City Guide, Paris
Paris, the largest city in continental Europe and the capital of France, is over
2,000 years old. The ancient Gallic tribe, the Parisii, gave their name to the city,
but Julius Caesar renamed it Lutetia (Lutèce); fortunately the name did not stick!
Paris was founded on the "Ile de la Cité", an island where
a natural north-south highway crosses the Seine River, some 233 miles (375 kilometres)
upstream from the river's mouth on the English Channel. The island formed a natural
defensive stronghold and offered a convenient crossing point over a river that separated
the two halves of Gaul.
First visits to Paris can be daunting: nearly every square inch of the city seems
to be seeping with history and beauty. All of it is worth seeing and exploring,
but there are some Paris tourist attractions that simply shouldn't be missed. Which
are the best Paris sights and attractions, chosen for their mass popularity, historical
importance, or sheer aesthetic appeal.
The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Church, museums and galleries, walks along the canals,
houseboat cruises, beach sports, water sports, island tours, winter sports in the
Alps and Pyrenees, a game of boules on the street, walks through the Paris streets
are just some of the attractions that draw people to France.
Culture & Entertainment
The Art in Paris form the second most important aspect of its rich culture. Paris
has produced several world-renowned artists, painters, authors, and musicians and
the artistic history of France dates back to thousands of years. The cave paintings
of Altamira, Font de Gaume, Lascaux, Les Combarelles, Niaux Cave and Les Trois Frères
show the artistic richness of France since time unknown.
Paris is also famous for its music, cinemas and sports, especially football.
Paris has long been considered an important center for European art and music. Music
in Paris is characterized by its amazing varieties of indigenous folk music as well
as styles brought by immigrants from Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Food and Drink
Almost every street corner in central Paris has a tiny has a tiny bistro
or café, and it is not unusual to find an entire side street lined with small
restaurants on both sides. There are also many active
restaurant areas in Paris. Restaurants in Paris range from
the suave to the rustic but, as long as the place is not designed specifically for
tourists, you are likely to have a good experience in any of them.
The café culture in Paris is strong and, if you’re the type who enjoys
visiting the Starbucks in the Borders bookshop at home, buying a book and then reading
it while drinking a large latte, you will fit in well in Paris. It’s different
(there is Starbucks but I’d recommend going to the French places while you’re
in Paris) but just as satisfying – in fact, more so because you’re doing it
in Paris and it’s interesting to soak up the atmosphere and to watch the locals
as they go about their café business.
Paris is a shopper's dream, of course, and the "glitterati" will feel
quite at home in the Haute Couture shops found on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and
Avenue Montaigne. Top quality shoes, bags, and leather goods are the province of
Rue du Cherche-Midi and Rue de Grenelle in the 6th. Truly trend-setting fashions
may be seen in the shops on Rue Etienne Marcel and Place des Victoires . Some of
the better-known emporiums of Haute Couture and jewelry include: Cartier, Celine
, Chanel,Chaument, Christian Dior (8th), Christian Lacroix (8th), Piaget, Yves Saint
Laurent (16th), and Van Cleef & Arpels .