A short break in the French capital is the perfect tonic; arrive feeling jaded and after a few hours you’ll be filled with va-va-voom!
Paris is often said to be the most romantic city in the world. Hugging the banks of the River Seine, it is divided into twenty districts, known as arrondissements, each with its own distinct atmosphere and share of interesting attractions. From the medieval charm of Le Marais to the bohemian Left Bank, the quaint artists’ quarter of Montmartre to the ultra-fashionable Saint-Germain-des-Près, the blend of ancient and modern is seamless.
This compact city is easy to get around on foot, with a public transport system that’s simple to use and drops you conveniently close to all the main sights. The famous Paris Metro has some beautifully designed stations which are well worth a look in their own right, while buses are reliable and cheap. For a romantic alternative, consider catching a boat along the river.
However you choose to explore, you will soon be seduced by the city’s special charms. Window-shop in the fashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to see why Paris is the world capital of haute couture, with labels such as Lanvin, Hermès and Dior presenting their beautiful creations in opulent displays. Then treat yourself to a delicately flavoured macaroon at the famous Ladurée patisserie on the Champs-Elysées or a flaky croissant straight from the oven of a street corner bakery.
As well as being a world-famous shopping destination, Paris is also revered for its culture. Painters, musicians, writers and film directors have all been inspired by its beauty, and its museums and galleries are among the best in the world. Visitors queue for hours just to see the inscrutable smile of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum or the Picasso masterpieces at the National Museum of Modern Art housed on two floors of the iconic Pompidou Centre. The Palais Garnier is an opulent setting for performances of opera and ballet, while the Musée d’Orsay houses its priceless collection of French Impressionist paintings in a beautifully converted former railway station.
No visit to Paris would be complete without taking the lift to the top level of the Eiffel Tower to enjoy panoramic views across the whole city before heading for the champagne bar to drink a toast to romance.