Paris is the most visited city in the world. Visitors come from far and wide to experience the romance of the 'City of Light.'
The Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge, and the Sacre Coeue are just a few of the things in Paris that make you say 'ooh la la'. The captivating skyline, decadent cuisine and effortless style of this invincible city have been attracting visitors for decades. For good reason, as Paris is one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in the world.
Paris is in the North of France situated in the Île-de-France region. Ringed by forests, and crisscrossed by rivers like the infamous Seine. Paris is divided into districts known as arrondissements. Each one sets a different tone that sums up the vibe of the city. Montmartre is bursting with hidden gems and is a postcard representation of Parisian glamour. There's also Le Marais, or SoMa, filled with trendy boutiques and galleries. Then there is the Latin Quarter. A nature and literature lovers paradise with great historical importance.
The surrounding countries of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium have greatly influenced French cooking over the centuries. The gastronomy in Paris has consequently gone on to influence chefs and food enthusiasts around the world. Sampling provincial French cuisine is one of the best parts of Paris. From tasting delicate pastries, intricately brewed coffee, to traditional French baguettes. Of course, don't forget to try the smorgasbord of tasty cheese! Lunch is a sacred affair in Paris, and people take their time over it. Many establishments close for a good long lunch.
Paris is known worldwide as the city of romance, and the fashion, art, food and architecture giant is at the centre of French culture. The very word 'Culture' derives from the French language and was practically born here. Parisians take great pride in their life in the city. Their attitudes are a sheer reflection of the love for their home. Art is also a quintessential part of Paris. Museums and galleries practically make up the foundations of the city. Many celebrated artists were born or moved to Paris to thrive in their careers.
Shopping in Paris
Parisians are famous for their sense of style, cherishing simplicity and elegance. Shopping in Paris is a fashionista's dream. Of course, it's not all about the high fashion brands of Chanel and Dior. Visiting Paris is also an opportunity to scour some antique treasures at the cities many flea markets.
Know Before You Go
Pack a comfy pair of walking shoes, as Paris is best seen on foot. Discover the city at your own pace by wandering through the opulent streets. Packed full of patisseries, decorative architecture and hidden gems you'll never find in the guide books. The Paris Metro is the best way to get around the outskirts of the city, and it's charming art nouveau design is a spectacle alone. It's cheaper to buy a 'carnet' of tickets, which is a stack of tickets at a discount rather than singles.
The polite way to ponder Paris is to learn some French. Researching a little about the customs and culture of French people will be much appreciated by the locals, and save you a headache. Even if people can speak English, they prefer not to. And every conversation should always begin with a 'bonjour'.
Going local is the most rewarding way to discover the best and freshest produce in the city. Avoid the large chain stores and shop in the numerous patisseries and boulangeries. A trick is to spot the words ‘Artisan Boulanger’ on the window, meaning everything is made fresh inside daily.
Keep your eyes on the prize in Paris, with one hand on your croissant and the other on your handbag. Scams are common in the city so be on the alert and try to not stick out as the obvious tourist.
Best Time To Visit Paris
August is vacation time in Paris, so a lot of businesses close down and the residents jet off on their holidays. It can be a great time to be there in a quieter period and use the opportunity to scout out a great restaurant or boutique that's still open.
The most ideal times to visit Paris is in the shoulder seasons. Spring (April to June) and Autumn (October to early November) have great weather. They also beat the crowds of the peak summer season. Spring is also arguably the prettiest season in Paris when the city is framed by blooming cherry blossoms and colourful flora.
Winter is much cheaper for accommodations and services, and what could be more magical than spending time around Christmas in Paris.
If you're a museum buff and don't mind a crowd, visit on the first Sunday of the month and they're free.
What To Expect
Planning your dream trip to Paris? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Currency - The official currency in Paris is the Euro
Language - The official language is French. For everyday scenarios like hailing a cab, ordering at a restaurant and shopping, try to learn a few words in French and the locals will appreciate the effort.
ATMs - ATM's are common in the city and you'll get a better exchange rate in Paris withdrawing money direct. Avoid any machines with the 'Euronet' logo as these machines charge hidden fees.
Plugs & Sockets - Paris uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type E plug with 2 round pins and a hole for the earth clip. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - France is considered safe to travel. Paris, in particular, has developed an ongoing problem with pickpocketing and various tourist scams. Always take care of your belongings.
Climate - Paris is in the northern half of France. It sees a temperate climate with influence from the Atlantic ocean. Summer temperatures climb to the high 20s and stay mild throughout the year. Though not freezing, winters can get quite chilly. Though they provide the perfect opportunity to flaunt those stylish Parisian layers.