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Paris Travel Guide

Length: 111 pages1 hour


Welcome to Paris!

Why Paris? This is a city with a timeless familiarity, but which is constantly evolving. This is France's famously insular capital, which draws more visitors than anywhere else in the world. Here in the City of Light you'll gaze out on graceful illuminations, drink dark coffee, and find darker echoes of philosophy. Paris is a patchwork of separate intimate villages – sewn together to create this singular sprawling, breathing metropolis which has a clearer cut character than any other city. Paris is a place of contrasts.

Where do you start? Paris spirals outwards like a snail, its shell split into twenty arrondissements, (city districts) each section with a distinct and different colour and character. You can begin with the famous and the familiar, scaling Paris's gracefully symbolic iron-lattice, the Eiffel Tower, before ending up in a street-art adorned bar in a suburban neighbourhood, and spying art nouveau relics. Here, you can wander into a flagship haute couture house, hop on the metro and be deep within bohemia at a boutique pop-up shop in a heartbeat. Or bustle through the glorious maze of food stalls in the Marais, following the surging crowds and your nose to fresh fluffy bread, savoury cheese and sweet macaroons before retreating to the lungs of Paris, the lush green spaces of Jardin des Plantes or the privacy of a ZZZ box.

You might fall in love with Paris because it's a mad and quintessential mixture of what is sacred to Europe, and yet there are still surprises to uncover after a lifetime's worth of visits. Immerse yourself in the iconic and order a latte at Café de Flore, the hub of intelligentsia intrigue where the likes of Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre spent hours contemplating the futility of existence – whilst perhaps picking idly at a croissant. Yet you'll be surprised by the patchwork of idiosyncrasies and untold secrets which make a visit to France's capital city such an unforgettable experience, leaving you with memories strong enough to seduce you back time and time again.

Maybe you'll be won over by the balance of enduring tradition and progressive modernity: you'll find a gastronomic culture steeped in pride and exclusive ingredients; a familiar tableau of artistic greatness in Da Vinci's Mona Lisa housed at the Louvre; you can swoon at the luminous white dome of the Sacré Coeur, and witness first-hand the elegant classicism of French fashion. Then there's the postcard of the new Paris. Looking east from above the 13th Arrondissement, glass towers punctuate the rabbit warrens of old working-class neighbourhoods, where fashion trends are swallowed up as quickly as they catch on, and the city's new generation of creatives stroll towards the Rue Louise-Weiss, Paris's new Arts Centre. If history is held in Paris's palm, modernity and a new enlightenment fizzes at its fingertips.

You'll probably fall in love with Paris because it's alive, thriving: joyous proof that a city can love the trappings of the contemporary world without forgetting – or fossilising – it’s past.

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