Paris: Escape to the City of Light! A mini guide
Paris – known to all as the City of Light since its main avenues were equipped with gas lamps in 1828 – needs no introduction, no arguments why one should visit it.
Taking as a point of reference the most attractions of the French capital, we will help you find the best accommodation and reveal the hottest culinary spots. Follow us!
The Parisian experience refers to at least 4 elements: historical monuments, cultural interest, haute cuisine, and elegant French hotels. We gathered the most landmarks of Paris and with these, as a starting point, we made an updated mini guide for you during your visit to the most romantic city in Europe!
Starting from the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
The Paris landmark was built by French engineer Gustave Eiffel for the International Exhibition of 1889, one hundred years after the French Revolution of 1789, and is now one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Made of glass, iron, and steel, it did not receive the admiration it enjoys today. In fact, we also have rare photos from when it was built! Know more about – Self drive in France
Strange as it may seem, Gustave Eiffel was criticized by the bourgeoisie, who even used to call him “an ugly and bad taste… a pencil sharpener”! In fact, the newspapers of the time were filled daily with angry letters from the artistic community of Paris…
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Today, climbing to the first floor of the most famous European tower, you can admire the wonderful view of 57m. from the ground. nd inside you will find restaurants, gift shops and a small post office from which you can send a postcard to Greece with a stamp from the Eiffel Tower. As you can imagine going up to the second floor the view is even more magnificent.
58 Tour Eiffel
Food tip: After enjoying the view from the telescopes, visit the Michelin-starred Le Jules Verne restaurant. But if you can’t find it open (it’s currently being renovated and will open its doors again in spring 2019), make sure you reserve a table at 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level (From €86/person, €22 for children’s meal, Daily 09:00 – 20:30, and then go up to the third floor to enjoy a wonderful glass of champagne in the famous Bar À Champagne). On the third and last floor of the Tower, you will be 256m above the ground (!) and everything will seem so… small. There at the top is also Gustave Eiffel’s office, which has been renovated according to how it was in reality. Wax effigies depict him welcoming Thomas Edison, who presents him with a gramophone…
Le Jules Verne Restaurant
Where to stay: And after a wonderful day at the most must-see monument in Paris, walk just 10 minutes to reach a wonderful 4-star boutique hotel called Arès Tour Eiffel. There is nothing better to end your day than a comfortable stay! Its rooms are decorated in a baroque style while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Enjoy its luxury mood using Hermès bath products and enjoy breakfast in your room. (From € 190/ Double room,
Ares Tour Eiffel
Info: The Eiffel Tower is located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. Metro Station: Bir-Hakeim – 6. Ticket prices up to the 1st floor by elevator €16/person and from the stairs €10/person, to the top by elevator €25/person and from the stairs and then elevator €19/person (Everyday 9:30 – 23:45,
Starting from the Louvre Museum (Musée du Louvre)
The Louvre was originally a defensive fortress, then was the palace of the absolute monarch “Sun King” and became a museum after the French Revolution. The collection of the Louvre Museum was first established in the 16th century by King Francis I and the first work of art to enter his collection was the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known to all of us as the Mona Lisa or La Gioconda by Leonardo Da Vinci.
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Today, the museum has a diverse collection of 35,000 priceless exhibits ranging from antiquity to the mid-19th century, with the most recent addition being the Glass Pyramid which was built in 1989 by renowned architect IM Pei and serves as its main entrance. museum. From 7/11/2018 until 18/02/2019 it will host the wonderful exhibition “A Dream of Italy The Marquis Campana’s Collection”!
Food tip: For more than 200 years, the French bourgeoisie has been making a culinary appointments at the two-Michelin-starred Le Grand Vefour (From €200/person, 17 Rue De Beaujolais. Alternatively, go for the stylish and affordable Bistrot Victoires to try the traditional steak with fries that the locals are crazy about… (From €20/person, 09:00 – 23:00, 6 Rue de la Vrillière)
Bons Enfants Hotel
Where to stay: To tour the entire museum you need a whole week, so we recommend a nearby option for accommodation. The Bons Enfants Hotel is located across the street (!) from the Louvre Museum and all of its rooms are bright and modernly decorated. Chandeliers and sconces with crystals, impressive mirrors, and comfortable armchairs set an elegant and refined setting (From € 120/double).
Info: The Louvre Museum is located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Metro Station: Louvre – Rivoli – 1. Daily 09:00-18:00, Wed & Fri. 09:00 -21:45, Tuesdays closed, Admission €10 for permanent exhibitions, €11 for periodical exhibitions, €14 for permanent and periodical exhibitions, free for permanent exhibitions to European citizens up to 25 years old, to the disabled and unemployed, students and professors of related fields. Free entry on the first Sunday of each month and on July 14,
Starting at the Arc de Triomphe
At the most majestic point of Paris, on the Champs-Élysées, is the Arc de Triomphe, one of the largest arches in the world (55m high, 45m wide, 22m deep), which was erected in 1806 by Napoleon for the celebration of his victories and was completed in 1836. Inside the Arc de Triomphe, there is a museum with photos, models, drawings, and documents from its construction in 1806.
