Is there anything new to say about Paris? Some people consider it beautiful, others an ordinary city. Some people believe it’s the capital of lovers, others think there’s something more interesting to do, than a romantic kiss on the Seine. Sure, there are romantic places in Paris: Montmartre view from a loft; the soft lights of the cafes of the Latin Quarter, squares and corners of the Marais district. Paris is more than a romantic city, it has museums, monuments, churches and characteristic areas. If you can escape from the tourist traps and select well the places where you can eat, Paris will make you discover the best of French cuisine, which fortunately it’s not just croissants and cheeses. Read our 10 things to do and see during your visit to Paris.
If you are looking for a hotel in Paris, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 1800 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com
Montmartre in Paris
In 1800, Montmartre was the damned neighbourhood where you could find only penniless artists in search of fortune and the bored bourgeois looking for prostitutes and the Moulin Rouge shows.
An irreverent district, a city in the city, where Picasso, Van Gogh and Modigliani used to live. The Paris Commune was born because the people of Montmartre in 1871, after the surrender of France to the Prussians, didn’t hand over the cannon that was guarding the hill and killed the generals. Today Montmartre is no longer the irreverent district of Paris, it’s rather a “tourist trap” that you have to visit. Although the great artists are not there anymore (replaced by invasive caricatures illustrators) and there are a lot of tourists, Montmartre still has a special charm to be experienced.
How to get there: Subway Line 12: Jules Joffrin o Abesses; Line 2: Anvers o Pigalle
Musée d’Orsay in Paris
The place of the Musée d’Orsay can be called the first “masterpiece” of its collections, because it was built in the old Orsay railway station for the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900.
In the heart of Paris, along the Seine, the Musée d’Orsay has an ancient and precious charm: the architecture of the Museum is absolutely modern, but looking at the complex you’ll end up surprised to see the structure of the old station. The artworks will enchant your eyes: Manet’s meadows and Monet’s poppies, Van Gogh’s self-portrait and the beautiful Tahitian girls of Gauguin. If you have ever heard of one of these paintings, you’ll will find it here, along with thousands of other works of art.
When – Hours: every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9.30 am to 6 pm; Thursdays from 9:30 am to 9:45pm
Never: Every Monday, 1st January and 25th December.
Tickets: free entrance the first Sunday of each month. 7.5 EUR other days.
Louvre Museum in Paris
We give you a suggestion: if you are lucky enough to get to the Louvre, once in your life, don’t fight with Japanese people to take a picture of the Mona Lisa.
It might be a good idea to start your visit from the Mona Lisa, so then you’ll be more interested to all the other works that deserve your attention. In the Louvre there is everything and you can’t see hundreds of masterpieces in a single day: if you can’t plan a visit of several days, our suggestion is to choose in advance which works to see.
How to get there: subway stop Palais-Royal/musée du Louvre
When – Hours: Every day from 9 am to 6 pm . Wednesday and Friday until 22
Never: All Tuesday, 1st January, 1st May 1 and 25th December
Tickets: € 9 , free entrance the first Sunday of each month
You can find tickets in every FNAC in Paris or at the Louvre ticket office
The Eiffel Tower in Paris
This large iron structure, whose point seems to touch the clouds, is the symbol of Paris.
The Eiffel Tower, made by 18,038 pieces of metal, was completed March 31, 1889 and it had to be demolished after only two years, but it’s still there despite all the humiliations received. Some people called it “a skeleton tower,” others “a tragic chandelier ” or “a plastic chimney”. However 2 million people visited it, and now with its 6 million visitors a year, is the most visited monument of the world. A visit with picture under the Tower is a must for anyone visiting Paris, as well as waiting for the play of lights that start the first 10 minutes of every hour during the night.
The Latin Quarter in Paris
The name seems to suggest an exotic neighborhood, full of Brazilian, Spanish and Portuguese cafés, however in this part of Paris there’s definitely a lively air , but it doesn’t come from faraway countries.
The only exotic elements are the Arab World Institute and restaurants that sell kebabs in St. Michel Square. In the Latin Quarter the atmosphere is distinctly French, but very “effervescent” thanks to places and cafés, opened day and night all year. Full of professors and students, who once out of the sober walls of the Sorbonne and other cultural institutions, look for distraction and some relaxing time.
