THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
WELCOME TO OUR "THINGS TO DO" AND "WHERE TO STAY" PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE
Looking for things to do in Paris? Wondering about where to stay or possibly where to eat? - Our new style travel guide is here to help, with everything you might require for your holiday or short break.
BOOKMARK OUR WEBSITE TODAY - after arriving in the city, mobile access to our home page should ensure that getting around (and not getting lost!) will be that much easier. Our Downloadable Metro Paris map & Public transport/airport transfer guide will also prove invaluable.
Enjoy a "cyber" tour using our Paris map and Google Street view facility- you can use this feature to check out and locate all of the major tourist landmarks, parks and other free things to do in Paris - just click onto any of the highlighted links within the text of our home page and go for a virtual wander - our google Paris map feature will also allow you to find pick up points and locations of the many featured commercial tours and attractions that the city has to offer
From budget flights to accommodation and from tours and attractions to museums and nightclubs, our Paris travel guide aims to highlight the essentials for all holidays in Paris. The visitor will also have the opportunity to explore more deeply into what this magnificent place has to offer and thereby gain the ability to frame his trip accordingly - A word of advice - Paris requires a degree of pre-planning for you to fully appreciate the things to do and see, but always allow plenty of time and space to just walk, lie in the park, and pass the time away at some pretty cafe street table - do this, and the real Paris will emerge and welcome you.
This city really has it all, but therein lies the problem, where does one begin? - This is what our new style Paris travel guide is all about. The iconic "Things to do in Paris" and "Things to see in Paris" are legend but - Where are they? How do you get there? Our Paris travel guide aims to clarify. Our useful Paris map feature will point the way and the excellent Paris public transport system (the metro is almost all you need here) will take you on to the real deal.
Our PARIS ABC - Amazing, Beautiful and totally inComparable!
PARIS TRAVEL GUIDE - AN OVERVIEW
What to do in Paris - The famous Parisian Landmarks
The city is full of wonderfully iconic landmarks - visitors are spoilt in their choice of the many fabulous things to see and things to do in Paris - Our Paris travel guide aims to point the visitor in the right direction. Our zoomable Paris map feature and our Google street view feature will locate and show some of the most famous and beautiful spots in the city. Our Paris travel guide cannot cover all of the magnificent places to see in Paris or things to do in Paris, but the following should be considered top of the list for every visitor.
So many things to do in Paris, and things to see, but where to start? - A good question, but how about just starting at the top - the top of the Eiffel Tower that is.
The Engineer Gustave Eiffel`s amazing masterpiece looks as impressive in its scale, and its technological and aesthetic brilliance, as it did on the day it was completed in 1889. Standing beneath the tower, one gets a real feel for the massive size of the structure, and the view from above - guess what?!!........ Like many of the most popular Paris attractions it pays to get here early or late ( it is open from 9 am - 12.45 at night in high season which is June 15th - Sep 1st). Access to the lower, mid and top sections of the tower ( there are restaurants in the lower and middle sections) should cost you anything between 4 Eu and 11 Eu. dependant on whether you want to walk to the lower/mid sections only, or take the elevator to the top ( children are half price).
Clear views of the Eiffel tower are available from several vantage points in the city but perhaps the most iconic and best known view, is from the top of the steps at the Trocadero and should be experienced both by day and by night.
The Champs-Elysees is a broad, long Avenue (and top shopping venue) stretching more than a mile from the Place de la Concorde in the East and culminating at the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. Napolean`s tribute to the Republics military prowess, is accessible via underground passage beneath the roundabout on which the Arc stands sentinel. Access to the Arc costs about 9 Euros ( children go free). Watching from the top of the Arc as the Paris traffic negotiates the approximately 4-laned and infamous roundabout (all traffic accidents are reputed to be uninsurable here) is pure entertainment in its own right.
The cathedral of Notre Dame is set on a small island - "Ile de la Cite" and is accessed via either of two bridges across the divided river Seine. This magnificent example of Gothic architecture and previous home to the legendary, unfortunate and eponymous "hunchback" is open to the public. The cathedral is handily situated for further exploration of this section of Paris including the adjacent, attractive and wealthy Sorbonne university area complete with its lively student population and impressively attractive buildings.
