Paris Hotels Articles

April 19, 2010

City Breaks in Paris – Getting There, Where to Stay, What to Do

Known as the most romantic city in the world, Paris receives over 30 million visitors each year, drawn to see the great sights and experience the unique atmosphere of the city. Whether you travel by Eurostar or plane, for a quick weekend break or a longer stay, Paris is an immensely rewarding destination to visit.

Getting There

The Eurostar now departs from King’s Cross St Pancras and arrives at Paris Gare du Nord in the centre of the city. For most incoming international flights, Charles De Gaulle (located 25km to the north of the city) is the main airport in Paris. Shuttle transfers, taxis, train or bus are your main options for getting to the city centre once you’ve arrived, with all of them taking approximately 60 minutes. If you arrive at Orly or Beauvais, the other two Paris airports, shuttles and taxis will take about 30 and 90 minutes respectively.

If you are on a weekend break, you are likely to want as little hassle and as much leisure as possible during your trip to Paris; an airport shuttle is the most convenient way of getting from the airport to your hotel in Paris, and shuttle services, unlike the bus or train, will drop you off directly at your hotel.

Where to Stay

Paris has a great range of hotels. Luxury accommodation is provided by hotels such as the Plaza Athenee, which has hosted the rich and famous for almost a century, and the Four Seasons. The city also has numerous good mid range hotels (Hotel St Jaques and the Lindburgh Hotel are especially recommended) along with cheap and friendly youth hostels, such as St Christopher Inns and Calincourt Square. Whatever your budget, you should be able to find a hotel or hostel to suit your needs. All of them have one crucial thing in common – they are extremely busy, and booking far in advance is strongly advised. During weekends and holiday periods, booking is essential!

If you want to try something a little different, the independent English language bookshop Shakespeare and Company lets visitors (or “tumbleweeds” as they are affectionately known) stay for free in return for a few hours work a day.

What to Do

Once you’ve arrived at your hotel in Paris (by shuttle, taxi, bus or train), it’s time to see the sights. The “Big Three” sights to see are the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, remains the most famous sight in Paris, and a trip to the top (if you have the stomach for it!) provides unforgettable views out over the city. The Arc de Triomphe, built by Napolean, is a central landmark, and Notre Dame de Paris is a spectacular 12th century Gothic cathedral. Equally famous is the Louvre Art Gallery, home to the Mona Lisa and other masterworks by Leonardo da Vinci and numerous other artists.

Elsewhere, the handsome hilltop district of Montmatre has long been a Mecca for artists, with Picasso and Dali both living here at the start of the 20th century, and wandering the streets and cafes is a great way to pass an idle afternoon. The Left Bank around Montparnasse is another beautiful area with plenty of history; for late night drinking here, try Le Select, favoured drinking house of 1920s expats like Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald.

There’s plenty to see and do in Paris itself, and the surrounding area offers attractions such as the Palace at Versailles, Fontainebleu Forest and Disneyland Paris. Whatever you want from your visit to Paris, you’re sure to find something to keep yourself entertained!

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