Paris , city of art and culture
Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world. Every year 45 million tourists go there, enticed by its iconic landmarks, world-famous museums and other numerous attractions. Built on the ruins of the Gallo-Roman city of Lutetia, Paris was officially founded in 360 AD as a fortress on an Island on the river Seine. Later it was linked to the mainland on both sides by wooden bridges. The city began to thrive in the 10th century, when Paris became the capital and the most important city in France. In 1789, when the French Revolution began, the city was badly destroyed. After the Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte led Paris in a surge of cultural expansion. Nowadays it is known as the city of light, art and romance and is the home of many great artists and writers.
Paris District map (Click on the map to view the local area guides):
Paris is divided up into 20 different districts (arrondissements). The 1st district is in the centre of Paris and the other districts go round clockwise in a snail shell shape (with the 20th district being on the outer side of Paris). The main attractions are mostly in the first eight districts. These include the Musée du Louvre, Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and Les Champs-Élysées. Let’s take a look at what these attractions have to offer:
Musée du Louvre
This national museum of France is located right in the heart of Paris in the 1st district. It is home to 35,000 objects from the 6th century B.C through to the 19th century, including the Mona Lisa, the statue of Venus de Milo and the sculpture of the Winged Victory of Samothrace. The museum is in based in the Louvre Palace which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under the reign of Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are still visible today. The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass pyramid surrounded by three smaller pyramids. The large pyramid acts as the main entrance to the Musée du Louvre.
This Gothic cathedral built in 1163 during the reign of Louis VII is located on the île de la Cité in the 4th district. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first gothic cathedrals to be built. It has played a fundamental role in Parisian history and is one of the oldest remaining structures in Paris despite being drastically destroyed during the French Revolution. It was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress. With 5 services a day, you’ll be sure to have the chance to take in the cathedral’s true atmosphere.
Situated in the 7th district the Eiffel Tower was originally only meant to be a ‘temporary’ construction for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. It was built by Gustave Eiffel to mark the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. But it was never dismantled and now it is a permanent symbol of Paris. Weighing a massive 10,000 tonnes and 324 metres high, it is the tallest structure in Paris and the fifth in France. More than 200,000, 000 people have visited the tower since its construction, making it the most visited monument in the world. Its views over Paris and of over 40 miles away provide you with the perfect bird’s eye view of the city.
The world’s most famous avenue also known as ‘the most beautiful avenue in the world’ is situated in the 8th district. It is 1.25miles in length and runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle where the Arc de Triomphe is situated. The avenue is lined with elm trees and has many cinemas, cafés, restaurants and luxury shops (some staying open until midnight!). Every year the Bastille Day parade (largest military parade in Europe) and the final part of the Tour de France take place on the avenue. It is a place for huge spontaneous gatherings for events such as New Year’s Eve and when France won the 1998 Fifa World Cup.
The 18th district of Montmartre is home to the Sacré Coeur; a Roman Catholic basilica and the highest point in Paris. In the 19th century Montmartre was referred to as the hill with a view of the city. It attracted many artists including Monet, Renoir, Degas, Pissarro and Van Gogh. Today the Place du Tertre is preserving Montmartre’s artistic roots as it is home to current artists displaying and selling their work. The two well-known films Amélie and Moulin Rouge were both set in Montmartre. The actual Moulin Rouge is also situated here.
Le Moulin Rouge
Built in 1889 by Joseph Oller, this cabaret is distinguished by a structure of a red windmill on its roof. Famous performers at the Moulin Rouge have included Edith Piaf, Mistinguett, Yvette Guilbert, Frank Sinatra and Josephine Baker. It is best known as the spiritual birthplace of the can-can dance which is still performed there today. The current show Feerie consists of 100 artists including 60 Doriss girls, dancers, acrobats, magicians and clowns and lots of bright colours, feathers, rhinestones and sequins. You’ll be guaranteed a night of entertainment!
