Welcome to our Paris Guide
For great tips and handy hints about how to get around, what to visit and where to shop, our Paris guide is at your service. Easily amongst the best European cities for a short break or getaway, Paris is likely to bring out the sightseer, the foodie, the romantic and the shopaholic in you all at once. With easy access via the Eurostar and regular flights, you could be enjoying the spectacular sophistication and incomparable culture of Paris in no time at all.
The French capital has an extraordinary list of must-see attractions; no trip to Paris is complete without seeing the iconic landmarks – the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the pretty Notre Dame Cathedral to name just a few. The incredibly popular Louvre Museum and, a little out of town, the magical Disneyland Paris are both wonderful attractions if you have the time. For a more leisurely activity, try a relaxing cruise up the Seine or hire a bike and explore the city – visit the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery, the stunning Opera Garnier or the vibrant district of Le Marais.
When evening rolls around, be certain to take in gorgeous views of the City of Lights from a good vantage point – we recommend the Montparnasse Tower for a complete panorama of the city at night from up high. Round off your perfect Parisian day in a trendy bistro or catch a show at one of the famous cabarets – The Lido or The Moulin Rouge are both great choices.
Must do's by day
No break in Paris is complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower
See the world’s most famous art at the impressive Louvre Museum
Go shopping on the Champs-Élysées and see the Arc de Triomphe
Must do's by night
Sip champagne and appreciate the City of Lights at Montparnasse Tower
Enjoy a sublime meal and sail up the Seine on a Dinner Cruise
Travelling to Paris
With two major airports located close to the city and the Eurostar service running directly into the city centre, travelling to Paris is simple as well as great value for money.
With excellent road links Paris is easily accessible from all routes. Travelling from the North the A1 and A3 link to the Paris Ring Road - the Priphrique. While it is connected to the South via the A5 and A6.
Paris is served by two main airports, Charles De Gaulle International and Paris Orly, and both are well serviced by buses, taxis and the RER. Flights from the UK take just over 1 hour and are available from most regional UK airports.
Eurostar breaks are available from St Pancras International to Gare Du Nord, placing you in the centre of Paris in less than 3 hours, relaxed and refreshed. Travel in style and comfort and enjoy easy check in, reserved seating and a bar buffet serving light refreshments.
Getting Around in Paris
Paris has an excellent public transport system, consisting of taxis, buses, bicycle rental, underground metro and express trains (RER), the latter being the most cost effective. Or explore the city on foot; it's a great way to get off the well trodden, tourist trail.
The bus system is extensive, but is obviously slower and less frequent than the metro and RER. Buses are best used for getting to destinations these do not service.
Much safer than in London, Paris is a Bike-friendly city – so much so that seeing Paris on two wheels is a quintessential experience on your short break.
The quickest and easiest way to get around is on the underground metro and RER. You can transfer between the two at no extra cost.
Getting to Paris
Paris is ideally situated for a short break on the continent with Eurostar trains transporting passengers from London's St Pancras International to 'Paris' Gare du Nord station in under 3 hours, meaning visitors to the City of Light can easily swap lunch by the Thames for dinner by the Seine. As France's capital city, Paris is well connected to the nation's major roads, and is roughly a 3 hour drive from Calais for visitors travelling to France via the ferry with their own car. Flying to Paris is also an easy option, as the city is served by two major airports; both located less than an hour's drive from the centre of Paris and well connected to the city's public transport systems.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- To get to or from Charles De Gaulle and Paris Orly airports, take the RER line B3 to the Antony stop then pick up the Orlyval metro or the Air France Shuttle Bus
- For larger, comfier seats on your Eurostar journey to Paris upgrades to Standard Premier Class are available.
- As a guide, you can expect an average taxi fare of €25 during the day and €30 at night from Paris Orly Airport into the centre of Paris.
Paris is well connected to the UK and most of the rest of the world as it is served by two main airports, Charles De Gaulle International and Paris Orly. Travelling to and from the airports from the centre of Paris is easy as and both are well serviced by buses, taxis and the RER train network. Flights from the UK take between 1 and two hours and are available from London Heathrow as well as most regional UK airports such as Liverpool and Birmingham.
Paris is well connected to France's road network, with the Paris Ring Road, the Priphrique, offering access to the A1 and A3 to the north of the city and the A5 and the A6 to the south. Drivers travelling over from the UK via ferries from Dover to Calais can drive to Paris in around 3 hours, heading south along the A16. Passengers arriving with their cars in Caen or Le Havre after taking the ferry from Portsmouth can drive to Paris in just over 2 hours, travelling south-east on the A13.