The famous New York Landmark "The Statue of Liberty" by the Sculptor Bartholdi, was a gift from France to the infant U.S.A. in 1874 to celebrate victory in the war of independence and was modelled on not one, but reputedly two originals - one of these can be see by the Grenelle Bridge near the River Seine and the other is very quietly situated in the beautiful Parc du Luxembourg ( You might have some fun trying to find it here - don't cheat and ask!)
Included amongst the other "must do" things to see in Paris are the Louvre building (the museum details are available elsewhere on our site) with its iconic "pyramid" pavement architecture, The impressive and ancient (more than 3000 years old) Obelisk of Luxor (standing in the biggest square in Paris - the Place de la Concorde) , the Hotel National des Invalides (military hospital and home of Napoleons tomb), the Pompidou Centre (Giant futuristic arts centre), the Opera national de Paris (sumptuous interior and the home of the famous "Phantom"), The Pantheon and the Vendome column (constructed from the melted down bronze canons captured at Austerlitz - possibly Napoleons most famous battlefield victory)
Many of these wonderful structures are spectacularly lit at night including the superb architecture of the Hotel de Ville - but please don't enquire about room rates here, as my friend did to his lasting embarrassment - these days it is used as a council administration building only.
What to do in Paris - Montmartre
The area of Montmartre is of course set in the heart of Paris, so why does it receive special attention on our page. The truth is that exploring Montmartre is undoubtably one of the best things to do in Paris. The area has the feel of a separate town even though it is indivisible from the city. The streets are narrow here, unlike much of Paris, and all are coiled serpent like, around a true Paris rarity - a large and rather steep hill. The pretty café, restaurant and shop lined streets and linking stairways of Montmartre, lead inexorably to the top, and there you will find the magnificent white washed church - the Basilica de Sacre Couer. The panoramic views from this vantage point are excellent, both by day and by night, and it acts like a magnet for all tourists. You will find however, that there is always a seat on the church steps for the visitor. You will also find, that no matter how busy the vantage point gets, it is never claustrophobic, probably because of the expansive and tremendous view beyond.
The famous artist square adjacent the church (haunt and home to Dali, Latrec, Van Gogh and Matisse amongst others) has a special atmosphere all of its own and here, set amongst the travelling artists and their easels, you can eat at surprisingly reasonable cost in one of the several canopied restaurants. Whilst here you can check out the many little souvenir shops and possibly commission a portrait of yourself or your partner whilst enjoying a cold beer and a spot of people watching.
Surrounding the base of Montmartre hill are some of the most vibrant and interesting areas of Paris. From the Moulin Rouge theatre adjacent to the "red light" area of the Pigalle and moving through the African quarter centred on the Chateau Rouge metro station - you will find speciality ethnic street market and shops popular with locals and visitors alike. Circumnavigate Montmartre if you wish and you will experience much of the real "street" Paris in all its diversity and colour.
The heights of Montmartre are accessible by the Funicular railway for the elderly, infirm and those short of time - nobody else should miss out on the opportunity to walk and explore in this area - Undoubtably one of the top things to do in Paris!
The Parks of Paris
The parks of Paris perform an invaluable function as respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Some large parks like the famous Boi de Boulogne and the Boi de Vincennes ( also incorporating the very popular and beautiful Parc d` floral - this park charges a small fee to enter) lie outwith the reach of the city centre metro system and require the suburban RER train service to reach them - but all of the following mentioned parks are easily located with our Paris map feature and accessible.
A favourite Paris park, and one of the great formal parks of the world is undoubtably the Parc du Luxembourg. Previously mentioned on this page, this beautiful park comprises both lightly wooded shaded areas and wide open spaces with sporting facilities ( tennis etc) and safe and secure children`s play areas. There are many benches and seats scattered throughout, and also a few areas where you can just lie on the grass. Chess is a popular outdoor game here and many high quality chess matches are played out in front of groups of local aficionados and interested tourists, the areas adjacent to the Park are also well served by some decent cafes and restaurants.
The Parc des Buttes- Chaumont is another personal favourite, if not so well known amongst visitors to the city. It is much less formal than many of the city centre parks and has a very natural and relaxed feel to it as you walk around. It is also a great place to lie on the grass, have lunch and maybe read your book. Possibly one of the most attractive parks in Paris ( It boasts features such as a 100 ft high bridge and a waterfall) this park has a meandering lake where children can feed the ducks - you should also look out for the large carp that lurk and swim within its shadier areas. The park boasts a steep little hill with a folly (The "Sybille temple" ) at its peak, which offers an excellent and rare high level view of the city, and in particular the hill at Montrematre with the Basilica de Sacre Couer on top.
