First-Timer Guide to Paris
The bustling French metropolis of Paris is often high on the wish list of travellers to Europe. Whether it is the tempting cuisine, its famous landmarks, the museums or the simple joie de vivre, one thing’s for certain, the French capital will always remain a firm favourite. There are plenty of opportunities to experience the authentic Parisian lifestyle while still making time to visit the famed tourist attractions this city has to offer.
Visit the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe
The Avenue de Champs-Élysées is one of the world’s most famous roads, running about two kilometres through the 8th district in north-western Paris. Famous for its cafes, luxury shopping, theatres and other amenities, it is also one of the most expensive strips of real estate worldwide.Sometimes called the most beautiful avenue, a stroll down Champs-Élysées is a must for your first visit to Paris. At the west end of the Champs-Élysées stands the Arc de Triomphe, a monumental arch built in honour of French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte.
Spend a Day in the Musée D’Orsay
Found on the left bank of the Seine River, the Musée D’orsay is housed in a converted railway station. It was built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900 and houses works of art from the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s. The Musée D’Orsay continues to grow in popularity with upwards of three million visitors per year. It is smaller than the Louvre, so doesn’t have the crazy long queues.
Tour the Catacombs of Paris
Despite being a little spooky, the catacombs are a famous part of Parisian history. The catacombs were first used in 1785 when the thousand-year-old Cemetery of the Innocents was shut down.Its entire contents were relocated the catacombs beneath Paris. Today, the storied walls of bones are a popular tourist attraction, though not quite suitable for the faint of heart.
Enjoy Lunch in the Latin Quarter
Named after the Latin language traditionally spoken around the University, the Latin Quarter is famous for its bistro restaurants and concentration of students and higher learning institutions. The marriage of academic culture and wine bars has made the Latin Quarter one of the best culinary stops in Paris. You can also visit the famous Notre-Dame cathedral or a fresh Parisian Food market, both in the vicinity.
Take a Scenic Cruise on the Seine
A Seine River cruise makes for a relaxing evening alone or a wonderful romantic experience. The Seine cuts right through the heart of Paris and offers views of many of the city’s historical buildings, including the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Assemblée Nationale, Pont Neuf Bridge, Grand Palais and others. The Seine is best appreciated in the summer months when the weather is suitable for enjoying the open-air deck.
Visit the Sacré Cœur
Sitting atop the Montmartre hill in Paris, just north of downtown in the 18th district, the Sacre-Cœur Basilica has overlooked Paris from on high since its construction in 1873. Built with brilliant white stones from Chateau-Landon, the Basilica is the highest point in the city and one of the major tourism draws in Paris.
Join a Guided Walking Tour
Paris is a great walking city with history and architecture to discover in each district. Although a walking tour won’t take you through the whole of Paris – it’s much too large – it can be a great way to get a more in-depth understanding of a particular area of interest. Popular walking tours traverse the historical Latin Quarter, the fashion district in the Palais Royal neighbourhood or the old Les Halles market district Paris combines the best of old and new, with its contemporary culture and fashion and rich history and architecture. Use this guide to help you get a taste of both as you wander through the cobblestone streets on your own Parisian adventure.