When someone mentions romance, many people imagine Paris. Its streets which smell like roasted chestnuts, magnificent architecture and splendid gardens enrapture not only tourists but local citizens as well. Over 45 million people come to the city of love annually. They want to see Montmartre, Notre-Dame de Paris, and the statue of the Venus de Milo in the Louvre Museum with their own eyes. Some people come here to return home in a new status of a fiancé and a bride. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most popular locations where people say “yes” in all languages of the world.
Life in Paris doesn’t stop for a single moment. It hosts events which can fit any taste: cinema festivals, concerts, exhibitions, parade. It’s impossible not to mention the most renowned fashion event while talking about cultural life. A fashion week gathers beau monde from all corners of the planet. Parisians and all French people, in general, celebrate loudly the Bastille Day. The festivities are celebrated with a military parade which starts its procession from the Place Charles de Gaulle towards the Élysée Palace.
Arrondissements of Paris
The arrondissements from 1 to 8 and 16 are considered to be the most prestigious. 1, 4 and 7 are the most expensive ones to stay in. Arrondissements 10, 18 and 19 are reputed to be the most unfavorable ones. There are many immigrants and people with low social responsibility here. Therefore, it’s not only dangerous to live but also to have a walk here.
The attractions are situated at every step here: squares and palaces, cathedrals and museums. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Gardens of Versailles, and Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile alone count for a lot! Even a week won’t be enough to see perhaps a half of these places. The city offers more than 1800 historic places and 130 museums. We highly recommend you to create a route of fascinating places in Paris in advance.
A couple of words about the Parisians
The city was founded by the Celtic tribe of Parisii back in the III century AD. It was called Lutetia. In 52 AD, the legion of Julius Caesar took this territory under control and gave it another name – Parisia. The era of the Roman reign ended in the V century BC when the lands were seized by the tribes of Franks. Paris became the capital of the Kingdom of Franks in 508.
Paris lost the status of capital in the VII century and managed to return it only in the X century. Starting from the XI century, the control over city passes over to the “water merchants”. Commercial connections develop with the help of the expansion of river waterways. During the reign of Philip Augustus, covered markets, bricked streets, and beautiful fountains started to appear in Paris. Other famous buildings also were created during the Middle Ages: the Louvre Palace, Notre-Dame de Paris, Sorbonne University. During the Hundred Years' War (in the XV century), Paris lost the status of capital again. It finally returned it at the beginning of the XVI century, while Francis I was the king.
From Renaissance to Revolution
The XVII century was marked by the religious wars between the Catholics and Protestants. The bloody St. Bartholomew's Day massacre became the crucial moment in this civil confrontation. On that night, the Catholics killed thousands of Huguenot-Protestants in Paris. King Henry IV ascended the throne in 1594 and grant people religious freedom. The Huguenots’ wars soon stopped, and the king became the victim of the Catholic fanatic. In 1622, Paris becomes an archbishopric. The Pont Neuf and Place des Vosges, the Luxembourg Palace and Palais-Royal appeared in Paris in the XVII century.
From Revolution to nowadays
Paris was exposed to a wave of protests, revolutions, and wars in the XVIII-XIX centuries. The citizens decided to proclaim themselves to be an independent community for the first time under the leadership of E.Marcel. The storming of Bastille was one of the main events during the first French Revolution. Paris managed to withstand the siege for 4 months during the Franco-Prussian war. Later, France surrendered. Radicals had been ruling the city for a couple of months and created the Paris Commune.
During World War I, the Germans didn’t make it to Paris. The city became the capital for the Russian emigrants after the October Revolution. In World War II, Paris was seized and occupied by Hitler’s army. Nevertheless, it did not face much destruction. Paris was exposed to the next act of violence in 1968, in the period of students’ rebellion.
In succeeding years, Paris had been developing successfully and its face changed a lot. Modern buildings and skyscrapers started to appear all over the city. The infrastructure, culture, and tourism were developing rapidly. Nowadays, Paris remains to be one of the most beautiful and charming cities not only in Europe but on the planet.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
What’s the best time to visit Paris?
If you want to see the most Paris has to offer and don’t waste time standing in lines to museums, consider purchasing a Paris Pass card for tourists. It combines tickets for public transport as well as access to museums and water walks. These cards are quite expensive. Thus, Paris Pass for 2 days will cost you €139. However, it will give you a chance to attend the Centre Pompidou, Louvre, Notre-Dame de Paris, etc. without standing in lines. The card also includes public transport expenses (you can use buses, metro, RER for as much as you want), and a one-day bus tour to Car Rouges. There is a cheaper option. The Passeport Paris decouverte costs €59 for 2 days. With this card, you can enter the Louvre, enjoy a river bus and city tours in a comfortable Foxity bus. This cost also provides you with a free ride in the Mobilis public transport.
Tickets for public transport can be bought at every metro station, in ticket machines and booking offices, at RER stations, newsstands, airports, and information centers for tourists. You need to punch your ticket otherwise it will be invalid. Keep till the end of your ride. The turnstile works both for entering and exiting. You won’t have a chance to leave without a ticket.
There are free public restrooms in Paris. They are situated near the attractions, in parks and boulevards. You can use them from 6 AM to 10 PM. These facilities are automated. There are indicators next to the entrance which have different colors: green means it’s free and you can enter; red - occupied; yellow - the toilet is being cleaned and disinfected (automatically). Don’t enter right away after another person. Wait till the door is closed and the green light is on. It guarantees the restroom is clean.
What should a tourist do in Paris?
- Capture your visit to Paris against the background of the Eiffel Tower from every quarter. There are several locations in the city which offer wonderful views of this Parisian symbol.
- See the marvelous masterpieces of the Louvre with your own eyes: the Venus de Milo, Mona Lisa, and La belle ferronnière.
- Throw a picnic at the Champ de Mars. Grab a bottle of Château Margaux, some cheese, crepes, croquettes monsieur, and enjoy your life.
- Shop till you drop at the Galerie Vivienne. It’s a close gallery with boutiques and shops which was opened in 1823.
- Enjoy a walk around the Tuileries Garden, go to the Place de la Concorde, and drop in Palais Garnier.
- Explore Montmartre and climb to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica to admire a mind-blowing panoramic view of Paris.
- Attend the Moulin Rouge cabaret and see the famous cancan, gorgeous decorations, and splendid costumes of the artists.
- Try the most delicious hot chocolate and desserts at the cafe Angelina which opened its doors in 1903.
- Walk along the waterfront of the Seine River and then buy a ticket for a river bus and admire Paris from water.
- Relish the art at the Musée d'Orsay, Pablo Picasso, Rodin, Musée de l'Orangerie. And, of course, don’t forget to visit the Centre Pompidou.