usually for those under 25/26 years of age, European or otherwise). Visit the sites for more information.
**City Sightseeing Bus** :
We highly recommend City Sightseeing Bus because we think it's a good way to have a general view of the city before (or even after) you explore it. It offers a tour around the city and its main monument giving few historical information that is always good to know, even for experimented backpacker. It's also a good way to take picture or make videos from a different view. You can get your City Sightseeing Bus right HERE !
Eiffel Tower/Trocadéro - Arc de Triomphe/Champs-Elysées/Concorde - Tuileries/ Musée du Louvre - Musée d'Orsay.
Let's start with the basics! You can reach the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower by elevator, or by taking the stairs for the sporty. To get to the 3rd floor, you will have to take a smaller lift to reach the top. Opposite from it, the Trocadero offers a complete view of the tower, the Champ de Mars and the Military school behind. Along Victor Hugo avenue you arrive directly at the Arc de Triomphe through which you can reach by an underpass. On the Champs Elysées you will find all of the restaurants, bistros and cafes that you may need. There's something for everyone here, enjoy a meal and have a little shopping session if you feel like it. Once you reach the Place Concorde, you will have on your left the building of the Automobile Club de France, and the National Assembly on your right. Opposite is the Jardin des Tuileries which leads to the Louvre, Paris’ world-renowned museum where the Mona Lisa of Da Vinci is exhibited. The Musée d'Orsay offers the largest collection of impressionist work, featuring that of Van Gogh, Monet or Renoir. At the end of the evening, I suggest to explore the Champs Elysées by night, which will give a very different atmosphere through its lighting. Note that the Eiffel Tower sparkles at midnight for about ten minutes, you can view it from near and far to your heart’s content. The Pont Alexandre III and the Trocadero both offer a great view.
Rivoli, Châtelet/Beaubourg - City Hall - Marais - Bastille - Saint Germain des Prés/ Latin Quarter - Notre-Dame/île de la Cité and île Saint Louis.
Rivoli street and the Châtelet district offer shops of all varieties: sports, street, gothic, afro, accessories and fashion and a brand new shopping center. Also, dozens of restaurants, bars, cafes, fastfood joints of all kinds. The Pompidou Center (Beaubourg) offers superb exhibitions of modern and contemporary art as well as a view over the rooftops of Paris. Not far from there are the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, the marais hood and its typical little streets with many lodges, as well as the Bastille area which I recommend especially at night for its bars. Make a detour by île Saint-Louis and île de la Cité on which the Notre-Dame de Paris is located, to which entrance is free, except for the towers where the price is 10 € for those under 26 years of age. Passing through the Latin Quarter, a crepe in hand, you will come across the Pantheon, an architectural marvel where you’ll find the great names of French history such as Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Zola, Pierre And Marie Curie...
Opéra/Grands Magasins - Grand Boulevard/Passages - Place Clichy/Moulin Rouge - Montmartre/Sacré-Cœur.
In the northern center of Paris, you can admire the magnificent Opera building. A few blocks away, the department stores of Galeries Lafayette, which are always beautifully decorated and animated for the Christmas holidays. On the Grand Boulevard you will find the Musée Grévin and the Passages, the small covered shopping streets where you’ll find authentic shops and small restaurants. North of Paris, Montmartre and the Sacré Coeur is a step not to be missed with its narrow streets paved like a labyrinth. Here are also shops, coffee shops and typical bistros (like the coffee of the two mills from the film Amélie Poulain) and many artists to draw your portrait! Moulin Rouge is one of the most famous cabarets in Paris. Book your spot on their website to attend a unique show dinner.
And much more ! Parc du Luxembourg - Montparnasse Tower - Catacombs - Republique / Canal St Martin - Oberkampf - Belleville - Père Lachaise Cemetery
Obviously, Paris requires much more than 3 days for you to see everything. If you’d like to spend some more time, here are the places to add to your list. Passing through the Luxembourg Park, you can reach the Montparnasse Tower which will allow you to enjoy another view of Paris, facing the Eiffel Tower. Near the Denfert-Rochereau station is the entrance to the catacombs which will give you spine-tingling excitement several meters underground ! The district of République and Canal St Martin are places where it is good to stroll when the fine days arrive just like Oberkampf and Belleville which are popular and lively residential areas. A few meters away is the famous Père Lachaise cemetery where you can see the tombs of Balzac, Oscar Wilde, Molière, De La Fontaine, Marcel Proust and Jim Morrison.
Tours are organized for the Château de Versailles, but you can also get there by the RER C. This will offer you access to the park. On the opposite side in Maincy, the castle Vaux le vicomte was built for Nicolas Fouquet, the superintendent of finance of Louis XIV. Take the line P (directions Provins) to Gare de l'Est, and then the Châteaubus to the castle. (1H of journey). Visit their websites for more information. An hour away from Paris by train, you can spend a day at DisneyLand Paris as well. I needn’t tell you more about that here, just visit their website. ;)
Paris is a sumptuous capital, not too gigantic all-in-all, but nonetheless a wonderful place in which there is so much to do. Lose yourself and explore the city, the metro will make it easy for you to get to and from one end to the other very quickly. There is Paris chic, pop Paris, festive Paris and romantic Paris. Paris for breakfast, Paris for dinner, Paris in the Summertime or Paris in the snow, basically at any time of the year... Paris is always a good idea. ;)