Paris is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. The capital of France, Paris, is home to around 12 million people in its metropolitan area, while about 2.2 million live in the densely populated central city area. Located in northern France, on the banks of the river Seine, Paris has been inhabited from the third century BC when Celtic fishermen, called the Parisii, formed a settlement known as Lutetia. Today Paris is a vibrant city known for its iconic Eiffel Tower, and Arc de Triomphe, as well as being a hub of cinema, fashion, cuisine, art, music, and design.
How to reach Paris?
By air : Paris is easily accessible by air, with three airports offering convenient access for travelers worldwide. The airports are:
- Charles de Gaulle International Airport – this is the largest airport, with three terminals, where most international airlines operate. It is located northeast of the city.
- Orly International Airport – located to the southwest of the city, this airport is now used mostly for both domestic and international departures.
- Beauvais – a smaller airport used by airlines such as Ryanair and WizzAir.
- Gare du Nord – trains to and from northern Europe and the UK
- Gare d'Austerlitz – trains to and from central and southern France and southern Europe
- Gare de l'Est – trains to central Europe
- Gare de Lyon – trains to and from Southern and eastern France, Italy, and Switzerland
- Gare de Bercy – trains to and from Italy and central France
- Gare St Lazare – trains within France
- Gare Montparnasse – trains to and from west and south-west France and Spain.
By bus : Paris is well-connected by bus routes across Europe, with companies such as Eurolines, Megabus, and iDBUS offering bus services ranging from budget travel to luxury bus services from European cities to Paris.
From the airports, train and bus stations, local trains and buses offer easy access to the city. Within Paris, a well-interlinked system of public transportation consisting of the metro with 16 lines, buses, and trains provide convenient interlinks throughout the city.
Weather in Paris
Though not on the coast Paris has a maritime climate and experiences warm summers and cool winters. Paris experiences light showers through the year, and occasional snowfall in deep winter.
Spring and fall experience rainfall and cooler weather, while the summer months are pleasant and warm with temperatures ranging around 23 C.
Which is the best season to visit Paris?
The summer months (May to July) are the best time to visit Paris as the weather is pleasantly warm and days are longer, so you can make the best of the cool evenings to see the sights of the city and enjoy its vibrant nightlife.
In and Around Paris
There's lots to see and do in Paris and this beautiful city offers something for tourists of all ages and interests.
Things to do
- See historic monuments : Paris has many historic monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Catacombs, the Pantheon, Grand Arche de la Défense, and the Château de Versailles on the outskirts of the city.
- Visit world-famous museums : Paris is home to many amazing museums which are repositories of some of the finest works of art. The Louvre heads the list with the Mona Lisa being the pride of its collection; the Musée d'Orsay is home to works by Monet, Van Gogh and Whistler; the Rodin Museum is a comprehensive exhibition of this sculptor's works; the Picasso Museum has a range of works by this genius; the Musée de l'Orangerie in the Jardin des Tuileries has a superb collection of the impressionist and post-Impressionist painters including Claude Monet's the Nymphéas (Water Lilies); the Musée Marmottan-Monet has over 300 paintings by Claude Monet as well as his contemporary artists; the Musée Delacroix, located in his former house, has an impressive collection of the paintings of this master; the Centre Georges Pompidou is an eye-catching museum of modern art; Cluny is a medieval museum known for its tapestries, and located in a historic building; and Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie is a sience museum of particular interest to children.
- Go to the opera : Listen to the finest voices sing opera classics at the Opera Garnier has housed the Paris Opera since 1875. The grand building is well worth a look too.
- Explore the artists' quarter : Take a walking tour of Monmartre in Paris, known as the artists' quarter because so many painters, musicians, and writers lived here from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.
- Visit grand churches : Notre Dame Cathedral, a grand Gothic structure immortalized in Victor Hugo's work, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Sacré Coeur a church located at highest point in Paris, which offers a panoramic view of the city; and Sainte Chapelle chapel, known for its beautiful stained glass windows.
- Visit a world-famous cemetery : The Père-Lachaise Cemetery is home to the graves of Frederic Chopin, Georges Bizet, Édith Piaf, Jacques-Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Molière, Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, JRD Tata, and Jim Morrison among many others.
- See a fashion show : Paris is home to many international designers and their boutiques. From Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Cartier, Chanel and Guerlain, from clothes to jewelry and perfume you'll find the best in Paris. The twice-yearly Paris fashion week is another not-to-be-missed event for fashionistas.
Paris offers a wide range of accommodation options for travelers from luxury resorts for the connoisseur to bed and breakfast deals for budget travelers. In between is a great choice of business, and mid-range hotels. With over 70 luxury hotels in Paris, you're sure to be spoilt for choice. Some of the best places to stay in Paris are:
Luxury Hotels in Paris
Mid-range Hotels in Paris
Budget Hotels in Paris
Where to eat in Paris
Paris has over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants and is known for both haute cuisine and nouvelle cuisine. While in Paris you should not miss out on the opportunity to eat at Michelin-starred restaurants. Some of the restaurants that have received three Michelins stars are:
Where to shop in Paris
From exclusive designer stores to quaint flea markets, Paris has something for every shopper. Whether you're looking for a new designer gown or a pieceof antique furniture, you're sure to find it at a market in Paris. Some of the best places to shop in Paris are:
Universities/Colleges in Paris
Paris is home to many world-class educational institutions and has been ranked at the top of the QS Best Student Cities list in 2013, its second year at the top. The QS World University Rankings are annual university rankings published by the education analysis firm Quacquarelli Symonds.
