- 05 Mar 20
Overflowing with history, high fashion, dazzling architecture, and hosting globally renowned music and art scenes, here’s to PARIS one of the world’s most essential travel destinations.
Where is it?
Located in the north of the country, the winding boulevards and arrondissements of the French capital span the banks of the Seine River. The city’s central location and accessible public transportation allow for easy access not only to other French cities, but to most other countries in Central Europe. Organised into 20 districts (arrondissements) each with unique flavours and history, there is something for everyone to discover.
What language do they speak?
While some people may speak English or other European languages — particularly in heavily tourist populated areas — French is by far the most spoken language. It may be handy to pick up a few basic French terms
How do I get there?
Flights are frequent between Dublin and Paris. High season is considered May, June and July, so for cheaper options, aim for less travelled seasons like the early spring and autumn. Round trip tickets can be found for as little as €60. You’ll likely fly into one of Paris’ three main airports: Charles-de-Gaulle, Orly, or Beauvais-Tillé, where a short taxi or train ride will get you directly into the city centre.
How do I get around?
Lucky for tourists, Paris is a fairly easy city to get around, even if your French isn’t fully up to par. With the train systems (Metros) easily navigable, you can pack plenty into your daily schedule. Be forewarned, metros run 5:30am to midnight on weekdays and 5:30am to 1:40 on weekends, so it may be best to opt for a taxi or Uber if you plan on being out late. Generally though, Paris is a city best seen on foot, so get walking!
Le Marais is essential the for thrift/vintage shopping, the Jewish Quarter and the thriving LGBTQ+ scene. There are also trendy restaurants and cafes, and nearby sights such as Notre Dame and the Picasso Museum. Montmarte, meanwhile, is home to much of the city’s local artist population – make sure to check out the famous Sacré-Cœur church, as well as smaller local businesses and art galleries. Oberkamf hosts much of Paris’ indie-music scene as well as hip restaurants, quirky cafes and plenty of nightlife (often on the more affordable side). Elsewhere, Saint-Germain-des-Pres is home to outdoor cafes, bookstores, art galleries, Gothic architecture, and eclectic crowds.
What’s the food like?
Known as a gastronomy capital of the world, Paris is definitely a place to eat. Spend a morning people-watching over a coffee and croissants at Café de Flore — one of the oldest coffee houses in Paris and a must-see for its vintage interiors, and traditional French cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For a twist on a classic French treat, sample a “Pistachio-Chocolate Escargot” at the Du Pain et des Idées bakery. Far from a real snail, this pastry gets its name from its spiral shape reminiscent of a snail shell.
If the real escargot isn’t for you, definitely opt for one of these flaky, pistachio crumble and chocolate chip-stuffed wonders, or just peruse the bakery’s other mouthwatering options. While it might not be the most obvious food choice for Paris, a trip to L’As du Fallafel in the vibrant Jewish quarter of the Le Marais district should not be missed. Widely acclaimed as offering some of the best falafel of all time, sample one of the restaurant’s famous Falafel sandwiches, complete with locally sourced fresh veggies and homemade hummus.
Drinks and nightlife?
From wine bars to clubs to hidden speakeasies, Paris is a city alive and sparking come nightfall. Some of the best districts to hit for a night out include Oberkampf, Bastille, Pigalle, and Le Marais — each sporting trendy arrays of clubs, bars, and shows. Throw on some dancing shoes for a trip to Le Caveau de la Huchette — a bar and jazz club located near the famous Saint-Michel neighborhood. Spend an evening like a local in one of the city’s countless wine bars like Le Baron Rouge, a perfect spot to enjoy a glass or sample the restaurant’s famous oysters on market days. Enjoy a drink in a secret speakeasy bar disguised as a laundromat at Lavomatic, a hot spot amongst Parisian locals and tourists alike. Pass through the secret entrance: a door disguised as a washing machine amidst an otherwise normal laundromat. Once you’re in, follow the winding staircase up to a dim, bohemian style bar full of hammocks, cozy nooks, and some of the best espresso martinis in the city.
Most touristy things to do?
It may seem obvious, but the Louvre is a must-see. It’s impossible to visit it all in one day, so it’s worth picking a few areas that interest you most. Take a day trip out to Palace of Versailles to walk the opulent mirror-lined hallways and sprawling gardens of the estate once graced by French nobility. On a clear day, grab a Nutella crepe from a street vendor and take a stroll through Luxembourg Gardens, or wander down the Champs-Élysées for some window shopping and a great view of the famous Arc de Triomphe monument. End the day with a picnic at the base of the Eiffel Tower, which lights up from sunset to 1am every evening and sparkles for 10 minutes at the start of the hour.
Wander through one of Paris’s famous weekend markets, from the fruit stalls and fresh pastry venders at the Rue Mouffetard Market, to the vintage treasure trove flea market Marché au Puces de St-Ouen. Peruse the shelves of Shakespeare and Co. — a dreamy independent English bookstore and cafe situated near Notre Dame, and a worthwhile visit for any writer or book lover.