Situated picturesquely on the River Seine in northern France, Paris' 20 arrondissements, or districts, spiral out from the first riverside one near the iconic Louvre gallery. With numerous historical and contemporary landmarks as a backdrop, Paris' atmospheric streets are famously beguiling. Launch yourself into Paris tourism. Start by prowling hip boutiques or hot new music venues in the up and coming 19th district or shopping in sumptuous food markets to inspire your inner Cordon Bleu chef.
Things to do
Wander Belle Epoque Montmartre, where a panorama of the city is available outside the Sacré-Coeur church. Then travel towards the Seine, glimpsing Notre Dame cathedral and iconic Eiffel Tower as part of a river cruise. Other Paris attractions include gallery big-hitters the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre, which you can enjoy before enjoying a wander in the elegant Jardin des Tuileries park.
Food & restaurants
The original home of haute cuisine, Paris restaurants set culinary standards the rest of the world only hopes to follow. Sample wine and food pairings fit for a king at Le Meurice in Paris' oldest palace hotel. Or, less extravagantly, amuse your bouche at traditional French brasserie La Mère Catherine. Drinks are enjoyed from dusk 'til dawn in many an atmospheric bar.
Trompe l'oeil wallpaper is a feature of the delightfully surreal interiors of Hotel La Maison de Champs-Elysees. The style accent at boutique option Thoumieux is on the daring and the interiors are an updated homage to Bohemian Paris at its fin de siècle best. Budget Paris hotels include the lashings of style at Hostellerie du Marais, in one of the city's hippest districts.
Shopping is de rigueur in the original home of haute couture. The gloriously grand Champs Elysees is where to go for world famous designer labels. Another good bet for upmarket Paris shopping is stylish department store Galleries Lafayette. Concept shop Collette is full of cool clothes, design and electronics items whilst vintage finds are plentiful in the boutiques of Le Marais district.
Overriding the notoriety it gained in the Moulin Rouge days, absinthe is coming back into fashion. The 'Green Fairy' is a hallucination supposedly caused by too much of this French tipple. One place to enjoy Paris tours with a difference is the suitably green bar at the Hotel Royal Fromentin.
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