The City of Romance

Attractions in Paris are so plentiful it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s our insider’s guide to Paris – the city of lights, from shopping to culture to sights

Paris: more a universe than a city. With its world-class historical sights, enthralling museums and refined shopping, you could easily spend a lifetime exploring the French capital – and many people do.

When it comes to what to do in Paris, however: pick your districts. From the bohemian to the rough-edged to the ultra-chic, neighbourhoods define the city.

Everyone knows the left bank: the Rive Gauche, or southern side of the River Seine. It’s Latin Quarter was the haunt of Sartre and arty types through the ages; this is where you’ll find the Musée D’Orsay and its spectacular Monet collection. Just next door, ritzy Saint Germain houses the city’s most glamorous boutiques and the restaurants keeping Paris’s haute cuisine reputation alive. Further on, neighbourhoods like Montparnasse and Place d’Italie have a thriving cafe culture and modernist architectural glories.

Cross to the right bank and find the Marais, one of the oldest and most atmospheric parts of the city. A favourite of artists and designers, its winding medieval streets are dotted with quirky shops and lively little bars. This side you’ll find classic attractions in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysées, and the Moulin Rouge cabaret. Montmartre, with its postcard-pretty Sacré Coeur church, is well worth exploring.

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Towering Attractions:
Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris’s fairytale Gothic masterpiece, sits on an island in the Seine. Make sure to appreciate its sweet 12th century symmetry and graceful stone supports from the cute Jean XXIII park just behind.

No Paris visit is complete without ascending the Eiffel Tower. This 19th century landmark (originally a temporary World’s Fair exhibit but so cool it was made permanent) offers unparalleled views. Escape the queues by booking a ticket online – family and other discounts are available. Couples, hit the summit champagne bar in the evening: you’ll struggle to find a more romantic spot in Paris.

The Eiffel Tower’s rival is the Arc de Triomphe, commemorating Napoleon’s greatest victory. From ground level, admire the detailed friezes mimicking Roman victory scenes, then climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe to see the 12 great avenues of Paris segmenting the city.

Discover even more about the best attractions in Paris here.

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