Visiting the French capital is a great opportunity to experience one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, and with a multitude of cheap Paris hotel rooms available, it can be a trip that doesn’t have to break the bank.
There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you occupied, whether you’re looking to do the traditional touristy locations or go a little off the beaten track. So where to start?
The Eiffel Tower
Okay, okay, it’s a little obvious but the Eiffel Tower remains the most popular landmark in the city, so it deserves a mention.
Once the tallest building in the world (although it has now been surpassed on a number of occasions), this mainstay of the Parisian skyline has been in place for over 120 years following its construction in time for the 1889 World Fair.
As you can imagine, most people scale it to experience some of the best panoramic views in the city, but I prefer to explore the various shops and exhibitions, while stopping for a bite to eat at the high-end Jules Verne restaurant, which is now run by famed chef Alain Ducasse.
The Petit Palais
If fine art is more your thing, then you’ll definitely be interested in stopping by the Petit Palais (meaning small palace) museum.
You’ll notice that despite its name, it’s hardly a miniature back-alley art house and instead earned its name because it sits opposite the immense Grand Palais, which is just across the road.
But don’t let its name fool you; it’s not a minnow when it comes to impressive art, either, with an extensive collection that could have you wandering its corridors for hours.
Works from Jean Carries, Hector Guimard, Nicolas Poussin, Gustave Dore and Jean Desire Gustave Courbet are all on show, creating a rich tapestry of different exhibits that would be a shame to miss out on.
Time for some of the ‘off the beaten track’ stuff I promised you earlier.
Nestled in Paris’ 16th arrondissement (one of the city’s 20 administrative regions) is Passy, a luxurious residential area located on the Right Bank.
You could be forgiven for thinking this is merely a retreat for the rich and wealthy, with posh cars and swanky apartments galore – but that shouldn’t detract from its glorious array of shops, cafes and restaurants.
If clothes shopping is on the agenda – and it should be – then a trip to Franck & Fils is a must – although you may want to set yourself limits before entering its doors because you could quickly find yourself blowing your entire holiday budget on boutique gear!
Jardin des Plantes
It’s important to keep the kids happy, so if you’re travelling with troublesome tots and teenagers who are easily bored, you’ll need a few ideas up your sleeve to make sure they stay well behaved.
One option is the Jardin des Plantes – France’s main botanical garden in Paris’s 5th arrondissement.
This may not sound like a particularly fun-filled location for youngsters, but the sprawling gardens contain a zoo that is home to many species of exotic animals that were originally taken from rich private owners in France.
Launched in 1794, the menagerie has a number of intriguing creatures, including vultures, monkeys, orang-utans, reptiles, antelopes and even a 100-year-old turtle.