Right there in Place Charles de Gaulle, 12 avenues converge which form a star offering a magnificent sight! The four columns on which the monument of French patriotism rests are decorated with very large reliefs, which depict the “Exodus of the Volunteers of 1792” by François Rude, the “Triumph of Napoleon in 1810” by Jean-Pierre Cortot, the “Resistance of 1814” and “Peace of 1815”, works by Antoine Etex.
Climb the 288 steps to the top and admire the magnificent view of the Champs Elysées. The avenue of the same name (Avenue des Champs-Élysées) is the most expensive avenue in Europe. Along the way, you will admire luxury shops with famous brands, theaters, hotels, and restaurants.
La Scène Thélème
Food tip: Michelin -starred La Scène Thélème is very close to you! See one of his performances (after 19:00) and taste unique flavors such as “Piquant “ and “Épicé”. Experience a unique theatrical and tasteful journey… (From €85/person, , Tuesday- Saturday 12:30 – 14:00 & 19:30 – 22:00, 18 Rue Troyon ). If you are a fish lover, one step from the Arc de Triomphe is the restaurant, Rech).
Arc de Triomphe Etoile
Where to stay: One of the most affordable accommodation options within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe is the Arc de Triomphe Etoile which has a trendy bar and daily newspapers to make you feel like a local.
Info: The Arc de Triomphe is located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris at the end of the Champs-Élysées (at the border of the 8th, 16th, and 17th arrondissements), Metro Station: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile – 1. Access to visit the arch is only possible underground, as pedestrians are prohibited from crossing the square. Daily 10:00 – 23:00 (Apr. -Sept.), 10:00 – 22:30 (Oct. -Mar.), €8/person and free for European citizens up to 25 years old.
Starting from Opéra Garnier
The Palais Garnier, one of the most impressive baroque buildings in Paris, is also called the Opéra Garnier and is historically known as the Opéra de Paris. The legend that the famous Phantom of the Opera lives there fueled the imagination of Gaston Leroux to write the well-known play.
The main hall of the theater occupies only 1/5 of the building, which has a total of 17 floors. It is striking that on the imposing marble staircase that one encounters as soon as one enters the building, no two steps are exactly the same as the other, but are made in such a way as to give a sense of movement! The ceiling of the great hall is also impressive and awe-inspiring, this project of 220 sq.m. was created by Chagall.
With a capacity of 2,700 spectators and 470 artists, it has hosted some of the most important works worldwide. In the permanent collection, you will find jewelry, sculptures, paintings, photographs, objects, literary works, and period costumes.
Lindt Store Paris
Food tip: For chocolate lovers, behind the Opéra is the Lindt Store Paris with delicious sweet suggestions that will take you on a journey. Try Lindt Chocolate Bar, unsurpassed ice cream, and dark hot chocolate… (Everyday 09:30 – 20:00, Sun. 11:00 – 19:00, 11 bis Rue Scribe,).
Where to stay: Stay near Opéra Garnier for regular visits! A good choice is the Châteaudun Opera located in the heart of Paris, between the famous Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Sacre-Coeur) and of course the Opera Garnier. From there you will have easy access to other Paris attractions, such as the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret. (From €90/double room, 30 Rue de Chateaudun).
Info: Opera Garnier is located in the 9th Arrondissement, right in front of the famous Galleries Lafayette. Metro stop: Chaussée d’Antin – La Fayette. Tickets from €5 to €180 zone, depending on show and seating.
Starting from NotreDame
It was here, on the banks of the Seine on the islet of La Cite, that Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed himself emperor. And of course, it was not by chance that he chose Notre Dame for this purpose… he wanted to emphasize the superiority of secular power.
The construction of the impressive Cathedral began in 1163 by the architect Maurice de Sully and was completed around 1345 many historical events have taken place there, such as the marriage of Henry of Navarre to Margaret of Valois, which caused the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day in August 1572. Today, the thousands of visitors who pour into the Saint Michel area to reach Notre-Dame de Paris want to mentally follow in the footsteps of Victor Hugo…
Medieval France, this “place and time of a beauty lost forever” comes to life before you. Let your imagination summon the heroes of the leading romantic prose and let your gaze be captivated by the Gothic architectural finesse… If you visit the church on a Sunday, you will have the opportunity to watch a church piano recital during the service.
It may not be the masterpiece it was before after the big fire, but it is expected to return soon and even more beautiful! Au Vieux Paris
Food tip: Only a few meters behind Notre-Dame de Paris, specifically on Rue Chanoinesse, is one of the oldest restaurants in the City of Light, “Au Vieux Paris” which is built with the same stones with which the temple! With antique furniture, old statues, an updated wine cellar, and a welcoming atmosphere, this restaurant has an authentic French identity!Hotel Saint-Luis Marais
Where to stay: You can stay just 1 km away from the temple, at the Hotel Saint-Luis Marais enjoying the balanced combination of austerity and nobility of the hotel and experiencing the romantic and nostalgic atmosphere of the area (From €117/double, 1 Rue Charles V).