Eurostar trains from London's St Pancras International station to Paris' Gare du Nord station take approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. Visitors travelling from the south east can also depart from Ebbsfleet and Ashford International stations. A great thing about travelling on the Eurostar is there's no need to worry about checking-in your bags or how much your case weighs. There isn't a separate check-in for baggage as long as you haven't got more than two medium suitcases and one piece of hand luggage per person, so it's perfect for travelling back with all your souvenirs!
Getting Around Paris
Paris has an excellent public transport system, with an extensive underground metro network in the city centre and express trains (RER) that connect the city with the Parisian suburbs and beyond. Getting around the city centre by bus or taxi is also a viable option if you prefer to stay above ground! Alternatively, exploring on foot, hiring a bike or a scooter or even travelling along the river Seine are excellent ways to take in the sights while you find your way around.
Top 3 Travel Tips
- Retro style scooters are available to hire from Free Scoot in the 11th arrondissement from 30 Euros a day for adults over 21. Prices include insurance, helmets and gloves.
- If you're staying for more than a week, the cheapest way to use public transport in Paris is to get a combined travel pass that allows unlimited travel on the metro, RER and buses.
- For a flexible, hop-on, hop-off approach to cruising on the Seine, sail with the Compagnie de Batobus. Adult day passes are from 12 Euros and boats depart every 15 to 30 minutes from various stops.
The Paris bus system is extensive, but is slower and less frequent than the underground metro and RER network. However, travelling by bus is a more picturesque way of moving around the city and taking in the views as you get to stay above ground! You must validate your T+ ticket as soon as you get on the bus and your ticket is then valid for 90 minutes and can be used on any bus within this timeframe. Packets of 10 T+ tickets called 'un carnet' are available from street tobacconists or at the metro stations.
Hiring bikes in Paris is easy with the Vlib system. Pick up a bike at any of the city's metro stations or at one of the many bike stands, ride around for half an hour for free then leave it at one of the Vlib stands at your chosen destination. For longer journeys or if you're staying in Paris for a while, 1-day or 7-day Vlib' tickets are available to buy from any of the Vlib' Service Points. The Vlib bikes are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be used by anyone over the age of 14.
With one of the densest city centre transport systems in the world the quickest and easiest way to get around Paris is on the underground metro and RER. There are 16 metro lines and over 300 stops across the city making every corner of Paris easily accessible. You can transfer between the metro and the RER at no extra cost. Travel cards are available for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days, for either zones 1-3 covering the centre of Paris, or zones 1-5 covering the whole of the network including the RER to the airports, Versailles and Disneyland Paris.
Shopping in Paris
Paris truly is a haven for those looking to indulge in some retail therapy on a short break, with a myriad of world-famous fashion brands calling Paris their home. Designer boutiques such as Chanel, Hermes, and YSL can be found on the stylish Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor as well as on the iconic Champs-Elyses. Don't miss the iconic Parisian Department stores known as <em>grand magasins</em> such as Galeries Lafayette, Bon Marche and Printemps.If you're on a stricter budget you can hunt for a bargain at the city's flea markets and vintage boutiques.
Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Flea Market, 140 Rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen
Paris's biggest flea market at 'Les Puces de Saint-Ouen' is a must visit. Head on over to the market which opens every Saturday and Sunday from 9am - 6pm. The market spans across 7 hectares so arriving early and allowing enough time for exploring the many stalls is advised.
Top 5 Department Stores
Galeries Lafayette, 40 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
Housed in stunning Art Deco surroundings, the Galeries Lafayette department store is a Paris fashion institution, first inaugurated in 1893.
Le Bon March, 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris
A classic Left-Bank Paris department store, Le Bon March is housed in an ornate building conceived by Gustave Eiffel, dating back to 1852, and features a world-renowned Wedding Boutique.
Printemps, 64 boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris
Founded in 1865 the flagship Printemps store on the Boulevard Haussman neighbours other grand magasins such as the Galeries Lafayette, and features an iconic 1920s glass dome above the main restaurant.
Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville (BHV), 52 rue de Rivoli, 75189 Paris
Known simply to Parisians as BHV, the flagship Bazaar de l'Hotel de Ville store on Rue de Rivoli has sizable sections devoted to beauty, fashion, accessories, books and crafts.
