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Your guide to Paris
All About Paris
The thumping heart of France, Paris is one the world’s great cities, beloved as much for its historical boulevards and world-class museums as its iconic bakeries and boutiques. Join the locals in line for freshly baked baguettes at the ivy-covered boulangeries of Le Marais, then wind down with a chocolat chaud at one of the city’s famous corner cafes. Visitors are drawn to Paris’ literary heritage, where antique bookstores and poetry performances abound, while food lovers are well served by a mix of traditional brasseries, chef-driven restaurants, and innovative under-the-radar hotspots.
Running through the heart of Paris, the river Seine provides a scenic backdrop for quayside picnics and a sought-after spot to cool off during the summer Paris Plages event. The city is world-renowned for its shopping, from the homey kitchenware stores on Rue Montorgueil to the historic fashion houses of Rue Cambon. Shoppers should be on the lookout for bargains during the twice-yearly sales (les soldes) in January-February and June-July. And for a tranquil start to an action-packed day, join in with a tai chi session among the famous topiary hedges of the Jardin des Tuileries.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Paris?
An ideal time to book a vacation rental in Paris is in spring, when the city’s gardens are in full bloom and the cafés are bustling. From June through August, temperatures spike and there are long days of sunshine, drawing locals out onto the banks of the Seine. Paris boasts a packed program of summer events, including Bastille Day, Fête de la Musique, and the exciting final stage of an iconic bicycle race.
Occasionally uncomfortably high temperatures and busier streets are countered with beaches built along the river as part of the popular Paris Plages event, live music performances, and open-air movies. Fall is also a popular time to visit, with crisp days and eye-popping foliage in the city’s green spaces. Winter can be cold and gray, but the moody weather adds an element of mystery to the city, which tends to be quieter from November to February. It rarely snows in Paris.
What are the top things to do in Paris?
Paris has more than 100 museums, but arguably the most beautiful is the Musée d'Orsay, which is housed in a stunning old Beaux-Arts railway. The art on display is by renowned French artists — including famous works by the Impressionists as well as changing special exhibitions. Enjoy a stroll along the Left Bank of the Seine to take in the city views before or after visiting.
Jardin des Tuileries
Once the garden of the Tuileries Palace, the Jardin des Tuileries opened to the public after the French Revolution. Explore these manicured gardens after visiting the nearby Louvre and taking a stroll around Place de la Concorde, the largest square in Paris. Pick up a delicate crêpe from one of the carts and settle down on a bench to do some people-watching.
Take in a classic opera, avant-garde ballet, or one of the many other performances staged at this historic venue. Built in 1875 at the request of the emperor, Palais Garnier is viewed by many as one of the most opulent opera houses in the world, with a breathtaking grand staircase, swathes of ruby velvet, and glittering chandeliers aplenty.