Known as both the City of Love and the City of Light, Paris has an undeniable charm that is not found anywhere else in the world. A true cosmopolitan city, Paris is built upon a rich history of cultural innovation through music, literature, film, gastronomy and art. Best known for the Eiffel Tower, Paris is also home to the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, the Champs Elysees and the Louvre.
The River Seine is the lifeblood of the city, with the Parisian banks declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Still used as a commercial waterway, the river has a volatile history of floods and pollution, but today is frequented by tour boats following the Seine deep into France.
There are multiple ports on the Seine between the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, all with very easy access to the major attractions and tourist hubs within the city.
How to Get Around
Getting around Paris is easily done on foot, with many major attractions located in the city centre. The Champs Elysees, the city’s most famous promenade and one of its best walks, connects the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe.
The Paris underground metro system operates 16 lines with more than 300 stations, and their art nouveau entrances are easy to spot on the Parisian streets. Maps are colour-coded and tickets may be purchased at manned ticket booths or from automated machines. The metro is an efficient, reliable and inexpensive way to get around Paris.
Buses offer better views of the city, but services are less frequent than trains, and some lines terminate quite early in the evening.
Taxis are often difficult to hail, however taxi ranks are easy to find outside most metro stations. They can also be booked by phone.
- Currency - the currency in Paris is the Euro (EUR). Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euro denominations. Notes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
- Time Zone - Paris uses Central European Time (CET), which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). From April to October the city uses Central European Summer Time (CEST), which is 2 hours ahead (UTC+2).
- Weather - Paris enjoys warm summers and a cooler, slightly more volatile winter period. Average daily temperatures range from 5 degrees Celsius in January to 20 degrees Celsius in July. Short summer heatwaves with temperatures over 30 degrees are not uncommon.
- The Louvre - in fierce competition with St Petersburg’s Hermitage museum, the Louvre houses one of the most valuable art collections in the world. Landmark pieces by artists including Da Vinci, Raphael and Titian are included in the collection along with fine antiquities from around the globe.
- Champs Elysees - one of the most expensive strips of real estate in the world, the Champs Elysees stretches between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. Lined with restaurants, cafés and high-end fashion boutiques, this promenade is one of the city’s best-loved attractions. Dating back to the 17th century, the Champs Elysees is the location of the annual Bastille Day parade.
- Ile Saint-Louis - one of the last untouched areas of 17th century Paris, Ile Saint-Louis is an island set in the River Seine. Once used for grazing cattle, it underwent great change during an early example of urban planning, which led to the construction of many large houses that still remain in use as residential properties.
- Fine Dining - with 85 Michelin-starred restaurants within the city limits, Paris is famous for its fine dining experiences. With more than 9,000 restaurants in operation, sampling French cuisine is a must. The Latin Quarter is well known as an excellent spot to dine.