The Marais district
Explore the Marais district to discover the narrow streets of
the Paris of long ago, where you will find enchantment around every
corner. When you reach Place des Vosges, the heart of this historic
neighbourhood, be sure to visit Victor Hugo's house, where time
seems to have stood still and you can sense the memories of times
gone by. Then step out once more into the bustle of Paris' oldest
square and stroll around looking in the windows of the galleries of
naïve art, or relax on a bench, lulled by the gentle murmur of the
The Montmartre district
The Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, standing proudly at the top of
Montmartre's hill, is the symbol of this artistic neighbourhood. A
little village in the heart of Paris, its distinctive atmosphere
was created by painters such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and
Vincent Van Gogh. In Place du Tertre you'll come across numerous
portrait artists, who still set up their easels there every day.
Strolling down rue Lepic you can take a look at the Montmartre
windmills, or linger in the locations used in the film 'Amélie'.
The Left Bank
A walk along the Seine's Left Bank (Rive Gauche) is the best way
to sample the carefree existence enjoyed by Paris' students and
After crossing the Ile de la Cité, where the imposing Cathedral
of Notre-Dame towers over its surroundings, you will pass in front
of the Sainte Chapelle and the Conciergerie before arriving at the
Latin Quarter's main thoroughfares, the boulevards Saint-Michel and
Saint-Germain. During the last century Parisian intellectuals
flocked to this area, with its endless second-hand booksellers and
its iconic cafes, such as Café De Flore, Les Deux Magots and the
Further along boulevard Saint-Michel, and opposite the Panthéon,
the open gates of the Luxembourg Gardens (Jardin du Luxembourg)
reveal the magnificent gardens of the Senate within. If you are
tempted to enter, you can wander through the legendary park
that has inspired a host of writers and poets such as Gérard de
Nerval, Charles Baudelaire and Victor Hugo.
Leave the gardens in the direction of boulevard Raspail, and
head for Bon Marché, a luxury department store, which makes an
ideal destination for a bit of shopping.
If you're taking your family to the Left Bank, young children will
enjoy a trip to the zoo in the Jardin des Plantes (botanical
gardens) or a walk along quai Saint-Bernard, which has an open-air
display of sculptures from the second half of the 20th century.
The Trocadéro-Invalides district
No trip to Paris is complete without visiting the
Trocadéro-Invalides. This neighbourhood is a testament to the
magnificent and daring architecture of the Belle Epoque and its world fairs.
The famous bridge, Pont Alexandre III, was opened in 1900 and spans
the Seine, connecting the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais with
the esplanade of Les Invalides, the military hospital. If you walk
along the banks of the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower, Paris'
massive 'Iron Lady' that dominates the skyline, you will come to
the gardens and fountains of the Trocadéro district, overlooked by
the Palais de Chaillot, which houses the Musée de l'Homme (the
natural history museum) and the Paris aquarium, among other
The Champs-Elysées district
The Champs-Elysées, one of the most beautiful avenues in the
world, runs between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la
Concorde, at the very heart of the eighth arrondissement.
Along with avenue George V and avenue Montaigne, it forms the
boundary of the 'Triangle d'Or' (or Golden Triangle) where some of
the world's most prestigious fashion houses are to be found, such
as Chanel, Dior and Valentino.
This district also includes rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, one of
the capital's smartest shopping streets that is famous for its
luxury retailers (such as Yves Saint Laurent and Prada), and its
art galleries where the most prestigious artists exhibit their
The Opera district
There's nothing quite like a stroll through the streets around
the Opéra Garnier, exploring the majestic boulevards designed by
Haussmann which make Paris such a lovely place to live.
Continue down rue de la Paix to reach Place Vendôme, where you
can feast your eyes on the creations of the world's greatest
jewellers, such as Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.
Stop for a gourmet treat at the Café de la Paix, where the Napoleon
III interior has been listed as an historic monument.
Afterwards, if you wander down boulevard des Capucines, you'll
come to the impressive Eglise de la Madeleine, a neoclassical
church built by Napoleon as a temple to the glory of
As you go back up boulevard Haussmann, you have the perfect
opportunity to pop into one of Paris' most famous department
stores, such as Galeries Lafayette or Printemps Haussmann.
The Rivoli-Tuileries district
Running alongside the rue de Rivoli, the Tuileries Gardens
stretch all the way from Place de la Concorde to the Louvre Museum.
These gardens, the oldest in the formal French style with their
broad symmetrical paths, have witnessed the splendours of the
courts of the greatest kings of France.
Within the gardens, you can visit the impressionist art
collections in the Musée de l'Orangerie or the photography
exhibitions in the Musée du Jeu de Paume.
On the other side of the gardens, you will come to the Musée des
Arts Décoratifs, on your left, and the magnificent Louvre Museum,
one of the world's greatest museums, adorned with its now famous
Paris' charm extends beyond these districts: you can also find
it in the unique atmosphere of the Saint-Ouen flea market (the
Marché aux Puces), on the banks of the Saint-Martin Canal, and
along the wooded paths of the Jardin d'Acclimatation, a popular
children's amusement park and zoo.
The Palace of Versailles and its massive formal gardens lie just a
few miles from Paris. As does the picturesque village of Giverny,
much loved by painters, and inspiration for Monet's famous water
Finally, children will of course be delighted by a trip to Parc
Astérix or Disneyland Paris!