21 Mar A Short Guide to Paris
“Paris is a moveable feast.” – Hemingway
Paris, nicknamed the City of Lights, is the center of French economics, politics and culture.
If you have not visited Paris, here is a guide for you to help you embrace Parisian culture.
Where to Visit
1. The Eiffel Tower
Undoubtedly the most popular sight in Paris, built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 for the Paris Exposition. It was supposed to be demolished in 1909 but was miraculously saved because it was repurposed as a giant antenna. Over 6 million people visiting it annually, the Eiffel Tower is labeled the most-visited paid monument in the world. With over 20,000 light bulbs on the tower, it is a romantic sight to behold in the night.
Address: Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
How to get there: Metro -> Bir-Hakeim (Line 6), Trocadero (Line 9), Buses -> 42, 69, 82, 87
Tel: (01) 4411-2323
Visit Duration: 30 minutes
Price: By elevator to 1st and 2nd levels €11, top €17. By stairs to 1st and 2nd levels only €7.
2. The Louvre
The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world, holding up to 35,000 priceless masterpieces and antiques. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is the most famous piece of art in the museum even though it is just slightly larger than an A2 piece of paper. One lesser-known fact about the Louvre is that it was not always used as a museum. During World War II, the Nazis used it as a historical monument as a storeroom for stolen art.
Address: Louvre Museum, 75001 Paris, France
How to get there: Metro -> Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre station (Line 1), Buses -> 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95 and Paris Open Tour bus, Batobus -> get off at Louvre stop, quai Francois Mitterrand.
Tel: (01) 4020-5317
Visit Duration: 1 hour
Price: Permanent collections €12, exhibitions in Hall Napoleon €13, combined ticket €16. Free under 18 and 18-25 year-old residents of the European Economic Area.
3. Notre-Dame Cathedral
French for “Our Lady of Paris”, Notre-Dame Cathedral is a historical Catholic church widely regarded as a must visit site by many Parisians and tourists alike. This French Gothic-style structure is among the largest and most famous church buildings in the world. To fully appreciate and admire the architecture, you should spend time walking around it. The best view of the cathedral is from square Jean XXIII.
Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
How to get there: Saint Michel Notre Dame (Line 4), 11 Station Hotel de Ville (Line 1)
Tel: +33 1423 44510
Visit Duration: 30 minutes
4. The Moulin Rouge
Situated near the French quarter of Montmartre in the red-light district of Paris called Pigalle, the Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill), a traditional cabaret and nightclub that began in 1889, puts on cabaret shows daily. This is where the famous Can-Can was first performed.
5. The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle. It honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Arc de Triromphe is a site where some of the most significant events in France that took place, such as the state funeral of Victor Hugo. His coffin placed was under the arc for many Parisians to pay their respect.
Address: Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
How to get there: Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile (Line 1, 2 and 6)
Visit Duration: 30 minutes
Price: Adult €8, Students (18 to 25) €5, Free for children and students 17 years old and under
What to Eat
At Epicure, the quality of the ingredients, sensations, and experience are of excellent quality. Named as the best hotel restaurant in 2014, Epicure delivers outstanding, artistically-plated and dramatically-presented food. The level of skill, execution and precision is second to none. With exquisite food, an extensive wine list, an exceedingly elegant dining room, and impeccable service, the exorbitant bill at the end of your meal somehow becomes justifiable.
2. Bistrot Victoires
A local favourite for tasty Gallic grub such as steak frites, confit de canard or roast chicken, the restaurant is just a short walk away from the Louvre. Opened daily for lunch and dinner, the affordable prices and delicious food will surely satisfy growling stomachs after roaming the streets of Paris.
Address: 6 Rue de la Vrilliere, 75001 Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 42 61 43 78
3. Le Nemrod
The croquet monsieur is a ham and cheese sandwich that Le Nemrod brings a notch higher by adding an egg on top. Guaranteed a bon acceuil (good welcome), the restaurant may not be at the pinnacle of gastronomic excellence but is assuredly a place to satisfy your hunger. Reasonable pricing combined with generous portions will surely not leave you with an empty stomach.
Where to Stay
1. Shangri-La Hotel Paris
Requiring no introduction, this luxury hotel is situated amongst historical sights in a former home of the Bonaparte family. 2 minutes walk from Lena Metro station and 4 minutes walk from the Palais de Tokyo art museum.
2. Hotel du Louvre
A highly popular choice amongst tourist due to it’s location being a stone’s throw away from the world famous Louvre, le Jardin des Tuileries and several other metro stations. Apart of locality, this elegant hotel is set in a grand 19th century building. Being a guest in this iconic hotel will surely bring you back in time, basking in the romantic ambience of Paris.
3. Hotel Augustin – Astotel
Listed as the top 10 hotels with affordable accommodation, Hotel Augustin is a contemporary hotel with very colourful and eye catching interior design. It is 6 minutes walk away from Place de la Concorde and 12 minutes from Auber RER A station. With sound proof windows and a shared living area for kids’ play, it is an ideal choice for families on a holiday.
When to Go
The best time to visit Paris is from June to August as the weather is described by many as parfait (perfect). This is also the most crowded period, so for those who dislike maneuvering large crowds in the city, plan a trip in fall or spring.
Unlike in US, there is already a 15% service charge in everything you eat and drink. Below are some examples and amount you should be tipping during your holiday in Paris.
• Waiters – 5%
• Taxi drivers – 10%
• Porters per bag – €.50 – 1
• Tour guides – €2 – 3
• Bartenders – Round up €
A typical French meal is generally eaten in courses as follows:
1. Amuse-bouche – Translates to “mouth playing”. These are one-bite treats like nuts or olives that are served gratis and are selected by the chef.
2. Hors d’oeuvres – Appetiser; may be served hot or cold.
3. Fish course – Often followed by lemon or lime sorbet
4. Main Course
7. Dessert & coffee
Eat bread with your meal, not as an appetizer.
Keep your knife in your right hand and fork in your left.
When finished, lay fork and knife across the side of the plate.
• Hello – bonjour (bohn-ZHOOR)
• Goodbye – au revoir (oh ruh-VWAH)
• Please – s’il vous plait (see voo PLAY)
• Thank you – merci (mehr-SEE)
• You’re welcome – de rien (deu ree –Ahn)
• Pardon me – excusez-moi (pahr-DOHN MWAH)
• English? – anglais (Ahng-LEH?)
• Yes – oui (wee)
• No – non (NOHn)
With this guide, you are now ready to explore France! Go beyond the explored and discover some new nooks and crannies in the City of Love.