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Paris Travel Guide

The Paris Traveler's Guide to Make The Most Out of Your Trip

By The Non Fiction Author

Published by The Non Fiction Author

Smashwords Edition

Copyright ©2017 The Non Fiction Author

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Are You Ready for an Amazing Journey?

Chapter 1: Planning Your Trip Ahead (1 to 14-Days Sample Itineraries)

Chapter 2: The Best Places to Eat In Paris

Chapter 3: Where to Sleep & When to Go to the City of Light

Chapter 4: Budgeting Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Money

Chapter 5: Getting Around Paris (Without Getting Lost!)

Chapter 6: Snapshot of Paris' Nightlife

Chapter 7: A Bit of History - Paris Throughout Time

Chapter 8: The Heart of the City: 1st & 2nd Arrondissements

Chapter 9: The Islands: 1st & 4th Arrondissements

Chapter 10: Le Marais: 3rd & 4th Arrondissements

Chapter 11: The Latin Quarter: 5th Arrondissement

Chapter 12: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the literary heart of Paris: 6th Arrondissement

Chapter 13: The Eiffel Tower: 7th Arrondissement

Chapter 14: The Champs Elysées: 8th Arrondissement

Chapter 15: Opera Garnier to the foot of Montmartre: 9th arrondissement

Chapter 16: Les Gares & Bastille 10th 11th 12th Arrondissements

Chapter 17: Paris South: 13th 14th and 15th Arrondissements

Chapter 18: Paris West Side: 16th & 17th Arrondissements

Chapter 19: Montmartre: 18th Arrondissement

Chapter 20: Paris East Side: 19th & 20th Arrondissements

Conclusion: Aren't You Excited? Your Journey Is About to Begin!

Are You Ready for an Amazing Journey?

Welcome to Paris!

Why Paris? This is a city with a timeless familiarity, but which is constantly evolving. This is France's famously insular capital, which draws more visitors than anywhere else in the world. Here in the City of Light you'll gaze out on graceful illuminations, drink dark coffee, and find darker echoes of philosophy. Paris is a patchwork of separate intimate villages – sewn together to create this singular sprawling, breathing metropolis which has a clearer cut character than any other city. Paris is a place of contrasts.

Where do you start? Paris spirals outwards like a snail, its shell split into twenty arrondissements, (city districts) each section with a distinct and different colour and character. You can begin with the famous and the familiar, scaling Paris's gracefully symbolic iron-lattice, the Eiffel Tower, before ending up in a street-art adorned bar in a suburban neighbourhood, and spying art nouveau relics. Here, you can wander into a flagship haute couture house, hop on the metro and be deep within bohemia at a boutique pop-up shop in a heartbeat. Or bustle through the glorious maze of food stalls in the Marais, following the surging crowds and your nose to fresh fluffy bread, savoury cheese and sweet macaroons before retreating to the lungs of Paris, the lush green spaces of Jardin des Plantes or the privacy of a ZZZ box.

You might fall in love with Paris because it's a mad and quintessential mixture of what is sacred to Europe, and yet there are still surprises to uncover after a lifetime's worth of visits. Immerse yourself in the iconic and order a latte at Café de Flore, the hub of intelligentsia intrigue where the likes of Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre spent hours contemplating the futility of existence – whilst perhaps picking idly at a croissant. Yet you'll be surprised by the patchwork of idiosyncrasies and untold secrets which make a visit to France's capital city such an unforgettable experience, leaving you with memories strong enough to seduce you back time and time again.

Maybe you'll be won over by the balance of enduring tradition and progressive modernity: you'll find a gastronomic culture steeped in pride and exclusive ingredients; a familiar tableau of artistic greatness in Da Vinci's Mona Lisa housed at the Louvre; you can swoon at the luminous white dome of the Sacré Coeur, and witness first-hand the elegant classicism of French fashion. Then there's the postcard of the new Paris. Looking east from above the 13th Arrondissement, glass towers punctuate the rabbit warrens of old working-class neighbourhoods, where fashion trends are swallowed up as quickly as they catch on, and the city's new generation of creatives stroll towards the Rue Louise-Weiss, Paris's new Arts Centre. If history is held in Paris's palm, modernity and a new enlightenment fizzes at its fingertips.

You'll probably fall in love with Paris because it's alive, thriving: joyous proof that a city can love the trappings of the contemporary world without forgetting – or fossilising – it’s past.