Info: Notre Dame is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, Metro stop: Cite-4, Daily 08:00 – 18:45, Free entry, ticket only for the towers, (T. 01423456 10) – *After its recent destruction by fire, it is closed to the public
Starting from the Sacre Coeur Basilica
The catholic church was built between 1870 and 1919 as a tribute to the 58,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the Franco-Prussian war and still impresses today with its characteristic white color due to the Château-Landon stones… whenever it rains these stones secrete calcite, which acts as a bleach!
Sacre Coeur has managed with this “secret” to keep its radiant white color even in the polluted air of Paris. It is also impressive inside, with its neo-Byzantine mosaics, while in the crypt you will find an interesting collection of ecclesiastical relics and a slide show about its construction!
Built on the north side of Paris, the white Montmartre church is the largest art deco building in the world, at 89m high and 164.5m wide, while its bell is one of the heaviest in the world, weighing 18.5 tons! Also known as the “artist’s haunt”, it offers an indescribable view from a hill of the most picturesque district of Paris, where the artists of the 19th and 20th centuries lived.
Lo de Lolo
Food tip: Try the famous empanadas from Lo de Lolo and get to know what happens when French cuisine meets that of Argentina. Choose from menu “Tango” which includes an appetizer, 2 empanadas, great wine and an unforgettable dessert for only € 19 (Weekdays 19:00 – 23:00, Sat. 12:00 – 15:00 & 19:00 – 23 :00 00, Sun 12:00-15:00, 5 Rue Paul Albert).
Where to stay: Complete your experience in the area by choosing an accommodation that exudes Montmartre atmosphere and Parisian romance. L’ Ermitage Sacré-Coeur was built in 1885 by a banker to win the heart of a woman… Floral curtains and tapestries, antique furniture, and various types of flowers in its garden make up the perfect setting for your stay a breath away from the wonderful Sacré-Coeur (From € 110/double room, 24 Rue Lamarck, ).
Info: The Sacre Coeur church is located in the 18th arrondissement. Metro stop: Abbesse -12 or Blanche Daily 06:00 – 23:00 (the crypt and catacombs of the church 09:00-18:00). Free entry (for the crypt and catacombs €5 ticket),
Starting at the Panthéon
The French Pantheon is located in the Quartier Latin district, known for its student life and great bistro cafes. It was originally built in 1755 as a temple dedicated to the patroness of Paris, Saint Genova, in order to house her reliquary, but today it is not a religious mausoleum.
The Pantheon is a place dedicated to the great spirits of France, the cemetery of famous people such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, Monet, and others. In 1851, Léon Foucault proved the rotation of the Earth on its axis by hanging a 67m long pendulum in the Pantheon. from its central dome, familiar to all of us Foucault’s Pendulum. Today the original pendulum is kept in the Musée des Arts et Métiers, but a copy is now on public view in the Panthéon.
Marie Curie despite her Polish origins is the only woman to be in the Pantheon on her own merit, while Albert Camus does not rest in the Pantheon due to insurmountable objections to the French government from his family. The truth is that there were never codified rules for joining the Pantheon, while the majority of modern French people do not know most of the names that rest in it.
Food tip: Try soupe à l’oignon gratinée and delicious noix de Saint-Jacques risotto at Café Procope , the oldest café in Paris! There are also many who claim that it is the first coffee house in the world… Since its foundation, it has been a meeting place for intellectuals, politics, and letters. It is said that here Voltaire drank 40 cups of a mixture of coffee and chocolate every day, while patrons over the centuries include Balzac, Paul Verlaine, and Pierre Leroux.
Hotel de France Quartier Latin
Where to stay: An affordable option for accommodation in the Quartier Latin is the Hôtel de France Quartier Latin, whose small library offers a selection of guides to explore the city (From €59 / double, 108 Rue Monge, +33 1 47 07 19 04). Alternatively, choose the cozy, bright, and comfortable Victoire & Germain which serves breakfast daily. (From €220/double, 9 Rue Grégoire de Tours )
Info: The Panthéon is located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris near Sorbonne University and the Luxembourg Gardens. Metro stop: CardinalLemoine -M10. Daily 10:00 – 18:00, Admission €7/ person, €4 for 18-25-year-olds, and free for under 17 year olds.
- If you would like a free tour of a large part of Paris, contact the Paris Greeters volunteer tour group.
- The day passes for MMM cost around €11, while with the Paris Pass you have free access to most of the museums in the French capital.
- Discover Walks offers free guided tours of some of Paris’ must-sees. This is a group of locals who invite you to walk together in the City of Light!
- If you want a bike ride, rent one for around €2 from a Velib Station.