How to get there: by feet from Notre Dame. Subway : Line 10 station Cluny-Sorbonne or Saint Michel
When: normal days without students
Notre – Dame Cathedral in Paris
Notre-Dame de Paris, the elegant and mysterious lady of Paris is the center of France. In front of it there’s the Zero Point, the bronze star from which all road distances are calculated in France.
The Bishop Sully wanted it, because he was envious of the St. Denis Cathedral. It was built asking money to all people of Paris and transformed into a Temple of Reason by the revolutionaries. It has always risked to be demolished, but it has always been saved by the will of some powerful people of Paris. Notre Dame has experienced dark moments and glory, but at the end it was saved by the charm of a novel: Notre-Dame de Paris by Hugo. The novel returned prestige to this cathedral which hosts some of the most important relics of Christendom, including a nail from the cross of Jesus and the crown of thorns.
How to get there
Subway:Line 1 Hôtel de Ville stop. Line 4 Châtelet stop. Line 7, 11 and 14 Cité or Saint – Michel stop
Tickets: Free entrance
The Palace of Versailles in Paris
If you grew up watching Lady Oscar (the famous Japanese manga) , you can’t miss a visit to the Palace of Versailles. The splendor and majesty of this palace, make it one of the most beautiful and the biggest palaces in the world.
This jewel was created by the vagaries of Louis XIV, known as the Sun King. It became the reflection of the power and victories of this monarch who ruled for 72 years. The King was suffering from some mania of persecution and grandeur: he moved to Versailles because in Paris he saw conspiracies of the nobles from all sides and asked to be called Sun King. For this, the rooms have the name of the planets and are close to the important Salon of Apollo (god of the sun), not surprisingly its throne Room.
How to get there: Subway line C RER, direction Versailles-Rive Gauche-Chateau.
Montparnasse and Saint Lazare, the SNCF trains to Versailles.
Tickets: Passepartout ticket 16 €
Tips: Buy tickets at FNAC, to avoid 3 km queues.
The Sainte-Chapelle in Paris
The very Catholic King Louis IX ordered the construction of the beautiful Sainte-Chapelle to host a piece of the Holy Cross, one of the nails pushed into the flesh of Christ and his crown.
These important relics of Christendom are currently preserved in Notre-Dame, but the chapel still has its charm: it’s considered the most authoritative expression of Gothic architecture and the splendor is perceived already outside, by the stained glass windows. The Sainte-Chapelle is divided into two parts: the lower was the place of prayer of people, the upper was for the royal family and the nobles who reached the chapel through a protected passage. You can admire the beautiful colored light filtering through the 600 square meters of the stained glass windows, the most important testimony of glassmaking art of the XIII century. The scenes are a Bible in pictures and tell different stories of the Bible, including Genesis, Exodus, the story of the Passion relics, the Book of Kings and more. The large rose window on the south side (9 meters in diameter), is the Apocalypse.
How to get there
Subway: Cité station, Line 4.
Bus: line 21, 27, 38, 85, 96 including the Balabus
When – Hours: The chapel is open daily. From March 1 to October 31 from 9.30 am to 6.00 pm . From November 1 to February 28 it’s open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm . The ticket office closes 30 minutes before closing time
Tickets: € 6,50
Saint Ouen flea market in Paris
If you love antiques or you like just stick your nose in colored patches, singular objects, ancient and current books, you can’t skip the Saint Ouen flea market that takes place three days a week: Saturdays, Sundays and Monday.
If you are looking for a great deal or a precious and charming object, don’t miss this chance. There’s everything: from the Chinese fake jewellery to important valuable objects. The Saint Ouen market is divided into sections: books, furniture, clothes, discs. If you don’t find anything you like, which is very difficult, you’ll be happy anyway to breath a bit of chaotic, festive French air.
How to get there: Subway Line 4, stop Porte de Clignancourt, line 13 stop Garibaldi.
When – Hours: Saturday, Sunday, Monday 10.30 am – 1 pm . 2 – 6 pm . Friday: 1-6 pm
Tickets: free entrance
Where to sleep in Paris
Paris is the most visited tourist destination in the world: there are countless hotels, apartments, B&Bs, rooms in each category in each district of the city.
Obviously costs are not low, and it could take one hour to get from the hotel to the most famous monuments. You should look for a compromise among the costs, starting from 80 € per night in a 2 or 3 star hotel. The central areas are always secure, while you should avoid the districts 18, 19 and 20 especially at night.
If you are looking for a hotel in Paris, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 320 hotels with prices, pictures and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com