Franck et Fils,80 rue de Passy, 75016 Paris
A concept' department store where fashion and art combine', Franck et Fils stocks some of the most innovate new designers' creations as well as collections from the best-known French brands.
Top 5 Designer Boutiques
Chanel Boutique, 21 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor, 75008 Paris
Discover the latest collections from the iconic French brand in their chic boutique on the stylish Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor.
Louis Vuitton, 101 Champs-Elyses, 75008 Paris
Visit the famous patterned accessory brand's flagship store on the Champs-Elyses, first opened in 1854.
Christian Dior, 30 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris
The scene of Carrie Bradshaw's embarrassing trip as she stayed in the city, Christian Dior is an iconic haute-couture Parisian boutique.
Hermès, 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor, 75008 Paris
Drool over beautiful Hermès bags at their Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor, one of three boutiques in the city.
YSL, 32 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor, 75008 Paris
Check out the newest designs from classic French fashion house Yves Saint Laurent at their boutique store.
Top 5 Stylish Stores
Colette, 213 rue Saint-Honor, 75001 Paris
Visit the world-renowned Parisian concept store Colette which offers cutting edge fashion and home wear brands, and also features an exhibition space.
Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris
Ease your shopping conscience at trendy concept store Merci, where 100% of the profits go to charity, conceived by the likes of Paul Smith and Stella McCartney.
FREE'P'STAR, 61 rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
The FREE'P'STAR chain of vintage stores in the La Marais district of the city are the perfect place to hunt for an eye catching vintage bag, scarf or piece of jewellery.
Espace Kiliwatch, 64 rue Tiquetonne, 75002 Paris
Shop the cool collections of urban clothing, from brands including Levis, Fred Perry and Ray Ban, as well as vintage gems from Burberry and more.
Suite 114, 114 rue du Bac, 75007 Paris
Offering a blend of glamour and femininity with minimalist chic, Suite 114 is housed in the penthouse suite of a boutique hotel and offers a unique shopping experience.
Eating out in Paris
Paris is renowned as being a major player on the world gastronomy stage and is home to over 5,000 restaurants, with over 70 being awarded Michelin stars, including 10 with the coveted 3 stars. Try delicious Parisian classics such as a plateau fruits de mer and be sure to sample the infamous frog's legs and snails. As well as world class top restaurants serving an exciting range of cuisines from around the globe, Paris is also famous for its Patisseries and Cafes, whose street-side terraces decked out with cafe style tables and chairs are an integral part of the iconic Parisian scenery.
L'cume St-Honor, 6 rue du March St.-Honor, 75001
Arguably one of the best places for oysters in Paris, this tiny little fishmonger has tables in the back for you to enjoy a freshly made seafood platter. Open from 11am to 7pm Tuesday to Thursday, and until 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Top 5 Restaurants
Le Chateaubriand, 129 avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris
A neo-bistro in the 11th arrondissement, far removed from the pomp and ceremony of other Parisian establishments, with an air of nonchalance to its bold, cutting edge dishes.
Le Meurice, 228 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
Enjoy triple Michelin starred dining in a grand and glamorous setting at inventive chef Yannick Allno's restaurant at the heart of Hotel Meurice.
Les Tablettes, 16 avenue Bugeaud, 75016 Paris
Discover Chef Jean-Louis Nomicos's new restaurant in the stylish 16th arrondissement and enjoy stunning dishes with a Provençale flavour, such as squid and artichokes barigoule.
Le Stella, 133 avenue Victor Hugo, 75016 Paris
For a fine feast of French classics, from onion soup to steak tartare, try La Stella; an independent brasserie with real character in the quiet corner of the 16th arrondissement.
Yam'Tcha, 4 rue Sauval, 75001 Paris
Enjoy Michelin starred female chef Adeline Grattard's Asian inspired cuisine at the small and charming Yam'Tcha restaurant, with tasting menus that change daily.
Top 5 Patisseries
Pierre Herm, 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
Indulge in one of Pierre Herm's candy-coloured macaroons and don't miss the rest of his luxurious and whimsical creations such as the delicious vanilla flan.
Pain de Sucre, 14 rue Rambuteau, 75003 Paris
Expect brightly coloured macaroons in a rainbow of flavours, giant marshmallow cubes and wall-to-wall displays of delicious preserves in this well-loved Patisserie.
