Introduction to Paris
Paris is always a good idea. Or so says Audrey Hepburn's character Sabrina Fairchild in the movie Sabrina. We could go on and on with famous quotes about Paris. How the city sizzles; that it's a young man in his 20s in love with an older woman and how we'll always have it. But to truly get an idea for the French capital, one must go there and go there often. Watching the many classic movies set in the City of Light is to merely look at a painting of an apple. To experience it you need to take a bite, sink your teeth in and soak up the flavours.
And Paris' flavours are intoxicating, so much so that the city is the most popular tourist destination in the world. Travellers day after day are lured with the promise of romantic walks by the river Seine, lazy picnics while overlooking the Eiffel Tower and late lunches that turn into dinners and many wines at the quaint corner brasserie. And yes while these clichés are easily found, Paris is much more than a city of cafes.
Paris has an undeniable je nais se quoi. A chicness. A panache of its own. You can see it in the halls of its great art galleries. Staring back at you from the surprisingly small Mona Lisa at the Louvre. On the cobble stone streets where locals are dressed in their finest but never flashing pret-a-porter, while bakeries buzz with opulent pastries that would make even Marie Antoinette proud.
The list for must-dos in Paris is long. Don't feel like you have to do all of them. Just pick the ones that interest you the most otherwise you'll run yourself ragged. One that few people can resist is of course the Eiffel Tower, the most popular attraction in Paris. Standing at 320 metres high, the famous iron lattice structure is one of the most recognisable structures in the world and offers a fantastic view of Paris during the day and at night.
Another Paris icon is the Arc de Triomphe, located on the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The famous Arch was built in 1836 to honour French soldiers who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. More of France's history can also be seen at the opulent Palace of Versailles. Built by Louie XIV, enjoyed by Louie XV and paid for by Louie XVI, the palace exhibits the kings' lavish tastes with the Hall of Mirrors, Marie Antoinette's bedroom and palace fountains all notable highlights.
With over 200 museums in Paris, it's inevitable to wander into one from time to time. The Louvre is the most popular but if the crowds don't appeal the Musee d‘Orsay nearby or the Picasso Museum in Le Marais may be better suited. History buffs that aren't afraid of the dark should also check out the Catacombs. Join a tour to avoid being spooked and wander the ossuary that holds the remains of over 6 million people.
Culinary travellers who prefer to eat and drink their way through their destinations will find plenty of places to treat their tastebuds. Don't miss feasting on delicate macaroons from Laduree and falafel in le Marais' Jewish area.
For more must-dos in Paris, check out our things to do page and start planning your Paris holiday.