Visited: November 2004, November 2012
- Currency: Euro
- Language: French (Learn as many basic phrases as you can prior to your trip as questions directed in English can/will be ignored. Making an effort to speak French, no matter how horrendous the result, will go a long way.)
- Budget: $$$
- Transportation: Three international airports (Charles de Gaulle, Orly, and Beauvais) make the city available from most major cities. Public transport and shuttle buses connect the airports to central Paris. Once in the city, a wide network of trains (from the high-speed Eurostar to local trains), metro, and buses traverse the 20 arrondissements.
Places to Visit: (Some museums are closed on Tuesday – check opening times before visiting)
*Sainte-Chapelle (1st arrondissement) – Consecrated in 1248, Sainte-Chapelle was commissioned by King Louis IX as a resting place for the Crown of Thorns, part of the revered Passion Relics. It is most famous for its extensive collection of 13th century stained glass.
*The Louvre (1st) – One of the largest museums in the world, the Musee du Louvre is home to the famed Mona Lisa among others. (Note: It is best to try to get to the museum well before it opens as the line forms quite early and entrance is restricted. Wait times of up to six hours are not unheard of in the afternoon.)
*Musee de l’Orangerie (1st) – Impressionist and post-impressionist museum famous for its collection containing works by Monet, Matisse, Picasso, and Renoir, among others.
*Picasso Museum (3rd)
*Notre Dame Cathedral (4th)
*Cluny Museum (5th) – Located in a 12th century town house for the abbots of Cluny, the museum contains a wide assortment of medieval artifacts, including the famous La Dame a la Licorne (Lady and the Unicorn).
*Eiffel Tower (7th)
*Les Invalides (7th) – Military museum that also contains the tomb of Napoleon.
*Musee d’Orsay (7th) – Former railway station containing French art dated from the mid-19th through early 20th centuries.
*Arc de Triomphe (8th) – Commissioned in 1806 by Napoleon to celebrate his victories whilst Emperor, the triumphal arch is one of the iconic landmarks of Paris.
*Catacombs (14th) – Faced with overcrowded cemeteries, the French relocated over 6 million bodies into tunnels beneath the city’s streets. (Note: This museum can close without warning. It is best to call ahead.)
*Sacre Couer (18th) – Located on the highest point of the city in the famed Montmartre district, Sacre-Coeur was built as a monument to a conservative France.
*Chateau de Versailles (Father Afield) – After a vast expansion project by Louis VIV, Versailles became one of the largest royal residences in the world. It is famous for its ornate decorations, vast gardens, and Hall of Mirrors.