It’s hard to picture a city more iconic than Paris. With an astounding collective love of art, architecture and good old fashioned romance – as well as a heady new rap scene – the city has so many dimensions that you’re going to have to prioritize. Luckily for you, you’d have to make a real effort not to see something a bit more special than your everyday city. The French capital is intellectual and classy, home to arguably the world’s most prestigious cuisine, and spattered liberally with instantly recognizable landmarks and strikingly memorable sites.
The Eiffel Tower (and it’s heady restaurant) and Notre Dame have been at the centre of so many pieces of writing it seems almost superfluous to describe them; just go. That’s far from your lot, though. The newer museums like the Musee de Quai Branly, where you’ll find indigenous relics and a café with great Eiffel Tower views, or the Sainte Chapelle and its fantastic stained glass, widely regarded as one of the world’s most beautiful churches.
The twin, contrasting banks of the Seine (and the chance to dance and snack your way along them) are almost as notorious as the surrounding architecture. The astounding cruise along the river offers a real taste of what it is to be Parisian.
Sample the snails and frogs’ legs, but don’t disregard the nearly raw steak, freshly cooked baguettes and phenomenal selection of high-class wines, either.
Of course, Paris is known for being a tad pretentious, and you might find that waiters and hotel staff are not quite as helpful as you would expect. You’ll soon be laughing about it, though: this phenomenon is so French it’s painful, and will stick amongst the memories of your holiday as much as the guy in the side street wearing a striped shirt with garlic draped around his neck, or the artist in a lopsided hat gently sketching the Moulin Rouge. Get in amongst the Pompidou Centre for that intense cultural glance, or drift around The Marals at night and enjoy the wine-heavy, very Parisian nightlife.
It’s all very edgy, and if you have any artistic leanings whatsoever you’ll be in your element, not to mention the colossal draw for food lovers. Peruse the sites, explore the equally compulsive back streets, and go home wishing that your hometown had this much intense, unforgettable class.