One of the most popular destinations in Europe, Paris holidays take you to one of the world's most beautiful and romantic cities, famed for its many sights, museums, fantastic shopping and culture. With a little planning it's easy to arrange cheap holidays in Paris - especially with plenty of cheap flights as well as the Eurostar to whisk you there, and there are plenty of last minute bargains to be had too, if you want to whisk someone away on the double.
Paris has so much to see and do (and eat!) that you'll want to visit again and again to fit it all in! There are designer shops aplenty in the Saint-Honore district, depart stores galore on the north side of the Tuileries Garden, eclectic and vintage shops in the Marais, big brands on the Champs Elysees, flea markets to seek out, and some of the world's best food around the Place de la Madeleine. Make sure you take some time to just wander, especially if you're on a romantic break in Paris, with the Left Bank the top spot for this. Other attractions you can't miss are:
The best-known landmark in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is always bustling with tourists and street vendors. The impressive tower can be climbed on foot up to the second level if you're feeling energetic, but there's also an elevator, and the views from the top are marvellous. As Paris is largely flat you can see for miles and spot all the famous sights. 58 Eiffel Tower is the restaurant on the first floor of the tower, or there's exclusive dining at Le Jules Verne, the next floor up. The tower lights up for five minutes every hour at night.
Eiffel Tower website
This huge art museum contains enough to occupy your entire trip to Paris so it's a good idea to research what you want to see before you head away from the entrance. The Louvre's highlights include the Mona Lisa (normally viewed from behind a sea of other people), Michelangelo's Venus de Milo, the Egyptian collection and the sumptuous Napoleonic Apartments.
Louvre Museum website
This magnificent Gothic cathedral takes pride of place on the Île de la Cité. The stunning architecture captures medieval Paris and transports visitors bank in time. Popularised by the novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", Notre Dame has been a tourist attraction for centuries. The interior has plenty to offer too, with crypts, beautiful stained glass windows and the chance to follow Quasimodo's footsteps up the bell tower for a birds' eye view of Paris.
Notre Dame website
Originally a railway station, this grand building houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, including major works by artists Monet, Manet, Cezanne and Van Gough. The museum also has a spectacular array of sculptures and furniture, as well as exciting ever-changing temporary exhibits of both classical and modern works. The museum is far less crowded than the more famous Louvre, and it's even possible to grab a few moments alone with your favourite impressionist paintings if you're prepared to arrive early.
Museé d'Orsay website
Situated at the top of Montmartre, the only hill in Paris, the view from the steps outside the Sacré-Coeur Cathedral is stunning. It's particularly popular at sunset, when street performers and musicians add to the lively atmosphere. Inside the cathedral is dimly lit, brightened by huge golden mosaics in the apse and a copper altar. Legend has it that the crypt holds the sacred heart of Jesus, giving the church its name. There is a lovely peaceful garden of reflection at the rear and an even higher viewpoint from the top of the dome.
As Paris has excellent public transport you have great freedom in where you stay although you should also be prepared to walk some way to see the city and its sights. Hotels are spread throughout the arrondissements (districts) of Paris, with each district having a distinct flavour of its own. Between them they cover the full range of accommodation from bed and breakfast to cheap rooms and the most luxurious hotels.
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