Paris, France

Paris is one of the cities of the world whose landmarks are instantly recognisable; the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacré Coeur, the Seine and the Champs-Elysées. However, despite its familiarity the city is no less beguiling for both the first time and repeat visitor. There is something timeless and magical about Paris.

Of course the key attractions are must-dos but there is a lot of pleasure to be had in exploring some of the diverse areas of the city by foot to get a glimpse of the real Paris. The Marais is one of the city’s oldest quarters and in recent years its narrow streets lined with Medieval and Renaissance-era buildings have been revitalised. A walk down Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, packed with eclectic boutiques and chic cafes and bars, will lead you to the Place des Vosges, an exquisitely symmetrical square and one of the most beautiful spots in Paris to pause for a drink and people watch.

It may be a cliché but Paris deserves its reputation as the most romantic city in the world. If you take an evening stroll through the Jardin des Tuileries, past the impressive pyramid at the Louvre then over Pont des Arts for an aperitif in the famous street cafes of St-Germain-des-Prés, it will be hard not to fall a little in love with the city.

If you haven’t been to Paris before then you can’t miss a visit to the Eiffel Tower but to avoid the crowds come late in the evening. It is open until midnight in the summer months and 11pm in the winter and offers a panoramic view of the twinkling Parisian lights.

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