Stairs separate the busy city from the quiet Seine river.
“Why isn’t there an elevator in my apartment building? I have to walk up multiple flights of stairs!” This is the cry of the beleaguered traveler who, after a long flight, is dismayed to note that he or she will have to carry heavy bags up several stairs before taking a well-deserved nap. Fear not, beleaguered traveler! We hear you! You’re not alone in your lament! In this article we hope to help you understand why your building was designed without a nice, roomy elevator, and why this might actually be a good thing.
But first, strap yourself in for a teensy bit of history.
1. Upward Mobility and the Social Standing of Stairs
The grand style of Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris
Paris was a pretty dismal place in the mid-nineteenth century. Medieval streets twisted aimlessly through dark, leaning buildings and roads were often barely wide enough for one cart to pass through. In 1853, Napoleon III appointed George Haussmann to open, unify, and embellish Paris. The sweeping style and delicate filigree that characterizes Paris today is largely a result of that work. But with a new architectural order came a new social order, at the center of which was a building’s stairs. Read the entire story here…»
See the Christmas tree in the plaza in front of the Notre Dame
The trees have lost their leaves and each morning is now greeted with a dusting of frost. Lights gleam off the lingering ice as the smell of King Cake drifts through the air. Winter is falling over Paris, but the city itself is more active than ever. From holiday markets and ice skating to parties and events, there’s no better time to visit Paris than during the Christmas season.
In this article we’ve covered the most interesting and exciting events in the city, so be sure to let us know what you think!
Holiday markets along the Champs Elysées are a great place to pick up last-minute gifts. Photo: Steve Shupe.
A city in a snow globe, there’s nothing more romantic than roaming the holiday markets in Paris as crisp winter winds ruffle artfully placed hats. Although little markets spring up all over the city, these are some of our favorites.
- As the most iconic street in Paris, the Champs Elysées is a prime attraction during the holiday season. In fact, it’s the only street that makes our list of the Top 10 Must-See Sights in Paris! The Christmas market at the Champs Elysées consists of one hundred chalets from the Vosges region. This arts and crafts market offers a wide selection of gifts and holiday food, including everything from arts and crafts to mulled wine and crepes. It runs from November 14th through January 4th, and be sure to stop by at night to see the Big Wheel illuminated. Read the entire story here…»
The Eiffel Tower is a sight to be seen in the springtime
When asked to associate a color with the city of Paris, what springs to mind first? Perhaps gray, represented in the victorious icon of the Arc de Triomphe or the neoclassical apartments curved along its streets? Or maybe red, the chosen hue of passion and romance — after all, Paris is known as the City of Love. What about green? It may not be the first color you’d think of, but it’s certainly true: Paris abounds not only with world-famous museums and eateries, but with bountiful parklands as well. Here we’ve assembled a list of our ten favorite greeneries throughout the French capital.
1. Jardin des Tuileries
The famous and centrally located Jardin des Tuileries is a must-see slice of Parisian parkland
Sporting an illustrious history (it was created by Catherine de’ Medici, Queen of France), Paris’s largest and oldest garden sprawls between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. (The art museum, in fact, runs the parkland; Jardin des Tuileries does not belong to the Parisian government.) Aside from the best people watching you’ll find anywhere in Paris, the expanse offers countless activities: a collection of sculptures to browse underneath the wide open sky; Fête des Tuileries, which transforms the park into a summertime fairground with games, a Ferris wheel, and other attractions; scale-model boat sailing to delight the youngest members of your party; and the Musée de l’Orangerie, which displays impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces – think Monet and Matisse – to the public. Read the entire story here…»
Think Paris is best experienced in the summertime or Christmas season? Think again! The French capital is a perfect complement to the changing seasons, so you are guaranteed a wonderful trip no matter what time of year you visit. Here are some of our favorite annual events to guide your itinerary in the City of Light!
International Agricultural Show
and other livestock are the stars of the International Agricultural Show
It’s the largest week-long farm tour you’ll ever experience. Since its origins as the General Agricultural Competition in 1870, the International Agricultural Show has grown to not only showcase France’s livestock, but the best regional, dairy, organic, and wine products from dozens of countries! Four separate sections make up the exhibition: horses, sheep, cows, dogs, cats, and other farm animals; gastronomic delights such as produce and wine; gardens of crops and greenery; and professional discussions on the ever-changing business of agriculture.
