This fantastic city is divided into 20 districts, referred to as arrondissements, which spiral clockwise from Paris’s centre. Each has its own character and flair, with the city’s compactness allowing visitors to appreciate the diversity of each area. The city is divided by the river Seine into the Left and Right Banks.
Paris is easy to navigate and is best appreciated taking your time and wandering around on foot. However, the speedy metro system or Paris’s efficient network of buses allows visitors to cram lots of its cultural offerings into a short period of time.
Food lovers can spend hours winding through the streets and open-air produce markets of Paris, soaking in the French passion for food. Days should be broken up with frequent stops at patisseries, boulangeries or one of Paris’s numerous restaurants. Wine is another passion with shops offering bottles produced in regional vineyards and street cafés providing tables for visitors to sit with a glass and watch Parisians going about their business.
Fashion hunters flock to Paris from around the globe. Visit some of the world’s most renowned fashion houses, including Lanvin, Hermes and Dior. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore attracts many visitors, and the Champs-Elysées also offers a shopping experience not to be missed.
Art, in all its guises, is at the heart of Paris, and this is evident in its world-famous museums, galleries, theatres and opera houses. The Louvre offers a comprehensive history of some of the most important pieces of art ever produced, while the Pompidou Centre’s National Museum of Modern Art allows visitors to contemplate the contemporary. To peek into the life of an artisan, stroll along the cobbled streets of Montmartre, where artists offer to paint the portraits of passing tourists.
With such a rich cultural tapestry, it’s hardly surprising that the French tend to holiday in their own country, with many of them taking their breaks between mid-July and the end of August. During this time, Paris becomes filled with tourists, with many of the local amenities off the beaten track seeming deserted. On the other hand, if visitors can face the crowds, July should not be avoided completely – Bastille Day on 14th July offers some of the world’s most spectacular photo opportunities.