One of the most famous cities in the world, Paris boasts more instantly recognizable landmarks than any other destination and with over 17 million international visitors annually, it is the world’s 3rd most visited city.
The capital of France combines cultural richness, iconic architecture, an abundance of history, glorious food, stylish shopping and a reputation as ‘the city of Art’.
With all it has to offer, you may feel you already know Paris before you go. Certainly there are plenty of bucket list places to see: Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Champs Elyseé, Arc d’Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, Ile de la Cite (home to Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle), Montmarte, Versailles, Sacre Coeur, Pont Neuf (oldest bridge), the list goes on. Equally there are many districts to explore.
The City of Lights is made up of 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods) starting at 1er in the heart of the city and spiraling outwards. The main tourist attractions and most visited are neighbourhoods 1 to 8.
Faced with limited time and such a vast choice, it would be easy to pack your itinerary full of sightseeing – however, I think this would be a mistake. To fully appreciate the wonders of this capital city allow time within your days to get lost in the neighbourhoods. Whether it is a romantic stroll, or taking a turn off a main boulevard to find yourself lost down a cobbled lane, I suggest you schedule time to simply observe and absorb this most chic of cities.
There are very few ‘downsides’ to Paris, but to mention one, it is not known for ‘warm welcomes’. The locals often don’t or won’t speak English and their variety of customer service can be curt and unexpected. That being said a little politeness and an attempt at speaking French will go a long way. Know the basics – Bonjour, Merci, Au Revoir!!!
Don’t expect to fit everything into the one trip – Paris is a city which gets better with each visit and however you decide to fill your days, this much hyped city lives up to its reputation and will leave you wanting more.
Skip queues to get into the Louvre by accessing through underground from the Rue de Rivoli, at number 99, walk down two sets of escalators into a small underground shopping strip. You enter the same part of the Louvre as everyone who waited in the Pyramide line – but you didn’t have to stand there for 2 hours like they did!
WHEN TO GO
This is truly a city for all seasons. It’s down to personal choice. In Spring and Autumn the weather should be mild but can be unpredictable. Pack clothes which can be layered. Summer can be very hot and humid and the number of tourists can lead to lots of queues. Winter is cold but is when the ‘City of Lights’ is most romantic. Enjoy candlelit evenings in cosy bistros and bars and frosty walks along the Seine …
HOW TO GET THERE
Choice of direct flights daily from Dublin and Cork. Shannon also has a direct flight schedule.
Beauvais airport is another option when flying to Paris. The flights can come in cheaper but you are over 2 hours away from Disneyland. You can get to Disney from Beauvais by train and bus but on occasion you may end up travelling to Charles de Gaulle to then get the train to Disneyland.
Before you go check out the Official Paris Tourism Site for information on events on during your visit: https://en.parisinfo.com