Table of contents:
- Orientation by districts
- Heart of Paris
- Start inspection
- Guest area
- Latin Quarter
- South Pigalle and Montmartre
- Out of the guide
- Unsafe areas
- Nightlife World
- Best time for museums
- Summer Paris
- Paris in winter
- Autumn-summer season in Paris
To make your stay in Paris the most enjoyable and least unpleasant surprises, you should know some of the seasonal features of this city, as well as the location of its main attractions. Since you will have to navigate in the capital of France mainly by twenty municipal districts and the names of metro stations, it is better to study this scheme in advance. It will not be superfluous to order passes to some of the city's museums in advance, otherwise you will have to spend a lot of time in long lines.
Orientation by districts
To find the planned attractions, shops, places of entertainment and evening entertainment in Paris, you need to know how to navigate in such a big city. Paris is planned quite simply. It is divided into the right and left banks of the Seine (north and south of the river, respectively) and is subdivided into 20 districts (districts). The districts are given numbers and names, the 1st arrondissement (Louvre) is located on the right north bank of the Seine.
Regions with increasing numbers are arranged in a clockwise spiral. This means that the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th districts form the central core of the city on both sides of the river. The more district numbers, the further awaythey are from the center, so they are generally considered more residential areas. Each county is made up of four neighborhoods. When traveling around the city by taxi, it is advisable to refer to the area, and not the name of the street, and even better - to the nearest metro station. Street names don't really matter, as most of them change their names when they move to another area.
Heart of Paris
Most of the sites and establishments that you should definitely visit on your first trip to Paris are in the central districts, the safest and most suitable for pedestrians. These six districts cover famous restaurants, shops and attractions. The most popular neighborhoods are the Marais on the right bank (4th arrondissement) and Saint-Germain on the left bank (6th arrondissement). Most people associate the left bank with classical architecture. The right bank has acquired a modern appearance. The best and most expensive hotels are located around the central core of Paris, although luxury accommodation can be found elsewhere.
Probably, it is better to start excursions in Paris from the 1st district, where many famous sights are concentrated. Here you can visit the Louvre, see the beautiful stained-glass windows of the Gothic chapel Sainte Chapelle, stroll through the Tuileries Garden or have a glass of wine in one of the quaint cafes of the Palais Royal Garden. From here you can easily reach the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Pompidou Cultural Center (4th arrondissement), the Champs-Elysées (8th arrondissement) in a few minutes on foot, and next to the Musée d'Orsay (7th arrondissement) and one ofthe most picturesque urban areas of Saint-Germain (6th district). Combined with a fantastic culinary scene including some of the best restaurants in Paris such as Spring and Verjus, there are plenty of activities for diners to choose from day or night.
Worth a stroll through Place Vendôme, where there are many central boutiques of famous brands and jewelry stores. The recently refurbished luxurious Hotel Ritz is also one of the Parisian landmarks. Coco Chanel lived here for 37 years, Hemingway, Chaplin, Marcel Proust, Princess Diana and other celebrities also stayed at the hotel. Sipping your ordered cocktail at the Hemmingway bar, you can imagine the noisy parties that famous people once threw here.
From the first district, the Eiffel Tower is not far and conveniently accessible by metro, as the district is well connected to the metro, and the largest Chatelet station serves five lines, as well as a train that goes to Disneyland in Paris.
The 7th arrondissement is the political and administrative center of the city, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of neighboring Saint-Germain. Booking a room in one of the hotels in the 7th arrondissement will be the best solution for the first tour in Paris. It is here that the famous Eiffel construction, the Bourbon Palace, the Champ de Mars, restaurants and fashionable salons of the highest class are located. In this area you can see the most beautiful architecture of the city and the charming market streetRue Cler. The district is also known for its museums of Branly, Orsay, Rodin.
To get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, you need to book tickets in advance. If you buy them on the day of visiting the sights, then it is better to do this by going up to the second floor. The queue here will be decent, but much less than below. And places in a restaurant on the Eiffel Tower in Paris are booked about six months in advance.