Some of the best colleges and universities in Paris are:
Entertainment Options in Paris
Paris has lots to offer with a vibrant nightlife and numerous entertainment options. Some of the best known are:
- Disneyland Paris : A place for the whole family, previously known as Euro Disney Resort, this theme park replicates the Disney experience from the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Located 32 km east of central Paris, Disneyland Paris is the tourist attraction that receives the most visitors in all of Europe and France. It contains two theme parks, an entertainment center, shopping and dining venues, resort hotels and more, offering a fun experience for the entire family.
- Parc Astérix : This uniquely French amusement park is located 35 km north of Paris and brings to life the popular cartoon characters Asterix and Obelix. It has a range of thrilling roller coasters and rides with Greek and Roman themes.
- Moulin Rouge : If you're looking for more adult entertainment, visit the home of cabaret and see the distinctive red windmill on its roof, as well as the spirited can-can dance. Here you can enjoy the musical and dance entertainment in surroundings that take you back to the decadent turn of the nineteenth century.
Paris plays host to a range of sports tournaments and cultural events every year. So whether you're a tennis or cycling enthusiast or a fan of the ballet or the opera you'll find many options to choose from among the sports and events that Paris has to offer. Some of the major sports tournaments and cultural events are listed below:
Major Sports Events in Paris
- Tour de France (cycling) - This grueling annual race held in June-July every year, extends over 3,000 kms, passes through the French Alps and always ends at the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
- Paris Marathon (long-distance running) - Held every year on a sunday in April, the Paris Marathon follows a scenic route through Paris, starting at the Champs-Élysées and ending at Foch Avenue.
- French Open at Roland-Garros (tennis) - The second of the four Grand Slam tournaments of the tennis world held every year, the red clay of Roland Garros hosts the French Open tennis event in late May and early June.
- Six Nations Tournament (rugby) - This annual championship between the six top rugby playing nations of the world will be held in Paris in February-March 2015.
- Grand Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - This flat race for thoroughbred horses of age three and above takes place at the Longchamp racecourse on the first Sunday in October every year.
Major Cultural Events in Paris
- La Fête de la Musique - This festival of music celebrates the best of Parisian street music with hundreds of musicians performing in the cafes, bars and streets of Paris. Performances range from jazz to hip-hop and audiences are invited to join in. Held every year on June 21st this is a not-to-be-missed event for music lovers.
- Gay Pride Parade - Held every year in June, this colorful event celebrates the LGBT movement and the challenges it has overcome. While highlighting social issues the parade is also a vibrant celebration of life in all its colors.
- Bastille Day - Marked by processions and fireworks displays La Fête Nationale or La Fête de la Bastille marks the liberation of the prison and fortress of the Bastille on 14 July, 1789. Every year 14th July is celebrated with fervor to mark the beginning of the French Revolution.
- Nuit Blanche - White Night is an annual cultural festival where museums, art galleries, sports venues and cafes open their doors till midnight or all night. Held in October, the Paris White Night has become an eagerly anticipated arts festival every year.
- Holiday Lights - Towards the end of the year as Christmas and New Year approaches the main shopping venues, public buildings, monuments, and ice skating rinks are beautifully decorated with lights. The Christmas Lights of Paris are a sight to be seen and enjoyed.
- 52 BC – The settlement of Lutetia, is set up by the Gallo-Romans, which later becomes Paris,
- 1113 AD - Pierre Abélard founds his school
- 1163 – Construction of the cathedral of Notre Dame is started
- 1257 - The Sorbonne University is established
- 1682 – King Louis XIV shifts the French court from Tuileries palace to the Versailles palace
- 1789 – The fortess and prison the Bastille is stormed by the people, in a turning point in the French Revolution
- 1789 - The Royal family forced to move Versailles back to Paris
- 1814 - Paris is occupied by the Sixth Coalition armies after Napoleon is defeated
- 1815 - Paris is occupied, by the Seventh Coalition
- 1840 - Napoleon's remains are brought back to Paris from St Helena and he is given a state funeral
- 1853 – The center of Paris is rebuilt by Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann
- 1855 - Exposition Universelle is held
- 1856 - Congress of Paris is held
- 1880 - The Seine River freezes over. As Paris suffers unusualy cold weather
- 1870 - Siege of Paris by the Prussian General von Blumenthal refuses to shell the city
- 1871 – The Paris Commune falls
- 1889 - Exposition Universelle and the inauguration of the Eiffel Tower
- 1900 - Paris Métro is opened and Paris hosts the Summer Olympics
- 1914 – German Army stopped 25 km from Paris in the initial phase of World War 1
- 1918 – Armistice Day celebrated in Paris at the end of World War 1
- 1919 – Paris Peace Conference and creation of the League of Nations
- 1924 – Paris hosts the Summer Olympics
- 1925 - Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes
- 1931 - French Colonial Exposition
- 1940 – The German Army enters Paris
- 1944 - Allied troops liberate Paris
- 1968 - Student riots and strikes threaten the government of President Charles de Gaulle
- 1995 – Jacques Chirac is elected President, ending 14 years of socialist rule
- 1999 – The Bibliothèque Nationale de France opens
- 2002 – Jacques Chirac is re-elected President of France
- 2007 – Nicolas Sarkozy wins the Presidential election
- 2012 – Francois Hollande wins the Presidential election
Last Updated : December 03, 2013