Bl Sucr, 7 rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris
Discover the charming and unpretentious Bl Sucr in the Ledru-Rollin neighbourhood, not far from Bastille. Their goodies have very moderate prices, and the thinly-glazed madeleines have earned a cult following.
Carl Marletti, 51 rue Censier, 75005 Paris
After making his mark at the Grand HÔtel Intercontinental, Carl Marletti opened his own boutique at the end of 2007. His creations are exquisite and brightly coloured, often featuring innovative floral notes.
Ladure, 21 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris
The renowned pastel coloured macaroons of Ladure are not to be missed during a visit to Paris, with a variety of flavours to try all sold in exquisite collectible packaging.
Top 5 Cafes
HÔtel Amour, 8 rue de Navarin, 75009 Paris
Enjoy a coffee in this pocket-sized hotel's courtyard garden, with its greenery and mini- pond.
Coutume Caf, 47 rue de Babylone, 75007 Paris
This high-ceilinged cafe is a coffee geek's dream: beans are roasted on site and brewed in just about every contraption known to man.
Cafs Verlet, 256 rue Saint-Honor, 75001 Paris
Just a block from the Louvre, this century-old coffee shop stocks more than 20 varieties of single-origin beans and house blends.
Le Petit ChÂteau d'Eau, 34 rue du ChÂteau d'Eau, 75010 Paris
A stone's throw from the place de la Rpublique, le Petit ChÂteau d'Eau is an old cafe that has retained a friendly atmosphere.
Caf des 2 Moulins, 15 rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
The Caf des 2 Moulins' claim to fame came in the instant classic film Amlie, which used it as the heroine's charmingly vintage place of work.
As well as world-class shopping and dining, Paris has a varied and eclectic nightlife scene to discover on a short break. For stunning views of the city take a moonlit dinner cruise along the Seine and enjoy glistening views of the city lit up at night. Sample the Parisian cultural highlights and head to the theatre or the opera, or if you're feeling energetic visit the lively nightclubs in the Bastille area. Other classic ways to spend an evening in Paris include a trip to a live Jazz club or a night at the cinema so there really is plenty on offer.
Top 10 Paris Nightlife
Eiffel Tower Light Show
Watching the Eiffel Tower Light Show at night time is a must. 20,000 flash bulbs give the tower a sparkly appearance every hour on the hour.
Seine River Cruise
Discover stunning views of the sparkling city reflected in the waters of the Seine as you cruise along the river.
Lido Cabaret, 116 Champs Elysee, 75008 Paris
Enjoy a thrilling show from the finest show girls in the city at the legendary Lido Cabaret.
ThÂtre Mogador, 25 rue de Mogador 75009 Paris
Built in 1913 this Parisian music hall now hosts stage shows and touring productions such as Sister Act and Mamma Mia!
Paris Opera, 8 rue Scribe, 75009 Paris
Enjoy a night at the opera at the Palais Garnier, an elegant opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 to house the Paris Opera.
Le Carmen, 35 rue Duperr, 75009 Paris
From new French bands to the hottest DJs, le Carmen is the ideal spot for watching a live gig in style; with cosy salons, glittering chandeliers and velvet sofas.
Autour de Midi, 11 rue Lepic, 75018 Paris
For a laid back Jazz club with free entry on Tuesdays and Wednesdays head to the "cave au jazz", Autour du Midi.
La Cinémathèque, 51 rue de Bercy, 75012 Paris
Recently moved from the Palais de Chaillot to the Frank Gehry-designed former American Centre, La Cinémathèque continues to serve world-class programming, with a screen dedicated to the history of cinema and another to retrospectives.
Le Trianon, 80 boulevard Rochechouart, 75018 Paris
Resurrected as a concert venue, le Trianon Theatre at the foot of Montmartre originally opened as a music hall in 1894.
Le Lucernaire, 53 rue Notre-Dame des Champs, 75006 Paris
With three theatres, three cinema screens, a bookshop, an exhibition space, a bar and a restaurant, Le Lucernaire is a busy cultural hub.
From trendy cocktail bars to suave wine bars and cool café bars, Paris is full of stylish and exciting places to enjoy a tipple during your city break. If you’ve got someone to impress during your stay the city’s most upmarket bars can be found in the area surrounding The Louvre. Laid-back and quirky bars can be found in the artisan area of Montmartre. As an international city that attracts visitors from around the world, there are also plenty of bars with a global twist.
