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Paris, France

Paris

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

2

Total Stars:

7.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

All personality types give Paris very high ratings

Did You Know … ?

  • The Printemps department store has the world’s largest beauty department, 43,000 square feet.
  • During the French Revolution, Notre-Dame Cathedral was used as a warehouse.
  • Wide boulevards were created in part to keep revolutionaries from barricading streets.
  • The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, was meant to be torn down 20 years later.
  • In World War I, Paris cabbies did their part by speeding troops to the First Battle of the Marne by taxi.

City of Light, City of Romance

Paris is called the City of Light because of the beauty of its palaces and monuments, many of which are indeed shown off at night with floodlights. It could just as well be called the City of Romance because so many visitors choose the destination for romantic getaways, or simply enjoy lifelong romances with the city itself.

Paris is noted for fine dining, high fashion, top perfumes, nightlife with an edge, architecture (especially, the mansard roof) and Notre-Dame, perhaps the world’s best-known cathedral.

The French capital reveals beautiful vistas and magnificent architecture at every turn, a tribute to careful planning, impeccable taste and French pride. Like all sizeable urban areas, it offers plenty of activities and sightseeing, and day trips can include the likes of Versailles, Fontainebleau, even Chartres. Also, Disneyland Paris, a 20th century addition, is nearby.

The city center looks the way it does, with wide boulevards sweeping across the terrain in several directions, because of a massive 19th century urban renewal project that, while delivering a city we love today, swept away big chunks of a much older Paris. However, city strolls that include the Marais district reveal something of that older French capital.

Visitors choose Paris because their friends or lovers rave about it or simply because it is a must-see for any who want to claim they are reasonably well traveled. They find the great walking city, as promised, as well as the French cooking they want to sample on its home turf, sometimes in Michelin-starred establishments.

Also, fashion isn’t just about garments for skinny models but evident in the goods offered at the smallest of shops. The city is awash in fine art galleries and museums, not to mention its 1,800-plus classified monuments.

Nightlife can be anything from cabaret to opera or from the risque show to a chance to dance or just hang out in dimly lighted clubs.

Paris attracts all personality types. It helps to speak some French. The French have a reputation for rudeness, but well-mannered tourists don’t usually have much trouble.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Tour the Catacombs, old quarries where the city in the 18th and 19th centuries deposited skeletons from overcrowded cemeteries. Neatly stacked leg bones form dense walls; skulls arranged in eye-catching patterns break up the monotony.
  • Climb the towers in the Notre-Dame Cathedral for a better look at this medieval house of religion, and for the views.
  • Wrangle a ticket for a couture show.
  • Attend a striptease show, and be aware you must wear smart attire to be admitted to one of the sophisticated new strip clubs. Also, have a look at the Museum of Eroticism.
  • Meet the Parisians. Sign on for a walking tour or cycling tour with a Parisian host. Or, make an appointment to meet a French artist and visit his or her studio.
  • Buy a baguette, cheese and wine, and head to the banks of the Seine for a picnic. And, by night, don your black turtleneck and hang out in the cafes. Or, go dancing.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Chart a sightseeing route based on points mentioned in “The Da Vinci Code,” most notably the St. Sulpice church, on Place St. Sulpice, plus, of course, the Louvre.
  • Take a hike. The city’s approximately 110 miles of hiking trails criss-cross the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, follow the Seine River and cross the city from north to south and east to west.
  • Plan to attend a wine-tasting session. Or, take a cooking class. In the evening, attend a cabaret show.
  • Shop, or just sightsee, at the Saint Ouen flea market with its more than 2,000 exhibitors.
  • Grab a partner and play tennis in the Luxembourg Gardens.
  • Book a spot in a Meet-Parisians-at-Work program. You may observe those who make and work with chocolate and cheese, or observe a furrier, bookbinder, silversmith or those involved with the world of the theater.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Opt for a guided shopping tour. Or, home in on the subject with a guided tour of Printemps Haussmann, a department store that is an attraction in its own right and offers fine views over Paris from its terrace.
  • Take a tour of Le Grand Rex, a 1932 cinema so large it seats 2,650. Or, take a backstage tour of the modern Opera Bastille. Complement that with a tour of the older, more regal Opera Garnier.
  • Cruise the Seine and see the city while aboard one of the famous bateaux mouches. Also, view Paris at night from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Eat well or for fun (or both). Have dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Grab a quick croque monsieur at lunch; sample bistro fare one evening, as well.
  • Take day trips, guided or unguided, to Versailles, Chartres or Giverny (to see Monet’s home).
  • Take a guided tour of the city’s soccer stadium in Saint Denis, a few miles north of Paris. While there, visit the 12th century cathedral that was long the burial site for French kings including Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau at http://en.parisinfo.com