Here in this guide we will celebrate both the told glamour and history of Paris as seen in the films – it really does exist - and the authentic localised corners of Paris so you can share its intimacy, allowing everyone to enjoy a multi-dimensional experience in one of Europe's major metropolises whether it's your first time in Paris or your one-hundred-and-third.

So jump in as all is explained – from planning your trip and looking at where to stay, when to go, and learning some handy tips about Parisian culture, through to what you can expect from each Arrondissement in rich detail; the highlights, the subtleties, and the rhythms of daily life – without steering you rigidly along a specific route, so you can create your own unique perspective of Paris. Think of this guide as an honest, direct and friendly addition to Google maps, with a local narrative in place of the extortionate roaming charges.

Paris at a glance

Paris's division into numbered arrondissements, city districts, means that it's a relatively easy city to find your way around, despite its considerable sprawl of 105km. Winding out from the centre in numerical order like a snail, with the River Seine flowing through its middle, the spiral begins at the first arrondissement, or 1er, on the right bank of the Seine – a haven for sightseeing where you'll find the Louvre and Palais Royal. From here it works its way around clockwise, outwards to the twentieth, or 20ème, otherwise known as Belleville, which was traditionally a working class area but has become increasingly cool and yuppified. Each arrondissement encapsulates a unique character, and has different highlights, must-dos and must-sees, which we'll go through later in more detail in the guide's section 'Sections of Paris'.

What you won't find here is a guided breakdown of each arrondissement individually, apart from listing them by name below – the lay of Paris's land becomes much clearer when you name the city in terms of its quarters and areas, for example The Islands, which are located in both the first and the fourth districts. Geographically, a map of Paris doesn't really look like a snail, but more like a labelled diagram of a human heart:

To try and simplify the visuals in this guide, we've converted Paris into a comparatively un-romantic, or un-anatomical grid, which we will feature on each section guide of Paris to help you clearly identify which arrondissements the section refers to, and which they share borders or overlap with:

How to use this guide

This is a concise and direct overview of Paris, with a very French penchant for honesty – and yet we hope it retains its inherent passion for everything which is precious to France's capital city.

This guide is split into two parts – the first, Planning Paris, will help you to prepare for your trip; giving you a baseline on how to navigate the city, useful culture tips, some accommodation and eating out ideas from locals and travellers, along with a handful of helpful budget tricks.

The second part will delve into sections of Paris, selected for ease of navigation and cultural interest. Overall, we hope this guide helps to capture Paris's poetry without polluting essential information with the unnecessary, showcasing a selection of Paris's greatest, timeless assets along with exploring some lesser-known and underrated corners.

It's time to discover Paris in your own way, side-stepping over-hyped attractions whilst enjoying the essence of what really makes the most visited city in the world.

Chapter 1:
Planning Your Trip Ahead (1 to 14-Days Sample Itineraries)

If you could spend several lifetimes in Paris, you would only be relatively confident that you'd experienced most of the city. But then it would have changed again in a few weeks anyway. Just when you think you've seen everything, you'll find new attractions, new cafes, or new markets and museum exhibitions to explore. It's impossible to see the city in three days – as many travellers tend to think they can (we say five minimum to get a real feel for the place) but we have collected a series of sample itineraries together for you to plan how you will make the most of the city of light in a day, a weekend, one week and two weeks.

Paris in a day

Maybe you're trying to make the most of a stopover – maybe you just spontaneously jumped on the Eurostar for a fleeting daytrip. In this overwhelming world renowned city, it's easy to overdose on recognisable monuments, but trust us – this isn't the only way to spend the perfect day in Paris.

10.00 – Straight to the Eiffel Tower

Morning is time to get things done, with a sweet stop on the way: hop on the metro to École Militaire and walk towards the giant magical lattice, stopping on the way for a coffee and a fresh croissant from a patisserie. Gaze up at the Eiffel Tower from the park whilst eating your breakfast and take all the requisite selfies you can. Don't worry, you'll see it again at sunset, and probably throughout the day.

12.00 The Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries

Time to spend some time with one of the world's biggest art collections – but since you're pushed for time, pick a section and focus on it; whether you're fascinated by Monet and Cézanne, or Renoir and Degas, plan your visit at www.louvre.fr to make best use of your hours. Skip the Mona Lisa and wander the Grand Courtyard and through to the bountiful beauty of Jardin des Tuileries, stop for another café (you may need a few) and admire the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, cousin to the more famous version down the Champs d'Elysses.

