Where to go
Things to do in Paris
The City of Lights needs no introduction. For centuries it’s charmed visitors and inspired the work of some of the world’s most acclaimed writers and artists, from Victor Hugo to Vincent van Gogh. Iconic monuments, world-class museums, elegant boulevards and stylish locals are all part of its charm. So where to begin in this impressive city? From the soaring Eiffel Tower to the boldly modern Centre Pompidou and sculpted Arc de Triomphe, we show you the best the city has to offer. And let’s not forget its glorious gastronomy – from delicate pastries to the humble baguette, and creamy cheeses accompanied by earthy local wines. Discover it all and let this famous city cast its spell on you. Top six things to do in Paris 1. Head to the top of the Eiffel Tower Constructed by Gustave Eiffel for the 1889 World’s Fair, it’s hard to believe this iconic tower was ever intended to be temporary. Saved by its potential use as a radio antenna, it’s since become one of Paris’ most enduring symbols. Head to the third floor for city views – they get especially romantic at night. 2. Admire masterpieces at the Louvre Museum There’s more to the Louvre than its gleaming glass pyramid and da Vinci’s mysterious Mona Lisa. Home to more than 10,000 works, its collection spans from Egyptian antiques to Dutch masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. Highlights include the ancient Winged Victory of Samothrace and Venus de Milo. 3. See the iconic Arc de Triomphe Begun in 1806 in honour of Napoléon’s recent victory at Austerlitz, it was another 20 years before his monumental arch was finally complete. Highlights include intricate sculptures such as Départ des Volontaires de 1792 – which translates as Departure of the Volunteers of 1792. You can also climb the 284 steps for sweeping views. 4. Visit Musee Rodin Get to know famed sculptor Auguste Rodin in the 18th-century mansion he used to call home. While many of his works are in the mansion itself, his most famous sculptures can be found in the surrounding rose garden. The latter is the perfect place to ponder one of his greatest works – The Thinker. 5. Cherish the views from the Centre Pompidou rooftop Former French president George Pompidou wanted a game-changing museum, and he certainly got it. Famed for its radical inside-out architecture, the museum houses cutting-edge exhibitions, performances, cinemas and an enviable permanent collection of French art. Don’t miss the panoramic views from the rooftop. 6. Try out the French gastronomy Home to one of the world’s most renowned cuisines, there’s no excuse for not indulging in some fantastic Parisian foods, such as a light-as-air macaroons or some creamy camembert cheese. And with everything from artisanal boulangeries to exquisite patisseries and cosy bistros to Michelin-star restaurants, you won’t be disappointed. Planning your Paris visit When to go? Paris will charm you regardless of the season. That said, the months from April to May and September to October are widely considered the best times to visit. You’ll miss the summer crowds while also getting to enjoy the mild yet sunny weather. Spring also lets you see the city in full bloom. Summer is the peak tourist season (June to August), when the weather is at its best and brightest and attractions are at their busiest. Some local establishments may also close during August. Winter is better for those looking to nab a deal as prices for both flights and accommodation tend to drop. Sights are less packed, although you’ll never have them to yourself as Paris attracts tourists all year round. How many days should you spend? Paris is a cosmopolitan city brimming with culture, history, shopping and fantastic nightlife. Three days might just be enough to pack in some of its main sights, but keep in mind you’d be on a tight schedule. Instead, we recommend you get to know the city at a more leisurely pace by spending five days to a week. This way you can see the city’s top attractions while also discovering its more hidden local side. How to get there? Charles de Gaulle is the city’s main airport and is connected to central Paris by train (RER) and bus; prices range from €6 to €18. If you're in a hurry a taxi is the fastest way to get into town (45 minutes) and costs €55-60. Orly Airport is 13km south of Paris. Getting to the city centre is a little less direct unless you take a taxi (€35). If you go by train, you’ll have to change at the Antony station to lines RER B or RER C. It costs around €12 one way. Otherwise, the Orlybus will take you direct for €8.30 one way. Beauvais Airport is a small airport 80 km from Paris, which is mostly used by low-cost airlines. It takes 80 minutes approximately by airport shuttle to Porte Maillot (€17). Trains run to Gare du Nord station every 1 to 2 hours and cost €13-€16. How to move around the city? While the city is by no means small, it’s relatively easy getting around thanks to a speedy and efficient public transport system. The Metro and RER are the fastest modes of transport and operate from around 5.30am to 1.15am (Fridays and Saturdays the Metro stays open an hour later). There’s also a bus system run by RATP, which may be more convenient for families with strollers and those with limited mobility. Prices start from €1.90 for a single bus/train ticket. Paris is also becoming increasingly bike friendly and this is a scenic way to explore the city. While you’ll spot various bike-share systems throughout the city such as Vélib', not all will accept foreign credit cards. Where to shop? With its well-heeled locals and chic boutiques, this is a city that knows a thing or two about style. Get your sartorial dose at any number of shopping districts. The Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is the beating heart of designer fashion, with flagships stores from big name brands such as Versace and Hermes. Otherwise, if you’re looking for something more niche head to Marais, which has everything from artisanal jewellers to trendy concept stores like Merci. Vintage lovers will go wild in Paris’ many flea markets; Saint-Ouen is the city’s largest and is a veritable treasure trove of pre-loved goods. Additionally, you can’t leave Paris without strolling through one of its covered arcades famed for their old-world beauty, such as the Galerie Vivienne.