In the 7th district from the Alma bridge to the Musée d'Orsay along the embankment, a zone of family entertainment, playgrounds, restaurants extends for 2.3 km. There are stages of organized performances and places for free fitness classes. And at night it is nice to take a romantic walk near the Alexander III bridge, one of the most beautiful in Paris, on the opposite side of which you can see the amazing architecture of the Grand Palais, the largest exhibition center.
During a trip to Paris, you will not be able to pass the Marais. This trendy quarter is equally popular with Parisians and tourists. It is one of the preferred places for shopping, eating and leisure. On the outskirts of the quarter is the original building of the famous Center Pompidou, one of the world's largest museums of contemporary art. The area in front of this giant glass parallelepiped has become an arena for showing the work of local musicians, artists, artists, circus performers.
In the middle of the quarter is the oldest Parisian Place des Vosges, steeped in the history of the city. The amazing architecture of the Marais is distinguished by its alternating neighborhoodmagnificent palaces and ancient houses of artisans. Some of the luxurious mansions from different periods are occupied by famous museums:
- history of France;
- Carnavalet (history of Paris);
- Picasso Museum;
- a museum dedicated to the art and history of Judaism.
The Marais is home to the historic Jewish Quarter, established here as early as the 13th century. It has become a landmark of the area in itself, along with a functioning synagogue built in the Art Nouveau style.
Marais is the best place to shop. There is definitely something here for everyone. You can spend hours wandering around the Saint-Paul marketplace among the numerous junk shops and antique shops. Or you can plunge into shopping in chic boutiques and upscale salons filled with brands of Parisian designers. Or choose shops of French chains and international firms.
In a week in Paris, you can't help but enjoy a walk along the boulevard, square and streets of the Saint-Germain district, which is located on the north side of the 6th arrondissement. This is the richest, luxurious and aristocratic district of the city, which has retained the charm of refined and sophisticated Paris. Admirers of the most famous names in the world of haute cuisine and fashion tend to come here. Here are the most upscale and presentable shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, jewelry boutiques. Art museums of Saint-Germain: Luxembourg, Orsay, Maillol, Delacroix. Top Local Attractions:
- ancient architectural complex Cour deRoan;
- Institut de France;
- the abbey complex of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and the church of the same name;
- futuristic fountain by Charles Dodlein;
- church building Saint-Sulpice;
- Luxembourg Gardens, most of which is in the Latin Quarter;
- French Senate Complex (Luxembourg Palace).
The ancient narrow streets, small cozy cafes and bookstores of the Latin Quarter adjoin the Saint-Germain district. This area of the 5th and 6th districts has traditionally been considered a student quarter. It combines a variety of architecture and many attractions:
- ancient ruins of the Roman Baths of Cluny;
- Gothic spiers of the Museum of the Middle Ages;
- Paris Pantheon - the tomb of prominent citizens of the country;
- Sorbonne Church;
- Pioneering Institute Monde Arabe
This part of town is home to numerous restaurants and wine bars, as well as the lively market street Rue Mouffetard. And from the small Rene Viviani Square near the embankment, a wonderful view of the opposite bank of the Seine and Notre Dame opens up.
South Pigalle and Montmartre
Those who want to immerse themselves in an authentic Parisian atmosphere should visit the South Pigalle, the most popular place in the city, bordering the 9th and 18th arrondissement, south of the former red-light district. Its shady, tree-lined streets are teeming with fashion boutiques, cafes, thriving restaurants and bars,music stores. Inviting the public, the mill of the Moulin Rouge cabaret show is spinning here, the spirit of Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso and Van Gogh is hovering here, and the Parisian period of Salvador Dali is marked in the expositions of the Espace Dalí museum. This part of the city is the gateway to another Parisian symbol, the Montmartre hill.
A holiday in Paris, especially if it's your first time, is unimaginable without a visit to Montmartre (18th arrondissement). This is the highest city hill. It is dotted with steep stairs, which are better to go down, having previously climbed to the top on the funicular. This microdistrict is still saturated with the atmosphere of Parisian bohemia and old Paris.