Like the Parc des Buttes- Chaumont, the Parc Monceau is a particularly romantic spot to while away the time but the visitor will find rest for their sore feet at the many local green oasis, including the following:- the Jardin des Plantes (home of an important botanical garden and the natural history museum), the Jardin des Tuileries ( situated between the Louvre and the Place de la Concord), the Jardin des Champs-Elysees, the Jardin du Trocadero ( a large park set around the famous Trocadero fountain), The Parc Andre Citroen ( a modern parc with many interesting features), the Champ de Mars (adjacent the Eiffel tower) and the smaller gardens of Square du vert - Galant (near Pont Neuf) and the Square Louis X111 at the centre of the famous Place des Vosges.
Beyond the city - The Palace of Versailles and Monet`s Gardens at Giverny
Lets imagine that you have been in the city for a couple of days (or have been before) and are beginning to get the hang of the public transport system - how about a little adventure? The two major attractions near Paris, and both within 45 minutes travel time, are the Palace of Versailles and Monet`s gardens at Giverny - if you have time these are supremely worth the visit - you could go on an organised tour of course, but if fit and confident why not just try a little DIY- It will add to the fun and save on a few Euros.
The truly magnificent Palace of Versaille was home to the French kings and their court from the time of Louis X1V until Louis XV1. During this period many sumptuous additions were made to the palace and grounds, including the fabulous hall of mirrors and the famous garden fountains. No description can truly do this place justice - it really has to be seen to be believed. Everybody knows the ultimately tragic story of Louis X1 (and his wife Marie Antoinnete) at the hands of Madame la Guillotine, but access to the palace gives an amazing insight into everyday day life for the king and his queen, before the revolution took hold.
To get to Versaille you need to seek out a metro station that houses both metro lines (coloured and numbered 1-14) and RER suburban trains (coloured and lettered A- E) - one such station ( amongst others) is at St Michel / Notre Dame. Buy your tickets from the clerk ( a return ticket is called an "Aller retour") with you destination being the station at "Versailles - Gauche". After getting your tickets you will have to find the platform serving the yellow RER "C" line. Once on the train, the trip will take about 30 - 40 minutes. The Versailles - Gauche station is the last stop on the line. It is a short 5 minute walk from the station to the Palace. Tickets or "passports" for access to all areas at the palace will cost about 25 - 30 Euros with children (to age 17) charged about a third of this price. These can be pre-purchased online or at the palace itself.
Monet`s gardens at Giverny can be accessed via a mainline train from the Gare St Lazare station to the town of Rouen and it will take about 45 minutes to get there. Asking the ticket clerk for tickets to " le Jardin de Monet a` Rouen" should assure that you are on your way to the right place. After getting off at Rouen station you will find that the gardens are about a 4 mile taxi, hired cycle, walk or bus trip away. The beautiful Gardens and water features were the inspiration for many of Monet`s most famous paintings. They have been maintained as a tribute to the great man and also as a means of allowing public access to the painters vision and life story. The gardens are closed between Nov 1st and March 31st and tickets cost in the region of 6 Euros with discounts for children.
Beyond the city - Paris to Disneyland by train or tour operator
A very popular day trip for the young and young at heart. Like the excursions out of the city by train to Giverny and Versaille (see above) this attraction is easily accessed by RER train or via our designated tour operator. For full information on how to get there, Disneyland Paris day ticket purchase and other relevant information please visit our page at Disneyland
A couple of Travel tips
Paris is probably as safe as any other very large city in the world to walk around and surprisingly safer than many ( the city centre is particularly well policed - check out the Gendarmes on roller skates!) but as usual, common sense should be exercised. The city has its fair share of poverty, and wealthy tourists (as we all are relatively) should possibly avoid wandering around in 1s or 2s in some of the poorer areas of the city at night.
I have found that most of the local people involved in the tourist industry speak excellent English here, and will quickly assert this in the face of our typically lousy broken French, but a little respect still goes down well (even if not obviously appreciated) and the effort is always worthwhile - even just to get the practise in.
Enjoy your holiday - you will soon appreciate that all visitors to Paris are truly fortunate people........