Paris Travel Guide

Paris Overview

Paris is the cultural, economic, artistic, historical and geographic heart of France. The subject of a million travelers’ dreams, a vacation to Paris offers an unparalleled experience in gourmet food and wine adventures, shopping fantasies, beautiful gardens, stylish architecture and the café lifestyle.

Paris is divided in half by the Seine River; on the north you will find the Right Bank and on the south is the Left Bank. The Right Bank has a classic and elegant atmosphere and has traditionally been the realm of nobles and royalty. It is home to the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden and the Champs-Elysées. The Left Bank has historically been the romping grounds of students attending the University of Paris, and to this day a Bohemian, alternative feeling pervades the winding medieval streets along with the lively populace. In the middle of the Seine River are two small islands, and the larger Ile de la Cité was the spot first settled by a pagan tribe called the Parisii over 2,000 years ago. The city of Paris also divided up into twenty arrondissements, or neighborhoods, that spiral outward from the center.

Writers, artists, philosophers, painters, dancers and dreamers have long been drawn to Paris for the creative spirit, avant-garde lifestyle and backdrop dripping with inspiration and beauty. On your trip you will find a wide range of hotels to choose from in every neighborhood, from a picturesque hostel next to Luxembourg Gardens to an epic five-star hotel overlooking Place Vendôme. Paris is a playground, and you are the laughing child.

Things to do in Paris

A library of guide books have been written on what to do in Paris, and you could spend a lifetime sightseeing and exploring the gorgeous views around every corner and soaking in the charm lingering at every café table. Whatever you do in Paris, be sure to schedule in plenty of time to do nothing: to sip an espresso for two hours while reading Sartre, to sit with your lover on a park bench, to get lost and wander the streets of a city meant for wanderers.

With over 400 museums, Paris is perfect for exploring your cultural interests from tapestries to toasters. The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world and a former royal palace; along with the more modern Orsay Museum the Louvre is the most popular museum option, but don’t overlook the smaller Picasso, Rodin, and Dali museums.

Paris itself is a museum; all over the city monuments decorate the sky like jewelry on an elegant woman. As the universal symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower rises above the landscape, joined by the golden dome of Les Invalides and the blanched white top of Sacré-Coeur. Joining the proud domes are the mighty arches, including the Arc de Triomphe that anchors the fancy Champs-Elysées boulevard into place and La Defense, the giant western arch that resides in Paris’ business district.

A wide variety of shopping opportunities and restaurant options abound for travelers of every budget. In the Latin Quarter you can buy cheap tee shirts and used books while grabbing a street snack from a gyro vendor; in the Marais you can peruse priceless antiques and dine in style at a five-star restaurant next to the Place des Vosges. With sizzling nightlife and plenty of free events, Paris is a city that will surely stick in your heart forever- and you may just find yourself returning again and again.

Hotels in Paris

Hotel Saint-Jacques: budget hotel in lively student area

Timhotel Le Louvre: a French budget chain (with hotels all over Paris)

Hotel Langlois: bit further out but excellent price for those on a budget

Hotel du Champ de Mars: close to the Eiffel Tower and rue du Cler street market

Hotel des Grands Ecoles: charming hotel in quieter part of Latin Quarter

Hotel Bretonnerie: on the Right Bank close to the Hotel de Ville (City Hall)

Hotel de l’Abbaye: on Left Bank by Saint-Germain area rich in café culture

Hotel La Tour Maubourg: individually-designed rooms, close to Eiffel Tower

L’Hotel: chi-chi boutique hotel in artsy neighborhood

Hotel de Jeu du Paume: romantic rooms on Ile Saint-Louis in the middle of Paris

Hotel Crillon: deluxe hotel overlooking the Place Concorde

Ritz Hotel: a true palace with exquisite furnishings and balconies with Eiffel Tower view.

Short Term Apartment Rentals in Paris

All-Paris-Apartments: All-Paris-Apartments provide stylish apartments, hotels and bed and breakfasts near various points of interest in the city.

Paris Weather

Paris Travel Resources

Cheap Hotels in Paris – good for finding chic and cheap hotels near the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees

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