Paris Overview

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Paris attractions
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Paris, capital of France and city of Romance, is a buzzing cosmopolitan, stylish and glamorous city, boasting a huge range of attractions and sights.

It has a population of over 2 million people and is visited by over 30 million tourists a year who come to enjoy its many attractions, museums, art galleries and to see its famous landmarks or to relax in its numerous parks and gardens.

It is a city of contrasts: from huge iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe to the small winding alleyways of the Latin Quarter and Montmartre; from the Art galleries packed with Picassos, Van Goghs and Rembrandts to the personal caricatures drawn outside the Pompidou Centre; from the busy modern Boulevard Haussmann shops to the traditional markets. Paris truly has something for everyone.

Known by some as the “City of Lights”, due to its early use of street lamps, it has always been at the forefront of innovation and education and is world renowned for its Sorbonne university. Famous for its Arts, it was home to many of the great artists like Picasso, Monet and Degas and is known the world over for its fashion shows. It is a diverse mix of cultures, the traditional French with influences from North, West and Central Africa.

Situated in the North of France on the River Seine, it has two islands: the Île de la Cité (once called Lutetia by its Parisii founders) and the Île Saint-Louis. In the 19 th Century, parts of Paris were flattened and remodelled by Baron Haussmann so the city contrasts old narrow streets with wide tree lined avenues like the Champs-Élysées, and small Bohemian buildings with giant stone neoclassical buildings.

Visitors arrive in Paris generally by air, using the Charles de Gaulle airport or Orly airport, or by train at the Gare du Nord train station in the centre of the city. If you are travelling from the UK you can get the Eurostar straight into the centre of Paris. There are also bus stations and a bus service takes tourists to Disneyland from both airports.

There is a multitude of Paris accommodation to suit any budget, including hotels, apartments and bed and breakfasts.

Transport is easy in Paris, just use the Metro system to visit all the sights. There are also taxis, hire cars and buses including a tour bus, the Balabus, which tours the main attractions.

The must-see landmarks of Paris are the Eiffel Tower (for a wonderful panoramic view of the city), the Arc de Triomphe, the cathedrals of Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, the Sacré Coeur basilica and the churches Eglise du Dome and Eglise de la Madeleine.

For Paris Art then don't miss seeing Da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa housed at the Louvre Museum, home to countless antiquities, sculptures and paintings. For more modern art visit the Musée Picasso, Espace Dali (the Dali museum)and the modern art museum at the Pompidou centre.. Rodin's famous sculptures, The Kiss and The Hand of God can be seen at the Musée Rodin. There are also many more museums and art galleries in Paris.

After a busy morning shopping or walking round galleries, you will want to unwind and relax in one of Paris' beautiful parks or gardens. Visit the Jardin du Luxembourg to watch Parisian old men play boules or wile away the time in the Tuileries Gardens along the beautiful River Seine. Other parks include the Bois de Boulogne, Jardins du Palais-Royal and the Jardins du Trocadero.

Paris is said to be the City of Romance so make the most of the romantic areas of the city – take a boat trip down the River Seine or stroll around the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) or the Latin Quarter. Make sure that you treat your loved one to some French cuisine or gastronomy. Try a “Menu du Jour”, a set menu, or a “Menu Degustation” which gives you tasters from a wide range of dishes.

Paris is the capital of France a must do destination. The "City of Light " straddles the River Seine. Full of history, lots of fashion, restaurant and culture await.

Central Paris is divided into 20 districts called arrondissements, numbered from 1 to 20 in a clockwise spiral from the centre of town. The 1st is the geographical centre of Paris with the Louvre Museum , the Jardin des Tuileries, Place Vendôme, Les Halles and Palais Royal. The central business district of the city is the 2 nd with the Bourse and Bibliothèque Nationale. The 3rd has the Archives Nationales, Musée Carnavalet, Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, the northern, quieter part of the Marais. The 4 th has the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Hôtel de Ville ( Paris town hall), Beaubourg, le Marais (gay Paris ). The 5 th has the Jardin des Plantes, Quartier Latin, Universités, La Sorbonne, Le Panthéon. The 7th has the Tour Eiffel, Les Invalides, Musée d'Orsay. The 8th the Champs-Elysées, the Palais de l'Elysée, la Madeleine.

La Défense is not part of the city but is the skyscraper district on the western edge of Paris .
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