There is something about Paris that captivates the gaze of many an individual for all different reasons. It’s the city of love and light that offers every visitor the chance to feel like a completely different person while exploring foreign streets and consuming more diverse cuisine than they’re used to.
The city centre of Paris remains as dreamy as it is portrayed in film and photography. Gardens crop up around every corner and sophisticated buildings find themselves bordered by the greenery. The Eiffel Tower appears in the sky, poking its head above trees and, yes, on occasion you will find an accordion player on the street to fulfill the complete stereotype that Paris is. Do prepare to be surrounded by thousands of other tourists if you travel to the city during peak season in July, however, September is significantly quieter with the same pleasant weather – flights may even be that little bit cheaper.
Yet, Paris is more than the city centre of globally recognised monuments, for farther north it harbours the artistic suburb of Montmartre, well-known as the home of Amélie. The Sacre Coeur Basilica seen from the centre of Paris marks the suburb for all to see and offers sprawling views of the entire city. The Grand Palais, The Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides are only a handful of the sights visible from the northern suburb that is a must visit for all tourists in the French capital.
Contrary to popular belief, the French are a friendly nation. Rooted in their ways and with a passion for their language, attempting to speak French is rarely met with distain. A simple ‘Bonjour, excusez-moi, parlez-voi Anglais’ goes a long way, and Australian accents are distinctive enough that they will soon realise you cannot speak fluently. Don’t be a tourist in Paris, be a Parisian… for however long your stay in the city may be.
Café Pimpin, 64 Rue Ramey
The type of café that would be a hit in the East End of Rundle Street, Café Pimpin is catered by friendly staff with some delicious offerings. Breakfasts include toasted sandwiches, granola and juice offerings, while lunch provides plentiful choices for a filing meal.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Close to the Notre Dame Cathedral in the eastern wing of the city, the Jardin du Luxembourg is home to the Luxembourg Palace and encompasses over 25 hectares of land. A large pond in the centre of the gardens is the ideal spot for a break in between seeing what Paris has to offer.
Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle
Located at the climax of the Avenue des Champs Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, alongside Sacre Coeur, is the place to be in order to see the city in its entirety. The 284 stairs climb to the top might be daunting yet rewards completely with the awestruck emotion felt at the top.
TICKETS: Pre-booking tickets is recommended as the line can set visitors back over an hour. For more information, visit: paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/.
Louvre Museum, Rue de Rivoli
It’s an obvious but necessary choice to muse the Louvre while in Paris. Home to the Mona Lisa, The Venus de Milo, Rameses’ Tomb and the surviving Crown Jewels of France, over five hours can easily be spent in one wing of the museum alone.
TICKETS: The line up for entry may look intimidating but only takes 15 minutes at the most. Pre-booking of tickets can be done online, visit: louvre.fr/en.
Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise, 16 Rue de Repos
The Pere-Lachaise Cemetery is both peaceful and melancholy yet is a definite recommendation for visitors to Paris. Doors frontman Jim Morrison, author Oscar Wilde, singer and French national treasure Edith Piaf and author of Les Misérables Victor Hugo are all buried in the complex, roofed by canopies of tree leaves and surrounded by thriving gardens.
Photography by Sonia Blair.