One of the most striking things about Paris is the city’s wide avenues lined with cut stone buildings. This was designed by Georges Eugène Haussmann in 1852 as part of his urbanisation programme for the city and is now referred to as le style Haussmanienn. The classic Haussmannien façade architecture is structured around horizontal lines. These lines are continuous from one building to another and are shaped by perfectly aligned balconies and cornices. Haussmann is responsible for the way Paris looks today. His creation of wide avenues with cafés and shops has drastically influenced Parisian’s lives.
Fashion & Luxury
As Paris is the heart of fashion, its top fashion designers such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermes, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent are all located on the Avenue Montaigne and the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The two luxurious department stores Le Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette are perfect places to shop selling everything under one roof, from tableware, fashion, perfume, lingerie and jewellery. You’ll find a world of ready-to-wear in Paris, with appealing boutiques and affordable brands. Every style is catered for from young, sporty, trendy, ethnic or classic.
Vélib’ is a self-service bike hire system available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. With pick up and drop off points every 300 metres and at a cost of €1 a day it is a very quick, convenient, environmentally friendly and perfect way to visit and get around Paris!
Beneath their fabulous Art Nouveau glass domes, the Parisian department stores have become must-see monuments to rival the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Considered to be the leading shopping centre of Europe with 120 million visitors each year, the boulevard Haussmann is a city within the city. But let’s not forget the stores on the rue de Rivoli, on the Left Bank or at the Madeleine. All together, they are a sparkling reflection of Paris in concentrated form, where all your shopping desires can be granted. Fashion, beauty, decoration, leisure and the art of entertaining are just the tip of the iceberg in the creative sea that awaits you.
Paris , capital of “art de vivre”
Take advantage at long last of the myriad pleasures of the French lifestyle. Just try resisting those seductive window displays that stimulate your senses and invite you to discover again and again a quality of life that is so typically French. Decoration, tableware, fabrics, objects, rugs… Experience the refinement of an infinite choice of products and styles, and pick up some scintillating “made in Paris” ideas for decorating your home sweet home. Whether from the department stores or stylists, at international trade fairs or directly from the stockists, interior decoration is an essential part of shopping in Paris.
Cafés, Bistros, Brasseries and Restaurants
With Paris being renowned worldwide as the capital of gastronomy, the choice of eating and drinking establishments is huge, with many restaurants offering top quality French cuisine and food from all over the world. Saint Germain-des-Prés located in the 6th district (Latin Quarter) is particularly well-known for its charming cafés and brasseries. Les Deux Magots is ranked as one of the most famous cafés in Paris, in the past it was the rendezvous of the literary élite of the city. Today it serves traditional French cuisine such as foie gras and beef tartar.
Paris really is the most beautiful city in the world, to make the most out of your stay try and pick up a copy of L’Officiel des Spectacles; a weekly guide published every Wednesday with up to date information on current plays, concerts and exhibitions, cinema times, museum and attraction opening times and restaurants. For only €0,35 it will help you to maximise your time and guarantee you a fun and fulfilling stay in Paris!
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Tourism office in Paris:
Travel from the UK
By air: Easyjet flies from Belfast, Liverpool Newcastle and London Luton to Paris.
Ryanair flies from Shannon, Dublin and Glasgow to Paris.
By rail: Eurostar go from London to Paris in just 2h35.
By car: You can travel by car to Paris by taking the ferries which go from Dover to Calais and then you can take the Motorway to Paris.
You can also cross the channel with the Eurostar and stop at Calais. Then you will travel on the motorway directly to Paris.
Our team of sale advisers at Sextant Properties will be happy to help you to find a property in Paris. We have a large network of partners in Paris. All of them are registered French real estate agents and speak both French and English. Whatever kind of property you are looking for: farmhouse, longere, barn, gite, B&B, country house, mill, castle or chateau, we will do our best to find a property in Paris matching your requirements.