Anyone who’s ever dreamed of running away to Paris – perhaps to be a struggling artist, perhaps for love – knows what a special city it is. Nowhere burns brighter in the imagination than the City of Light.
The city of Les Mis and Monet, Napoleon and Rodin, Paris has always attracted artists and dreamers. It’s still one of the world’s most-visited places. Crowds clamour for a glimpse of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, couples cuddle up on bateau mouche tours of the Seine, and fashionistas channel Chanel as they swan around La Fondation Louis Vuitton. But even a huge number of visitors could never spoil Paris. From the serene Canal Saint Martin to Bagatelle Park, there are plenty of hidden corners for your next vacation. Book flights to Paris and prepare to fall in love all over again.
Discovering Disneyland® Paris
Discover a pocket of magic just east of Paris. Disneyland® Paris has two fantastic parks to explore, plus the shops and restaurants at Disney Village® for afters. It’s less than 15 minutes from Charles De Gaulle airport by TGV (high speed train) or less than an hour’s drive out of the city – by car or shuttle.
You can pinpoint the exact centre of Paris. It’s called ‘Kilometre Zero’ and it’s right in front of Notre Dame, the city’s 750-year old gothic cathedral. The city’s 20 ‘arondissments’, or areas, fan out from here in numerical order. Unsurprisingly, some big sights are in the First Arondissment: including the Louvre, which occupies an enormous building behind the Tuileries. This area feels like one of Paris’s grandest addresses, thanks especially to broad boulevards lined with smart, Haussmann-style buildings. Stay at the Little Palace, a boutique hotel on a leafy square on the edge of the 3rd arrondissement.
Champs-Élysées is the most famous street in Paris. Prime real estate, the road is lined with fancy hotels, chain stores, high-end brands and late-night venues – look out for the Louis Vuitton flagship by day and the Lido de Paris by night. It’s a broad avenue that’s always busy and it runs from Place de Concord, through a smart park, and then past a multitude of chain shops all the way up to the Arc de Triomph. This enormous arch honours war heroes, and you can climb it for views of Paris day or night. Want to stay here? The luxurious Four Seasons George V hotel is one of the most famous hotels in the area.
Once upon a time, Montmartre was a rural hill beyond the bounds of the city. Later it became an inexpensive quarter where artists like Modigliani, Mondrian, Degas and Van Gogh could have their studios. Now the area is trendy, with many people coming to climb the steep hill up to Sacre Coeur, Paris’s best-placed church, then mooching around the little shops in the cobbled side streets or visiting the small museum dedicated to Salvador Dalí. At the bottom of the hill, near Pigalle, the Moulin Rouge hosts can-can cabaret shows, which certainly keep things interesting.
To visit the Eiffel Tower, you need to cross over the river. Traditionally, the Left Bank of the Seine was the artistic side of Paris. It’s still the place to come for some of the city’s best art museums: Musée d'Orsay, Musée Rodin and Musée National du Moyen Âge are all in the area. Montparnasse, with its enormous tower, has one of the best views of Paris from its observation deck, whilst the Jardin de Luxembourg, and the little streets around it, are some of the best places to wander. The people who love this area really love it. If you want to stay here, try the cosy Hotel Baume on the Left Bank. Plaza Tour Eiffel is actually on the other side of the river, but this convenient hotel looks right out over the famous ‘Iron Lady’ herself.
Hipsters, make a beeline here. Les Marais, once encompassing Paris’s Jewish quarter, is a great place for falafel and boutique-ey shops, whilst the Canal Saint Martin has a lovely, relaxed waterside café culture. The winding Marais streets eventually break out into Bastille: a huge square where the city’s modern opera sits. Paris has a few cemeteries and catacombs, but one – Père Lachaise Cemetery – gets the most visitors of any cemetery in the world. Many of its tombs only need one-word introductions: Balzac, Wilde, Colette and Proust are all buried here.