Nicknamed the ‘City of Light’, Paris is an elegant and time-honoured city with a rich cultural history and classic spirit. Everything about the capital oozes elegance, from its world-famous landmarks and rich art history, to its fine dining and luxury fashion. Discover iconic artefacts at the Musée du Louvre, enjoy a picnic lunch at Luxembourg Gardens, or fall in love while looking out over the city’s moonlit landscape on top of the Eiffel Tower.
There are a few attractions in Paris that are must-sees, and the Eiffel Tower is at the top of the list. Standing at 324-metres high, this iconic building offers stunning daytime and evening views of the city. If you’ve got the stamina, you can walk up the 674 steps to the summit, or there are glass lifts to each of the three floors, which give you incredible bird’s eye views. When you reach the top, raise a toast to your holiday with a glass of bubbly in the champagne bar. If you do want to visit the Eiffel Tower on your Paris city break, we recommend you pre-book your tickets to avoid lengthy queues. Take a romantic stroll at night to the tower and see it lit-up with golden lights, which sparkle for five minutes every hour, on the hour.
As the hometown of the likes of Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh, it’s no surprise that Paris is home to some of the most famous masterpieces in the world. One of the most popular museums in Paris is the Musée du Louvre, the largest museum in the world. Spend a day exploring over 35,000 treasures that include the renowned Mona Lisa painting and the graceful Venus de Milo statue. Visit the Musée d’Orsay on the banks of the River Seine to appreciate works of art by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh. You’ll find Monet’s eight water lily paintings displayed in the Musee de L’Orangerie in giant tapestry-size format. The Centre Pompidou with its contemporary inside-out architecture, and the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Europe’s oldest science museum, are also well worth your time.
Enjoy elegantly manicured lawns, colourful flowerbeds and chestnut groves at Luxembourg Gardens. One of the best places in Paris to relax, this former royal garden is best visited during the summer when you can make the most of a lazy picnic lunch while soaking up the sun in a magnificent setting. The gardens are split into two sections, French and English, with a forest and large pond separating them. Learn about beekeeping, take a wander to look for the 106 statues throughout the beautiful grounds or join the locals for a game of chess. You may find you’re accompanied by music from live bands playing in the bandstand over the summer months.
From luxury boutiques, antique markets to gourmet food stalls, there are a variety of places to shop in Paris. For the best in luxury fashion, head to the Avenue Montaigne or Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where the window displays are just as magnificent as the merchandise. If you’re a bargain hunter, you’ll love the flea markets at Porte de Montreuil where you can find all sorts of vintage goods from clothes to old toys. Brocante des Abbesses on Montmartre Hill is a great place for picking up postcards and jewellery by local designers. You could easily lose hours in Paris’ grand department stores. Printemps and Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann, and Place de la Madeleine offer a labyrinth of fashion, food and home goods.
There isn’t a better time to try a plate of buttery snails than on your city break in Paris. This classic French appetiser is best enjoyed with a glass of dry white wine. If you haven’t got the stomach for snails, head to one of the city’s many cosy bistros for traditional veal liver, beef Bourgignon or poule au pot, poached chicken with stuffing, which was a favourite of King Henri IV. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be in heaven as most of the world’s finest patisseries and chocolatiers based in Saint-Germain. Make sure you try a classic Paris-Brest, a wheel-shaped choux pastry shell with praline buttercream. Crêpe stands are everywhere in Paris; it’d be rude not to have one of these delicious snacks with your choice of filling. Experience the city’s café culture and sit outside with a glass of French wine and watch the world go by.