Out of the guide
The Eleventh arrondissement reflects the spirit of the real life of the citizens, so here there are many things that will be very interesting to see in Paris on your own. Near the central tourist districts, there are cafes, wine bars, boutiques, galleries and many nightclubs popular among Parisians. The area's regular audience is made up of young people, artists, families from the eastern outskirts, as well as the middle class of the Vietnamese, North African and Middle Eastern diasporas.
This area is the best place for restaurant tours in Paris, so gourmets from all over the capital often visit here. Since rent is cheaper in this area, many chefs have moved here from the center. Gradually, a quarter of establishments with excellent quality cuisine and affordable prices for local residents was formed here. Here you can find establishments with Michelin stars and the mostpopular haute cuisine chefs in Paris.
The capital of France is considered quite safe. But when touring Paris, it is still worth avoiding some areas, especially late at night. These are some of the streets of the Goutes d'Or (18th arrondissement), the neighborhood around the metro station Barbès-Rochechouart. The same goes for the area around the Gare du Nord - it's a crowded and safe place during the day, but in the evening you can meet unpleasant personalities here. In recent years, several districts have formed in Paris that have become temporary refugee camps. Such places are located on the outskirts of the city, but several large ones are around the Colonel-Fabien station and the Halle Pujol shopping area in the 18th arrondissement.
There are plenty of nightlife options in Paris. To immerse yourself in the atmosphere of Parisian bars, you should head to the Marais quarter. Here you can find secret performances of informal hangouts, chic lounge-style parties filled with trendy Parisians. One can also recommend the surroundings of Place Pigalle. This once-famous Parisian area now offers up-and-coming cabaret shows like the Moulin Rouge, concert halls, and pretty atmospheric bars with a wide variety of musical influences.
From the Marais, it's easy to follow the opposite bank of the Seine to the 13th arrondissement to have fun at the trendy Parisian club Wanderlust, after which a night in Paris will be remembered for a long time. And you can join the society of local residents who have chosenone of the concert and dance venues that have been converted from small boats moored along the waterfront.
Best time for museums
January and February are the best months to visit Parisian museums and galleries as the crowds are at a minimum. To save money on admission tickets and time spent in queues, travelers in any season of the year can purchase a museum pass that gives them access to 50 museums in Paris and the suburbs. Also, most museums and galleries are open in the evening, when the main crowd of visitors thins out, once a week the exhibits are available for inspection at night. In addition, many museums in Paris offer free admission on the first Sunday of each month, although the galleries can be especially crowded on these days.
During its high season, from June to mid-September and the last two weeks of December, Paris is most crowded with tourists. In the summer, long queues stretch to museums and monuments, prices for air tickets and hotels reach peak heights, vouchers from tour operators must be ordered in advance. And it’s almost impossible to get a visa on your own, book a hotel room in Paris, book flights or a table in a restaurant at this time.
The exception to this rule is August. At this time, a lack of local atmosphere begins to be felt, since all the people in Paris are tourists, and some small shops and restaurants are completely closed. Oddly enough, hotel prices and a number ofservices are declining during this month, and the streets of the city are becoming quieter.
Paris in winter
During the low season from January to March, the flow of tourists is minimal. Air tickets and visas become available at this time. In Paris, during this period, the lowest prices for hotel rooms and some types of services. It will also please the minimum number of visitors in museums and near the main attractions. But keep in mind that Parisian fountains are turned off during the winter months, and statues in many parks and gardens are covered with a protective cloth. Some Disneyland Paris attractions will not be available during this time due to preventive maintenance. Most street cafes will also be closed.
Autumn-summer season in Paris
As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Paris hosts a ton of travelers all year round, and the mid-spring and autumn seasons are no exception. But these periods are the best choice for a trip, when you can find the perfect combination of pleasant weather and slightly thinned crowds. While prices remain high, it's easier to get a cheap hotel room or restaurant table during this time, and airfare usually falls into a more reasonable price range. In addition, from mid-April to early summer, Paris is especially beautiful with flowering trees, parks and gardens, and September delights with a riot of autumn colors and seasonal blooms.