A city full of surprise and romance

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.

All resorts in Paris

Exploring Paris

Three tips for a top trip

Take the Métro

Getting around on Paris’s Métro system and navigating its interchanges is much easier if you know which colour line you’re looking for, so plan where you want to get to ahead of time.

Head for the markets

For unparalleled atmosphere and affordable shopping, Paris’s markets are a delight. Most neighbourhoods have their own, while the big-name flea and food markets are a must-do.

Revel in the parks

If sightseeing takes its toll, pause in one of Paris’s many public parks, such as the pretty Buttes-Chaumont or the lake-filled Bois du Boulogne – they are real oases of calm.

Best attractions to see in Paris

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.

Your Paris questions, answered

If you want to take home something authentically Parisian, you can’t go wrong with a box of rainbow-hued ‘macarons’ – the famously sweet cakes are both pretty and delicious.
The city is warmest in August. The rest of the year the weather can be changeable, so come prepared for showers and wrap up warm in winter.
Rain or shine, Paris always offers something to pass the time. If you’re looking to explore the city’s outdoor markets or go punting on one of the many lakes, the summer months are typically the best as temperatures often reach averages of 25℃. However, if you plan to spend your time in Paris inside the countless luxury shops and cafes, it’s worth visiting any time of the year, though spring, when average temperatures reach around 12℃, is perhaps the best time to holiday.
In Paris, restaurants and cafes typically include a service charge with the bill, so tipping is discretionary. If you do wish to tip, anything between five to 10 per cent is considered the standard. Tour guides and taxi drivers often don’t expect a tip but, if they do go out of their way to help, such a small tip is customary. However, for hotel porters and concierges, tipping is standard.
It certainly can be if you’re going for the top restaurants and designer boutiques, but inexpensive local cafés and affordable transport make a budget break very achievable.
Which district to stay in depends on what you want from your trip to Paris and your budget. Montmartre is the perfect destination for that true Parisian feeling because of the area’s traditional cafes and charming buildings. The neighbourhood of Pigalle, with its countless bars and restaurants, makes a great option to enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife. Searching for somewhere more laid-back? Canal Saint-Martin, with its quaint restaurants and charming canalside walks, makes the ideal spot.
How long you spend in Paris is entirely up to you. If you’re short on time, then a long weekend will allow you to see most of the city’s key landmarks, as well as leaving enough time to indulge in some French cuisine. However, if time isn’t an issue, then a week is recommended. This gives enough time to explore most of the city’s historical and cultural sites while providing plenty of opportunities to visit a mix of the city’s restaurants and bars.
Paris is famous for several foods, including the classic French baguette known across the world. Croissants, a much-loved buttery and flaky pastry, are also popular in Paris and are often enjoyed alongside coffee in the city’s cafes. Escargots – snails – are beloved in Paris. Many restaurants offer their own particular take on the dish, though the classic recipe involving stuffing the shells with butter, garlic and herbs is still the most popular.
Paris is a very family-friendly destination. The city has plenty of famous sites, including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, that kids will love seeing in real life. There are countless parks around the city to enjoy too, such as Luxembourg Gardens. Here, kids are spoilt for choice with activities including pony rides and a large playground, while the park also has the city’s oldest carousel ride. Disneyland Paris, a 45-minute drive, makes the perfect day out and is sure to leave the whole family with many happy memories.