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Top 10 things to check out on your first trip to Paris
november 23, 2018

Cruise on the River Seine

First off, get your bearings by taking a one hour cruise along the River Seine - get a great overview of Paris's stunning architecture as you cruise past famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Pass under famed bridges such as Pont Neuf and Pont Alexander and on a warm, sunny day sit on the upper deck and bask in the sunshine as you enjoy a cold glass of your favourite tipple. On cooler days or in the winter months, try the evening cruise to see Paris live up to its name of the City of Lights.

Climb the Eiffel Tower

As Paris's undisputed icon, the Eiffel Tower is a must-visit for all first timers to the city. Book your ticket in advance online and you won't have to queue for as long when you arrive - on busy days, the queue to buy a ticket can be four to five hours long, so it's worth planning ahead. The views from the top are truly spectacular and definitely worth seeing. For an extra special experience, book into the elegant 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant located on the first floor.

Boulevard Saint-Germain

Take a stroll down one of the most famous streets in Paris. Once upon a time, this area was the favoured hangout of bohemian writers, artists, and philosophers. Still retaining some of this charm today, there are a number of cafes, bookshops, and art galleries along the street while the whole area is brimming with beautiful architecture. Treat yourself to a coffee and pastry at Café de Flore where Picasso, Hemingway, Camus, and other intellectuals often discussed important events of the day.

Shakespeare and Company

This is not the original Shakespeare and Company that was the haunt of great writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Stein. Sadly, that bookshop closed in 1941 during the German occupation of Paris. The new bookshop is a replica of the original but operates under the same principles. Writers can stay there for free and work on their books as long as they are willing to work in the shop. The selection of books is fantastic and you can easily while away a few hours perusing the stacked shelves.

The Louvre

There are more than 40 art galleries in Paris but the most famous is undoubtedly the Louvre, an essential stop on your first visit to Paris. Be aware that the queues for the Louvre can be very long so try to get there shortly after opening. The Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo are both housed here yet look beyond these and you'll discover countless more gems.

Champs-Elysees

Take a walk along one of the world's most exclusive shopping streets and browse through high-end stores such as Louis Vuitton. The street has changed in recent years and now you'll find shops such as MAC and Sephora. After picking up some chic souvenirs, walk to the boulevard's western end to reach the Arc de Triomphe, another unmissable Parisian icon.

Versailles

A short train ride from Paris will take you to the Palace of Versailles. The buildings are undeniably stunning and there is so much to see that you should plan to spend a full day here. Everything is still set up in the same way that it was when Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI lived there. The palace itself feautures room after room dripping in opulent detail, while the extensive gardens are a more tranquil retreat.

Notre Dame de Paris

Enjoying a pretty location on Ile de La Cité, the Notre Dame is yet another architectural icon. The glass windows, statues, and artworks are spectacular - you could easily spend hours exploring this giant church that was completed in 1345. As with many of Paris' attractions, it's worth booking tickets online as this will save you time when you arrive. If you are lucky, you may get to hear the 8500 pipe church organ being played.

Pastries and baguettes

Paris is well-known for its delicate, melt-in-the-mouth pastries - try the eclairs, macaroons, and hundreds of other tempting treats. A couple of the best places to pick up artisan pastries include La Pâtisserie des Rêves and Pain de Sucre. Another French culinary icon, baguettes are available on practically every corner of the city. But head to Mahmoud M'Seddi's bakery in the 14th arrondissement for something a cut above.

Jardin de Luxembourg

Feel like a local as you take a stroll through these beautiful gardens and enjoy a leisurely picnic. The people of Paris love these gardens and you will find a number of people walking in the gardens or relaxing on their lunch break. It's a tranquil enclave in the heart of the city.

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