Top 10 Paris Bars
Experimental Cocktail Club, 37 Rue Saint-Sauveurv, 75002 Paris
After sampling the Experimental Cocktail Club’s fantastic creations, you’ll never want to go back to regular cocktails. Try the Bee’s Kiss, a blend of Jamaican rum Appleton VX, cream, floral honey and crushed Indonesian pepper.
Le Baron Rouge, 1 Rue Théophile Roussel, 75012 Paris
Le Baron Rouge wine bar serves quality local vintages in a non-pretentious setting. On Sundays, try a plate of charcuterie with a robust red.
Connolly's Corner, 12 Rue de Mirbel, 75005 Paris
The oldest Irish pub on the left bank, Connolly’s Corner could almost be mistaken for an authentic Dublin tavern. It’s said to serve the best Guinness in Paris.
La Fusée, 168 Rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris
Le Fusée wine bar attracts a young crowd with its warm atmosphere, charming little terrace, hangings of coloured garlands and reasonable prices for the area.
Le China, 50 Rue de Charenton, 75012 Paris
The China cocktail bar is a chic Asian bar-restaurant whose exotic décor is inspired by a 1930s Shanghai club. Behind the chrome counter, the staff prepare distinguished cocktails, like the Hemingway; an alchemy of brown Cuban rum, Cointreau and lime.
Delaville Café, 34 Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle, 75010 Paris
Oozing celebrity chic, the Delaville Café is a not-to-be-missed stop on the Grands Boulevards. The café-bar features a vast sunny terrace, perfect for sipping on a cool glass of champers in the summer months.
The Lions, 120 Rue Montmartre, 75002 Paris
Showing live sports, The Lions is a traditional English pub in the Stock Market quarter where bankers and beer lovers come to watch a game or unwind after work.
Le Lèche Vin, 13 rue Daval, 75011 Paris
With a wine list offering a selection of vintages from independent wine growers, Le Lèche Vin wine bar is a typical Parisian bistro that has become a mecca for wine lovers who are also partial to groove, jazz and a blast of hip-hop.
Barbershop, 68 Avenue de la République, 75011 Paris
Recalling Brooklyn’s trendy gallery-bars, The Barbershop is an art-lover’s haven. Enjoy a drink while browsing the temporary exhibitions or street art that decorates the walls.
La Famille, 41 Rue des Trois Frères, 75018 Paris
For top-notch fusion cuisine and delicious cocktails with innovative flavours, try hidden gem La Famille; a cosy restaurant-bar at the head of Rue Trois Frères.
From world-class museums to historical landmarks there’s a huge variety of attractions to visit in the French capital. Replete with monuments such as the iconic Eiffel Tower, you can barely turn a corner in Paris without wanting to stop and take more photographs of the stunning scenery. There’s also something to keep visitors of all ages entertained during your Paris break. From the thrilling rides and memorable characters at Disneyland Paris to the dazzling showgirls at the Moulin Rouge, you’ll be spoilt for choice for things to see and do during your visit.
Top 10 Paris Attractions
Disneyland Paris, Marne-La-Vallee, 77700 France
Meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse and all your other favourite Disney characters and discover two amazing parks of rides and attractions.
Aquarium de Paris, 5 avenue Albert De Mun, 75016 Paris
Located in the Trocadero gardens opposite the Eiffel Tower, the Aquarium houses over 10,000 fish from a variety of species.
Eiffel Tower, Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris
Named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built it, the tower was erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair and has become an icon of the city.
Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris
Honouring those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe is one of the most iconic monuments in the city.
Notre Dame Cathedral, 6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Place Jean-Paul-II, 75004 Paris
Widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the most well-known churches in the world, Notre Dame de Paris is the home of the Archbishop of Paris.
Paradis Latin Cabaret, 28 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 75005 Paris
Originally built in 1803 and one of the most famous shows in the city, the Paradis Latin Cabaret is well worth seeing whilst in Paris.
Palace of Versailles, Place d'Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution.
Musée du Louvre, Cour Carrée et Pyramide du Louvre, 75058 Paris
The Louvre is the world's most visited museum as well as a historic monument. Famously known as the home of the Mona Lisa, the museum houses 35,000 objects.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris
Located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city, the Sacré-Cœur Basilica Catholic Church is a popular landmark of the city.
Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
Found on the left bank, the Musée d’Orsay is best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces.