A short Paris city guide


The formula " one month in Roma" also fits Paris: such is the minimum time the traveller should use to really discover the French capital. On an epoch when everybody is on a hurry, we propose a solution to meet the best of the city in only one week: 

First of all, be the guest of one of the legendary palaces hotels: like the sublime CRILLON ? IN THE Rue de la Paix and Vendôme square area, with a view on the TUILERIES. The PLAZA-ATHENEE is also great, ideal if you want to feel like mixed with the jet society. There is still the RITZ, though little bit huge and impersonal. 

The OPERA HOUSE is open for visit the all day; Anyhow, this far better to stay there for a ballet featuring, the best dancers in the world. Booking in advance is warmly recommended. Also note the tickets are among the most expensive in the world sharing the "privilege" with the Vienna Opera House. The MADELEINE CHURCH , center of the wonderful perspective starting from the CONCORDE SQUARE along the Rue Royale, was copied on the architecture of a Greek temple. On its shadow slants the famous gourmet restaurant LUCAS-CARTON , where the most superb food in Paris is served in an "Art Deco" room: the most beautiful with Maxim's ( out, and just fitted for American tourists nowadays).  

Visiting the LOUVRES takes one day. At least!  

The exhibitions of French, Italian and Spanish paintings are unique. The department of Egyptology is the most remarkable in the world, only competing with the National Museum in Cairo. Like it or not, the POMPIDOU CENTER , in Beaubourg, is the most frequented monument in Paris. 

We prefer the stylish PICASSO and CARNAVALET :the latter specializes in the history of Paris and of the French Revolution. If you like impressionists, so visit the ORANGERIE and MARMOTTAN museums. 

"This is Paris", will you say, walking along the CHAMPS-ELYSEES, RUE DU FAUBOURG SAINT HONORE (here is the ELYSEES PALACE, home of the French President), or AVENUE MONTAIGNE where it is a must to have a drink- To see and be seen by the rich and famous - in the PLAZA-ATHENEE . Here is certainly the last sanctuary of the French glamour. From the top of the very close ARCH OF TRIUMPH, there is an extraordinary panorama on Paris and suburbs. 

The MARAIS is a very charming district spreading around the superb PLACE DES VOSGES. This also the richer, architecturally speaking. altogether with the ILE DE LA CITE: less residential and commercial, where NOTRE -DAME CATHEDRAL and CONCIERGERIE former prison stand. This is a very touristy area, with a wonderful animation night and day. On the left and right banks of the RIVER SEINE, open-air book snoops ("bouquinistes") propose interesting antiques; though this is not the best place to make a very good deal. 

There is also a village in the whole heart of Paris: MONTMARTRE. On the top of one of the two highest hills in Paris- the other is the run down  working class Belleville - Menilmontant (stop at metro station Telegraphe)- is the white shape of the SACRED-HEART ("SACRE COEUR) church, with a view on the narrow and twisty lanes, breathtaking stairs, and green vineyards where grows the last wine in the capital city. The harvest is extremely picturesque, and appears like one of the last popular demonstration in Monmartre, more and more invaded by tourists. 

You can say farewell to Paris from the top of EIFFEL TOWER. Its 300 meters  offer a breathtaking panorama over the CHAMP DE MARS, MILITARY SCHOOL, INVALIDES, and TROCADERO. Believe it or not: its restaurant called JULES VERNE, located on the second floor of the tower, is more than decent. Dining there is a good way to fully enjoy this monument, and to agree with us that without it Paris should not be Paris anymore!  

Need a room in Paris? Running out of time? RatesToGo offers last minute Paris hotels at massively discounted prices. 

Also visit our large review of the best deluxe, charming and palace hotels in Paris 

Copyright © FIRST CLASS AROUND THE WORLD, Gilles Malaisé, 1995-2013
Credit Pictures: Office de Tourisme de Paris, Copyright 2008