Style, romance, history, culture and great cuisine – is there anything Paris doesn’t do brilliantly? Paris holidays are the holy grail of getaways for couples, while shoppers, culture vultures and families on their way to Disneyland also throng its famous boulevards. Its excellent transport options mean that getting around the big-hitting Paris attractions like the Arc de Triomphe, Moulin Rouge, Sacré Coeur, Louvre and the Eiffel Tower is a straightforward experience – but there’s also so much more to this beautiful place than its best-known monuments. Paris is a city that rewards the ‘flâneur’ – the idle stroller who takes things as they come.
Travelling at walking pace (or perhaps on one of the city’s rentable ‘Vélib’ bikes), holidays to Paris can meander from the medieval hodgepodge of Le Marais – once the Jewish quarter and home to superb cafés and quirky second-hand boutiques – to the bookstall-lined banks of the Seine, around atmospheric cemeteries where celebrities have been laid to rest and through glittering 19th-century, glass-roofed shopping arcades. There are cool ‘arrondissements’ (districts) waiting to be discovered, canal-side picnic spots, an infinite wealth of astonishing art to see at the city’s acclaimed museums and fine French food at top-notch restaurants – all of which tempt travellers back to Paris again and again.
Parc de la Villette
If the kids need to let off some steam, the wide canal-side walkways and wacky sculptures of the Parc de La Villette will ensure fun days and quiet nights.
La Grande Mosquée
Taking mint tea while listening to twittering birds in the garden of Paris’s huge mosque is a refreshing way to discover another slice of the city’s history.
Shakespeare & Company
Charming, tiny Shakespeare & Company, a renowned English-language bookshop beloved by many literary greats, including Ernest Hemingway and Samuel Beckett, is well worth a visit.