In order to accommodate its extensive display, the International Agricultural Show moved to the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre and has remained there since 1925. As if in accordance with the approaching spring, the fair is generally held in the last week of February, sometimes encompassing the first few days of March, from 9am to 7pm. Access to the venue is easy via public transportation; the Metro (line 12 has a station called Porte de Versailles), tramway, or bus will get you there! Tickets cost 13€ for adults, 6€ for students and children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old, 9€ for disabled individuals, and free for children under the age of 6. While you’re there, snap a photo with the expo’s current animal ambassador! Read the entire story here…»
Just like in any other big city, the streets of Paris are mixed with tourists and locals alike – so it’s important for everyone to get along! There is no need to be afraid of the French – they are very nice people! But keep in mind etiquette is important to keep peace, show respect and make friends. After all, the better you know the culture, the more rich and authentic your Parisian experience will be. Listed below are our tips on the most important etiquette in Paris.
1. Learn a few words in French
Locals really appreciate a tourist who tries to speak the language. It shows a love of French culture and a desire to learn more. Don’t worry if you can’t get the accent right – the locals will think it’s cute when you pronounce a word wrong! It’s the thought behind the language that counts, oui? This tip will likely work to your advantage while communicating with a native. He or she is likely to respond more thoroughly to a foreigner who speaks a bit of French! If the conversation gets to be too difficult to understand, ask the person if he or she speaks English. Most French people do speak English in addition to French, especially the younger generations.
2. Know the geography of the city
The Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In order to maximize your traveling experience it’s important to know the layout of the city. This way you won’t waste time getting lost – or asking strangers for help! Get familiar with the twenty arrondissements (districts) of the city. These arrondissements are divided by the Seine River in the center of the city, separating districts into “left bank” and “right bank”. The right bank includes the 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 arrondissements – the rest are on the left (south) bank! Looking for a tip to navigating the districts? Here’s a clue – the arrondissements are arranged in a spiral, starting at the center of the city near the Louvre. The higher the district number you are in, the further you are from the city center. Read the entire story here…»
The Eiffel Tower and Trocadero fountains during the summer.
It’s that time of year again! The birds are singing, the sky is blue, and Paris is just opening its arms to the crop of tourists and lovers for this year’s summer season. Paris is one of those cities where it’s easy to be lucky in love – but whether you fall for tucked-away art cafés or swoon over watching the Eiffel Tower light up at dusk is up to you. If you’ve something a little more eclectic in mind, read on and let us know what you think about these outside-the-box popular seasonal events!
Watch Outdoor Movies in Paris
Why sit inside a dark, stuffy theater when it’s so pleasant outside? Every year Parisians and visitors alike look forward to summertime outdoor movie screenings throughout the city. Whether you bring a date or a picnic basket (or both!) it won’t take you long to figure out why this is one of Paris’s most eagerly-anticipated activities of the summer.
- Sate your movie-watching cravings with a trip to the famous Cinema en Plein Air. The movie green is easily found in the Parc de la Vilette from July 23rd to August 27th. Tickets are €7 per show or €20 for five shows. There’s a new show every weeknight, drawing from French and American classics like Super 8, The Social Network, Ocean’s Eleven, and Hôtel Woodstock. Read the entire story here…»
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” So said Thomas Jefferson, reflecting upon his travels to the French metropolis. It’s been several centuries since he set foot in Paris, but the city’s splendor has not diminished — it remains the financial and cultural capital not only of France, but a capital of the world. Here we’ve assembled a list of the Top 10 Must-See Sites to visit during your stay in Paris, the fabled city known around the globe for its sophistication, romance and, of course, light.
The landmark Eiffel Tower rises above Paris
1) The Eiffel Tower
Like Big Ben in London and the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Eiffel Tower is Paris’s most identifiable landmark with the numbers to prove it – 7 million visitors per year. Named after the engineer who built it (Gustave Eiffel), the Tower was constructed to welcome guests to the 1889 World’s Fair. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world! Initially many Parisians considered the monument an eyesore; in fact, the Tower was almost dismantled in 1909, but was saved because of its value to transmit radio signals. Today, the Eiffel Tower is regarded as an architectural marvel and is the most frequented paid monument in the world.
