France’s showpiece is the romantic city of Paris, full of grand boulevards, beautiful buildings and churches, historic monuments, splendid museums and relaxing pavement cafes, epitomizing everything French.
The world class Musée du Louvre is home to the renowned Mona Lisa. From here you can take a walk along the grand avenue des Champs-Élysées, which symbolizes the style of Paris with its endless restaurants and shops, before passing beneath the stately Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower, alongside the River Seine, is perhaps the city’s most famous icon, standing 320 meters tall and providing sweeping vistas of the city.
The oldest part of Paris, the Ile de la Cite, are two islands with excellent medieval architecture and the pride of Paris; Notre Dame – a Gothic masterpiece dating from the 12th century. The interior of the cathedral is dominated by spectacular rose windows, and a 7800-pipe organ. Sainte Chapelle nearby was built to house relics purchased by King Louis IX.
The charming hilltop suburb of Montmarte is famous for its charming artist-filled square, quirky cafes, Dali Museum, and outstanding Disney-like Basilica Sacre Coeur. The Centre Georges Pompidou, displaying and promoting modern and contemporary art, is one of the most-visited sites in Paris. For a day out you can also drift lazily down the Seine in a canal boat.
Paris boasts an endless collection of galleries and fine museums such as those found at the Hotel des Invalides, and the Musee D’Orsay – located in an enormous restored railway station.
The Bois de Boulogne, on the western edge of the city, is a park endowed with forested areas, meandering paths and belle époque mansions. The relatively small region surrounding Paris – known as the Île de France is a popular day-trip destination with woodlands, elegant historical towns and Versailles, the country’s former political capital and seat of the royal court. A popular and relatively new attraction for the whole family is Disneyland Paris, a huge amusement park within an hour’s drive from anywhere in Paris.