Known as The City of Love and The City of Lights, Paris is regarded worldwide as a major cultural centre and the most romantic destination on Earth. Every year it welcomes over 15 million foreign visitors who come to the city for a once in a lifetime travelling adventure that often becomes a romance for life. It’s hardly possible to visit Paris and leave it without wanting to come again.
The city is served by two international airports. Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is one of the world’s major aviation centres and in 2015 alone it handled 65 million passengers. It’s located in the town of Roissy nearly 50km North of Paris. Paris-Orly Airport is lies 20km south of Paris’s centre and handles around 30 million passengers a year. The presence of two big transportation hubs is the best testimony to Paris’ importance as a global city.
To meet the incredible demand, many traditional and low cost airlines operate international flights to Paris. The journey between Paris and London takes only 1.5 hours with the best flight deals starting at less than 50EUR (beating the prices for Eurostar train tickets).
It’s possible to get to Paris from most major European cities on a direct international flight for under 100EUR. As always, advance booking is key to securing inexpensive flights.
When it comes to intercontinental travel, New York-Paris and Montreal-Paris are among world's busiest passenger routes and there are many reasonable airfare deals available on regular basis.
The history of the city is rooted in the ancient Parisii resistance against the Roman invaders. The Parisii lost and the Romans started a settlement which quickly became an important town. In the 10th century it was made into the capital of France and its rapid development was phenomenal. However, for centuries the city was troubled by many socio-political issues which culminated in the French Revolution.
The conflicts of the 20th century saw the people of Paris involved in the military efforts but the city relatively unharmed.
The importance of Paris on the international stage reaches far beyond business. Since the Middle Ages it’s been recognised as a major centre for arts and education and, as the Age of Enlightenment originated in there, Paris acquired its most flattering nickname: The City of Lights.
Today Paris is inhabited by 2.2 million people. It’s one of the most important centres of economic activity in Europe and it’s responsible for one third of the French GDP.
The list of must see sights for your first visit in Paris contains The Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, Champs Elysees with Place Concord on one end and Arc de Triomphe on another, as well as the Sacre-Coeur basilica. From there head down the hill to roam the narrow streets of Montmartre. The historic district was once home to some of the world's most famous bohemians (before the moveable feast turned to Montparnasse).
A former royal palace, the Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world and seeing all of its exhibitions takes longer than a day. Centre Pompidou is a modern art museum to match the splendor of Louvre.
Musée d'Orsay holds the world’s bestcollection of paintings dating from 1848 to the early 20th century.
The famous Palace of Versailles is located just over 20km from the city centre. The developments started in 1623 and lasted over 150 years. Today the lavish château is a museum attracting over 10 million tourists a year.
In total, there are over 150 museums in Paris. The Museum Pass grants access to over 60 of the best venues and at 48EUR for two days or 64EUR for six days it’s a great money saver.
Since 1945, Paris Fashion Week has been the biggest event in the world of haute couture. Part of The Big 4, it’s held annually in March (and recently also in September for the spring/summer collections) attracting the creme de la creme of the fashion world, as well as tourists wanting to spot some of the models and designers around the town.
Although France is famous for haute cuisine, you don’t have to break the bank to savour some of the most Parisian treats. First of all, make sure to start your Paris days at a coffee shop but don’t rush out with a takeaway cup. Sit, enjoy a hot drink with a fresh pastry such as a pan au chocolat.
Possibly the most traditional French meal is snails served in their shells and with parsley butter.
Many creperies are dotted around Paris but not many of them are as traditional as Creperie Plougastel in Montparnasse. Head there to try the very best crepes made solely of Bretonian ingredients.
Forget about Place Pigalle. Start your evening on one of the excellent and chic cocktail bars at Place Vendôme. Younger partygoers might opt for a bar crawl in places such as Rue de Lappe nearby from Place de la Bastille. Le Marais is a historical district which now became one of Paris’ nightlife hotspots and is known for its LGBT community.
For a clubbing experience infused with culture and art, head to Wanderlust. It’s very new and already very much loved. For a night out with some of the trendiest crowd in Paris (including hot shot movie stars) check out La Fidélité. For incredible views of the Eiffel Tower check out the White Room (turns into a club on Saturdays).
Many believe that Paris is at its best in spring when everything starts to bloom and the temperature is already pleasantly warm. It is also the driest season.
In the height of summer many Parisians flee the city only to be replaced by tourists, so some of its authentic charm is lost.
September tends to have at least a few beautiful, clear days but in general visiting in autumn is a little bit of a gamble. The weather can be quite wet and gloomy but it’s also the best time to marvel at the city adorned in red and golden leaves.
Winters in Paris rarely see snow and most of the time it’s just a little wet. It might feel cold to the bone so packing plenty of warm layers is a good idea. The festive season is celebrated with endless decorations, so even though the days are short, the city’s beautifully lit.
Why not take advantage of cheap flights to Paris and experience the city in all seasons? Choose your favourite and keep coming back to the City of Love and Lights.
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