Paris' monument-lined boulevards, museums, classical bistros and boutiques are enhanced by a new wave of multimedia galleries, creative wine bars, design shops and tech start-ups.
The cloud-piercing, wrought-iron Eiffel Tower, broad Arc de Triomphe guarding the glamorous avenue des Champs-Élysées, flying buttressed Notre Dame cathedral, lamplit bridges spanning the Seine and art nouveau cafes' wicker-chair-lined terraces are enduring Parisian emblems. Despite initial appearances, however, Paris’ cityscape isn’t static: there are some stunning modern and contemporary icons, too, from the inside-out, industrial-style Centre Pompidou to the mur végétal (vertical garden) gracing the Musée du Quai Branly, the glass sails of the Fondation Louis Vuitton contemporary-art centre, and the gleaming steel egg-shaped concert venue La Seine Musicale.
France’s reputation for its cuisine (the French word for ‘kitchen’) precedes it, and whether you seek a cosy neighbourhood bistro or a triple-Michelin-starred temple to gastronomy, you'll find that 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 putting together a picnic to take to the city’s beautiful parks and gardens. A host of culinary courses – held anywhere from home kitchens to the world’s most prestigious cookery schools – offers instruction for all schedules, abilities and budgets.
The word 'Parisian' is synonymous with style, and fashion shopping is the city’s forte. Paris remains at the forefront of international trends, and browsing emerging and established designer boutiques and flagship haute couture houses is a quintessential part of any visit. You’ll also find hip concept and homewares shops, and resplendent art nouveau department stores, along with a trove of vintage shops and flea markets, atmospheric bookshops and dark-green bouquiniste stalls stocking secondhand titles along the riverbanks, adorable children’s wear and toy shops, art and antique dealers, venerable establishments selling 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 have lived and worked here over the years – Paris is one of the world's great art repositories, harbouring treasures from antiquity onwards. In addition to big hitters like the incomparable Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay’s exceptional impressionist collection, and the Centre Pompidou’s cache of modern and contemporary art, scores of smaller museums showcase every imaginable genre, a diverse range of venues mount major exhibitions through to offbeat installations, and there's also the city's vibrant street art.
The 10 best parks in Paris
8 min read — Published April 2nd, 2021
Lonely Planet EditorsWriter
With incredible museums, shops and restaurants, it’s easy to forget that one of the best ways to enjoy Paris is outside. Here are the best parks in Paris.
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MuseumMusée du Louvre
It isn’t until you’re standing in the vast courtyard of the Louvre, with its glass pyramid and ornate façade, that you can truly say you’ve been to Paris.
ParkJardin du Luxembourg
This famous inner-city oasis of formal terraces, chestnut groves and lush lawns has a special place in Parisians' hearts.
Home to Europe's largest collection of modern and contemporary art, Centre Pompidou has amazed and delighted visitors ever since it opened in 1977, not…
CemeteryCimetière du Père Lachaise
Opened in 1804, Père Lachaise is the world's most visited cemetery. Its 70,000 ornate tombs of the rich and famous form a verdant, 44-hectare sculpture…
Even if you're not an art lover, it is worth visiting this high-profile art museum to lose yourself in its romantic gardens.
There are different ways to experience the Eiffel Tower, from a daytime trip or an evening ascent amid twinkling lights, to a meal in one of its…
BasilicaBasilique du Sacré-Cœur
Begun in 1875 in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War and the chaos of the Paris Commune, Sacré-Cœur is a symbol of the former struggle between the…
Musée d’Orsay may not be quite as famous as the Louvre—though it’s located a mere 10-minute walk away—but this Left Bank museum holds its own in its…
MonumentHôtel des Invalides
Flanked by the 500m-long Esplanade des Invalides lawns, Hôtel des Invalides was built in the 1670s by Louis XIV to house 4000 invalides (disabled war…
It’s gruesome, ghoulish and downright spooky, but it never fails to captivate visitors. In 1785, the subterranean tunnels of an abandoned quarry were…
Visit Sainte-Chapelle on a sunny day when Paris’ oldest, finest stained glass (1242–48) is at its dazzling best. The chapel is famous for its stained…
Elegant and regal in equal measure, the massive neoclassical dome of the Left Bank's iconic Panthéon is an icon of the Parisian skyline. Louis XV…
MuseumMusée National Picasso
One of Paris’ most treasured art collections is showcased inside the mid-17th-century Hôtel Salé, an exquisite private mansion owned by the city since…
CathedralCathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
While its interior is closed off to visitors following the devastating fire of April 2019, this masterpiece of French Gothic architecture remains the city…
LandmarkArc de Triomphe
If anything rivals the Eiffel Tower as the symbol of Paris, it’s this magnificent 1836 monument to Napoléon’s victory at Austerlitz (1805), which he…
MuseumMusée de Montmartre
This delightful 'village' museum showcases paintings, lithographs and documents illustrating Montmartre's bohemian, artistic and hedonistic past – one…
Research CentreStation F
The world's largest start-up campus was unveiled by French president, Emmanuel Macron, in mid-2017. At any one time, some 3000 resident entrepreneurs from…
ParkJardin des Tuileries
Filled with fountains, ponds and sculptures, the formal 28-hectare Tuileries Garden, which begins just west of the Jardin du Carrousel, was laid out in…
Just north of the gardens adjoining the city’s old marketplace, now the Forum des Halles, is one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. Majestic,…
The home of art collectors Nélie Jacquemart and Édouard André, this opulent late-19th-century residence combines elements from different eras – seen here…
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Paris.
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