13.30 Lunch in the Latin Quarter

Poke around the intellectual incubator of the Latin Quarter, where everyone communicated in this academic language up until the French Revolution. With the Sorbonne campus at its centre, enjoy wandering past fountains and lime trees and soaking up the atmosphere of a budding generation of potential poets, philosophers and probably waiting staff. Be drawn into second-hand bookshops, and then follow your grumbling stomach to the lively medieval Rue Mouffetard to take the city's pulse and sample delicious budget cuisine and colourful student bars.

15.00 Notre Dame and the islands

Back on the metro to the Cité stop, arriving in the centre of the Seine at Île de la Cité where you can admire the gothic flying buttresses on this gargantuan ship of a cathedral rearing out of the river. For a spot of romance, stroll to the Pont des Arts footbridge to see the lovers' locks.

16.30 Impressionism and St-Germain des Prés

Save yourself for an early evening of impressionism at the Musée d'Orsay when it's less crowded. Swirl through Jardin du Luxembourg and window-shop your way through St-Germain des Prés.

18.30 Climb to the top of Montmartre

Enjoy the panoramic views from Paris from atop the hill of Montmartre, either trekking off your lunch or by catching the metro, and step inside the glorious white basilica of the Sacré-Cœur. Treat yoruself to a glass of France's finest vin rouge as you watch the city bathed in the glow of sunset.

20.30 Into the night or au revoir Paris

If you're staying the night, why not head to South Pigalle or Belleville, two of Paris's fascinating suburban hot spots for some drinks and interesting bars?

Paris in a long weekend

If you're inclined to believe the film 'Two Days in Paris' directed by Julie Delpy, then a three day weekend in France's capital can either shatter or rebuild a relationship. We're all for building bridges, so here are a few useful pointers on how to construct your ideal long weekend in Paris.

See above 'A day in Paris' for your Friday itinerary.

In the evening, add a twist by getting your skates on for night time rollerblading. Head to place Raoul Dautry, 15th on a Friday night to become one of the carefree Parisian rollers and join them on these wild rides: visit pari-roller.com

Saturday: Canal ambling, modern art, boating and bistro perfection

Ride the métro to Jacques Bonsergent, and roam along the tree-fringed Canal St-Martin. Immerse yourself in the local atmosphere and wander towards Place de République to make a lazy pit stop at one of many bars which open as soon as the sun pops up. It's Saturday, so enjoy your plate of charcuterie and cheese before exploring the sluices of the canal by boat: either book a Canauxrama-tour, or take control and hire a Marin d’Eau Douce (electric boat) for a romantic day of free exploration.

Friday sees you exploring a bit of the Louvre (you can go back today, and even tomorrow too), so today it's time for a taste of modern art at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris – a dynamic contemporary art space. From here, you can walk to the Champs-Elysées and marvel at the lights of the avenue stretching into the city from the Arc de Triomphe.

Head up to Les Halles for dinner and drinks at one of the super hip bistros near to rue Montorgeuil. Now, another slice of Paris's nightlife awaits – try an explosive night of techno and get sweating in La Bulle, a hypnotising plastic bubble which shows up at different locations around Paris: https://www.facebook.com/laBulle.collectif?fref=ts

Sunday: romance on the Seine, galleries, and an evening soundtrack

If you're with your significant other, Paris isn't just about lounging around in bed smoking a cigarette accompanied with whimsical pillow-talk. Sunday is for more sight seeing, so kick things off with a coffee in a boutique setting at La Caféothèque on the picturesque right bank of the Seine, and find the quaint romance of le Marais, untouched by the hand of Haussmann, for a stroll. Visit the enchanting Place des Vosges to roam around the Victor Hugo museum.

Whether you're holding hands or taking a solo stroll, Les Passages Couverts around today's Grand Boulevards (2nd arrondissement, behind the Louvre) make for a worthy haute couture step into 18th and 19th century malls in Paris, with rows and rows of shopping galleries perfect for a covered walkway and a portal back in time. As you wander through the arcades, can you find Belle Epoch galleries such as Galerie Colbert, the Galerie Vivienne or the Passage du Grand Cerf?

Be swung into a foot-tapping frenzy on Sunday evening at Le Baiser Salé in the 1st arrondissement, which divides its time between chanson merchants, world music aficionados, and the Paris's most hotly tipped jazz artists.