There are three levels open to the public, the highest standing at a height of 276 meters or 905 feet. All levels can be accessed by elevators/lifts or stairs (though the latter is not for the faint of heart). On the first floor you’ll find a cinema devoted to the Tower’s history, a souvenir shop, and the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant. The second floor is home to the Jules Verne restaurant, where you can sample French cuisine with a spectacular view of the city. At the top floor, walk through a recreation of Eiffel’s office before making a toast at the champagne bar. And no matter how high you travel, the Tower will provide stunning views of Paris laid out before your eyes. The monument stands on the lawns of the Champ de Mars, which is located in Paris’s seventh arrondissement. Check out our guide of the 7th Arrondissement of Paris for more details. Read the entire story here…»
It’s without a doubt one of the most famous landmarks in the entire world: the Eiffel Tower. No trip to Paris can be complete without gazing upon this embodiment of Parisian life. And just imagine waking up in Paris, looking out the window and seeing the Eiffel Tower right there in front of you! In this article, we’ll show you how to make this fantasy a reality. We’ve selected six of our favorite apartments in Paris that offer magnificent views of the Eiffel Tower. Discover what it’s like to vacation in Paris while staying in an apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower!
Lovely one-bedroom vacation apartment in Invalides
View of the Eiffel Tower from the balcony of this 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides, Paris
The view from this 1-bedroom apartment in Invalides is absolutely stunning. Not only does it offer a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower directly from the French windows in the bedroom, but also from the fully-equipped kitchen! This means the apartment truly offers an amazing and authentic Paris experience. Tenants can wake up in the morning to the splendid view of the Eiffel Tower, prepare breakfast in the kitchen with the same amazing view, and perhaps enjoy a croissant with a coffee in the living room — or outside on the balcony, offering a striking view of typical Parisian rooftops and the Hôtel des Invalides! The apartment sleeps up to two people, and is located right in the center of the beautiful Invalides neighborhood. Just blocks from the apartment you’ll find the Seine River, monumental buildings, a bustling street market, and of course the Champ de Mars park with the Eiffel Tower.
For some history and practical information about the tower, check out our Visitor Guide to the Eiffel Tower! Read the entire story here…»
The new wave of coffee culture has taken Paris by storm
It’s been a long time coming, but the new wave of coffee culture that’s swept the globe has finally reached Paris! Gone are the days of old, when traditional bistros served mediocre coffee. In the past couple of years, new specialty coffee shops have started to pop up all over the city of lights! This new trend of coffee shops is heavily influenced by some of the leading coffee regions in the world, such as Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Baristas from these regions have introduced Paris to techniques such as pour-over coffee and filter coffee, not to mention fresh coffee beans from the world’s best coffee producers and roasters.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of our favorite new coffee shops in Paris. Keep in mind that the Parisian coffee culture is simply bustling right now, so this is definitely not meant as a definitive list. With that said, we’re sure this list of our favorite top 10 coffee shops in Paris will be of use to you during a visit to the city!
1. La Caféothèque
La Caféothèque on 52 Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville was one of the first new barista-focused coffee shops in Paris. Barista Gloria Montenegro, who was the former Guatemalan ambassador to France, founded the café some seven years ago. She has a true passion for coffee, personally selecting and visiting coffee growers across the globe. Customers will taste this commitment to quality coffee beans in each drink: the espresso and cappuccino are both brewed to perfection. La Caféothèque is a real Parisian gem: you’ll come for the excellent coffee, and stay for the friendly baristas and cozy interior. Read the entire story here…»
A typical French baguette and bread in Paris
France without bread is like a Paris without the Eiffel Tower. When it comes to baguettes and croissants, there is no equal to France’s famous bakeries, which are better known as boulangeries. It’s important to know the difference between a boulangerie and a patisserie. While a patisserie is a bakery specializing in pastries, and headed by a pastry chef, a boulangerie is a bakery that focuses mainly on baking breads. There’s also a difference between a boulangerie and an artisanal boulangerie: the latter indicates that all the bread is being baked fresh on the premises.
In this article, we’ve gathered our top 10 bakeries in Paris. You’ll find that some are combinations of a patisserie and a boulangerie, while others focus only on baking bread. What they all have in common, however, is some of the most delicious breads in Paris and perhaps even the world! Read the entire story here…»