Places to visit in the City of Love
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” ― Ernest Hemingway
First, it is necessary to know that Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, or districts. Each one has a personality of its own, and is great in its own way.
Getting around :
* Velib’ : a bicycle sharing system
* The metro, RER (commuter line) and buses are all connected under the RATP.
You should buy a carnet of 10 tickets.
Good to know
* Every first Sunday of the month national museums are free to the public. A great excuse to get your culture on.
Trocadéro (called « Troca » in Parisian 😉 !)
- Viewpoint of the Eiffel Tower on the opposite bank of the Seine
- If there is one garden you really must visit when you go to the Eiffel Tower, it’s the Trocadéro gardens. Created for the Universal Exposition in 1937, it offers a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower dominating the capital (don’t forget your camera).
Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel)
- The symbol and top monument in Paris, you can buy your ticket online (this is a tourist attraction, I visited La tour Eiffel once, but my grandparents 100% Parisians : never !).
Champ de Mars
- It extends from the École Militaire to the Eiffel Tower. A hotspot for national events, it can be accessed freely.
- In 1670, no foundation existed to homeless veterans who had fought for France. Louis XIV, who was anxious about what would happen to soldiers that have served his numerous campaigns, decided to build the Hôtel Royal des Invalides.
- Today the Hôtel National des Invalides still retains its original function as a hospital and hospice for badly injured and disabled war veterans. It comprises also Le Musée de l’Armée, the tomb of Napoléon 1er and l’Eglise Saint-Louis des Invalides (owned by the Diocese of the French Armed Forces).
Pont Alexandre III
- Just in front of les Invalides, you have the Pont Alexandre III, the most beautiful bridge in the world (I love this place, day or night – Paris by night is just awesome as well).
- It was built in 1726 for Louise-Françoise, daughter of Louis XIV (always this great french king) and Madame de Montespan, the widow of the Duc de Bourbon.
Musée du Louvre
- The world’s largest museum and a historic monument in Paris (with the very famous Mona Lisa).
Jardins des Tuileries
- The famous gardener of King Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre landscaped the gardens in 1664 to give them their current French formal garden style.
Place de la Concorde
- Situated at the end of the Champs-Elysées.
- Originally known for having been an execution site during the French Revolution. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette (among others) were guillotined here.
Avenue des Champs Elysées : the world’s most beautiful avenue
- You can see The Petit Palais (an architectural gem) and the Grand Palais opposite it – built for the Universal Exposition – now : museums. It is lined with restaurants, luxury boutiques (Louis Vuitton, Mont-Blanc, Guerlain, Hermès, Lanvin, Ferrari etc.), flagship stores (Abercrombie, Sephora etc.) and nightclubs.
- It is also the setting each year for major events such as the Bastille Day military parade, the arrival of the Tour de France and the Christmas lights.
- Take a break at Ladurée and enjoy an awesome macaron (best on earth, really). Ladurée Champs Elysées 75, avenue des Champs Elysées.
Arc de Triomphe
- Round off your visit by climbing all the way to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for a spectacular view of Paris !
Village Paris : Montmartre
- Montmartre is a district full of authentic charm, famous for the Sacré-Coeur basilica and a magnificent view of Paris. A short walk from the Sacré Coeur and at the bottom of the hill, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.
Printemps Haussman, Boulevard Haussman
- Big department stores, which illuminate the boulevard Haussmann, this is the centre of « chic » in Paris.
- More than 250 celebrities await: film stars, sporting legends, historical figures. Sculpted, then moulded in wax and resin, made-up and dressed, each figure is more real than the original! Charlie Chaplin, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, Zlatan… are ready to pose for a photo with you!
- Built on the orders of Louis XIV, as a grandiose setting that would embody absolute power in the very heart of Paris.
- Napoleon replaced the statue of the king, dismantled in 1792, with a bronze column made from 1,200 enemy canons.
- The world’s great jewelry brands have turned Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix into a continuous stream of displays filled with sparkling diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
La comédie Française
Timeless Paris : the Historic heart
L’île de la Cité
- Once known as Lutetia (this is the old Paris, l’âge des cathédrales… I love reading books of this time)
- Look at the magnificent facade of Notre Dame, each statue has a story behind it, do you feel the inspiration of Notre-Dame sculptors ?
- Short walk from Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Sainte-Chapelle is a jewel of Gothic art. It was built in the 12th century, upon the order of King Saint-Louis (an other very famous King).
- Stroll along the banks of the Seine and stop at Bertillon : best sorbet ever, worth it.
- From a Royal residence to a Palace of Justice. The Kings of France abandoned the palace at the end of the XIVth century to settle in the Louvre.
- It then took on a judicial role, and part of the palace was converted into prison cells. La Conciergerie became one of the principal places of detention during the Revolution, with the installation of the Revolutionary Court.
- Its most famous prisoner was Marie-Antoinette. During the Restoration, a commemorative chapel was erected on the site of her cell.
- The Pantheon, perched at the top of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, this former church, dedicated to the patron saint of Paris, has housed a necropolis in its crypt, of well-known French figures : Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Alexandre Dumas….
- Les Jardins du Luxembourg, filled with students : as you stroll through the district you will also come across La Sorbonne, les Mines de Paris, le Collège de France, le Lycée Henri IV…
Saint Germain des Près
- Among the luxury boutiques and art galleries that may be found in the area, enjoy a break at one of the terraces of the area’s most iconic café : Le Café de Flore, the meeting place of the artists and intellectuals since the early XXth century.
- One of the oldest streets. Countless restaurants and cafés…
- Very popular with students, the Mouffetard area is even busier at night, especially on Place de la Contrescarpe where it would a sacrilege not to stop for coffee at an outdoor table, overlooking the fountain.