In the springtime, the autumn, the winter (when it drizzles) or the summer (when it sizzles!), this romantic city seduces every moment of the year.
No matter the season, Paris has a timeless familiarity, with more recognisable landmarks than any other city in the world. The graceful wrought-iron spire of the Eiffel Tower, the broad span of the Arc de Triomphe standing sentinel above Paris’ most glamorous avenue, the Champs-Élysées, the gargoyled Notre Dame cathedral, lamplit bridges spanning the Seine and art nouveau cafes spilling onto wicker-chair-lined terraces are indelibly etched in the minds of anyone who’s visited the city – and the imaginations of anyone who hasn’t (or at least not yet). But despite initial appearances, Paris’ cityscape isn’t static: there are some stunning modern and contemporary icons too.
Paris’ dining is also iconic: France’s reputation for its cuisine (the French word for ‘kitchen’) precedes it. Whether you seek a cosy neighbourhood bistro, a secret supper club or a triple-Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy, you'll find every establishment prides itself on exquisite preparation and presentation of quality produce, invariably served with wine. Enticing patisseries, boulangeries (bakeries), fromageries (cheese shops) and crowded, colourful street markets are perfect for packing a picnic to take to the city’s parks and gardens. And a host of culinary courses – from home kitchens through to the world’s most prestigious cookery schools – offer instruction for all schedules, abilities and budgets.
Parisians are synonymous with style and fashion shopping is the city’s forte. Paris remains at the forefront of international fashion trends, and browsing emerging and established designer boutiques and flagship haute couture houses is a quintessential part of any visit. You’ll also find uberhip concept stores, quirky home and garden shops, and resplendent art nouveau department stores, along with a trove of vintage shops and flea markets, atmospheric bookshops (including the distinctive green-metal bouquiniste stalls lining the banks of the Seine), some adorable children’s wear and toy shops, art and antique dealers, venerable shops selling state-of-the-art professional cookware, and, of course, gourmet food and wine shops galore.
With an illustrious artistic pedigree – Renoir, Rodin, Picasso, Monet, Manet, Dalí and Van Gogh are but a few of the masters who lived and worked here over the years – Paris is one of the great art repositories of the world, harbouring treasures from antiquity onwards. In addition to big hitting museums like the world’s largest, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay’s exceptional impressionist collection, and the Centre Pompidou’s cache of modern and contemporary art, there are scores of smaller museums housing collections in every imaginable genre, and a diverse range of venues mounting major exhibitions through to off-beat installations.
Why I love Destination
By Catherine Le Nevez
Paris’ grandeur is inspiring but what I love most about the city is its intimacy. Its quartiers (quarters) are like a patchwork of villages, and while it’s one of the world’s major metropolises – with all of the culture and facilities that go with it – there’s a real sense of community at the local shops, markets and cafes that hasn’t changed since my childhood. Yet because every little ‘village’ has its own evolving character I’m constantly discovering and rediscovering hidden corners of the city.
Best places to stay in Paris
Paris city guide Collector's Edition
Exclusive to Australia and New Zealand, Lonely planet has created three limited edition retro city covers to celebrate our 40th anniversary.
What's new in Paris for travellers?
Paris' iconic cityscape is often considered timeless. Yet the city has continually undergone changes, including a few that are finally being rectified (not least its increasingly traffic-choked streets).
Best places to eat in Paris
Gay and lesbian Paris
Paris city guide
Paris has a timeless familiarity for first-time and frequent visitors, with more architectural icons than any other city along with glorious food, stylish shopping and priceless artistic treasures.
Tour de dessert: Europe’s most delicious pastries, cakes and tarts
American cafe culture has come a long way in the last two decades: corporate coffee has spawned near two generations of independent cafes that offer more than the old standby of roadside diner joe and pie.
Best boutique hotels in Paris
Composer Cole Porter was spot on: whether you’re in Paris during the springtime, the autumn, the winter or the summer, the world’s most romanticised city has a way of seducing you every moment of the year.
Moulin Rouge Show Paris
The Moulin Rouge is the number one show in Paris, if not the whole of Europe. No wonder it sells out quickly! Don't miss your chance to see the world-renowned showgirls and French Cancan dancers strut their stuff on the Moulin Rouge's historic stage. Moulin Rouge Paris sells out months in advance.
Eiffel Tower, Paris Moulin Rouge Show and Seine River Cruise
Enjoy a memorable night out in Paris by combining a visit to the Eiffel Tower and Seine River cruise with a cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge. Enjoy dinner at the Eiffel Tower's 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant followed by a one-hour river cruise, or dine on board a Seine River dinner cruise followed by a 1-hour visit to the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Paris in the springtime
Paris is an old favourite, but that doesn't take away from its charm. Whether you're a first-timer or are back for more, here are a few suggestions to make you fall in love with Paris this spring. Why go? Paris is the world’s most romantic cliché, but this is one place where the reality outstrips the myth.
Already visited the Eiffel Tower and the Lourve? Then this is the guide for you. It's the insider's guide to Paris, showing you the city as Parisiens know it. Our experienced author, Caroline Delabroy, has lived in Paris all her life and reveals more about the City than ever before.