A week in Paris

Day 1: Walking around Paris

There's no better way to see the city: start at Champs-Élysées for extraordinary views of Paris, through the Jardin des Tuilleries, pausing to appreciate Musée de l'Orangerie located in the west corner of the gardens for impressionist wonders. Catch the gothic cathedral Notre Dame early to avoid the crowds and, possibly more beautiful, Saint-Chapelle church's underground Roman ruins. Head south towards the Latin Quarter for cafes, and hang out at Rue Mouffetard. Visit the Pantheon and head west to Jardin du Luxembourg. Stop, order some wine, sit by the Seine and watch the world go by.

Day 2: Day at the museums

Use today to become better acquainted with Paris's cultural giants: spend all morning at the Louvre, and plan enough to keep you occupied for that time span (note; it's easy to get over-excited, but don't overdose on the medieval art, or get lost). Lose yourself to the Impressionists at Musée d’Orsay nearby after stopping for some lunch, holding treasures by Degas, Monet, Manet and Van Gogh. Happily spend a few hours here. Then make a special diversion to museum Quai Branley, a modern favourite stuffed with non-European and indigenous art and culture, with fantastic views of the Eiffel Tower from its cafe.

Day 3: Day trip to Versailles

Take a full day out and take the RER to explore the Palace of Versailles and its surrounding flamoyant gardens. The place is huge, and you can easily get lost in the château or the Hall of Mirrors, glittering with the opulence of Marie Antoinette's excessive taste. Do everything in reverse to avoid crowds: start with Marie Antoinette's estate and work backwards to the gardens and the palace. Go easy on the champagne for an early start on day 4.

Day 4: Eiffel Tower

Early is the answer for Paris's most iconic landmark: stop for breakfast at Rue Cler for a pastry and a piping hot coffee before you have a picnic on the grass by the tower and people-watch. After studying its greatest asset carefully and even scaling its dizzying heights for incredible views, take an alternative trip to the city's smelly underground for a history tour of Paris's sewer system. You'll learn a great deal about how Paris functions – and it doesn't really smell that bad.

Day 5: Catacombs & Montmartre

A morbid yet mysterious insight into Paris's history can be found in its underground Catacombs sweeping the underbelly of the city for miles and miles (just how far we're not really sure). Dug in World War II, they are filled with the bones of Monarchists and the echoes of rave parties from the 1990s. Make sure they're open ahead of visiting. Scan the streets of Montmartre where Hemingway and his contemporaries hung out, have lunch here, and head to the seedy district of the Moulin Rouge where you can catch a show or stare at other tourists staring awkwardly into sex shops.

Day 6: Jardin des Plantes and Belleville

Spend the morning climbing up the labyrinth to the belvedere in Jardin des Plantes, and study shrubs ranging from Alpine terrain to tropical greenhouses and medicinal plant displays. Then its time to head out to the outer multi-cultural neighbourhoods of Belleville and Ménilmontant, a cosmopolitan quarter with artists' colonies and strong North African and Asian influences. Explore the nearby Père Lachaise cemetery, where the likes of Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf have an afterlife party. Mesnil-Montant is the thriving centre of alternative Paris, full of little bistros, bordellos and fruit trees. Spend the evening on Rue de Ménilmontant, with its rows of cool bars and nightlife entertainment to choose from.

Day 7: SoPi in style

If you're in Paris for a week, you might want to use your last day to visit Montmartre, having an unflattering portrait painted and coming away clutching fists full of souvenirs. After all the gift shopping, pay serious attention to the foot of Montmartre – pass through Pigalle, where you can return in the evening for cutting edge music clubs like Boule Noire and La Cigale. For a cabaret alternative next to the Moulin Rouge, try La Machine du Moulin Rouge, a hotbed of electro music. Beforehand, root around the often-overlooked quarter of New Athens, home to Musée de la Vie Romantique which houses relics from the romantic era and a gorgeous garden.

Two weeks in Paris

Day 8: Daytrip to Lille

It's only a one hour high speed train away from Paris, so start your second week by discovering this fascinating French/ Flemish city, famous for its beer, mussels, chips and beautiful gabled architecture. For a day of sight seeing, buying a Lille Métropole City Pass is recommended for good value. Make sure you see the Central Lille highlights such as the curious Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille, the bourgeois Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle and Palais des Beaux-Arts, the city's extensive fine art collection.

Day 9: Stay Seine and wander the galleries

Time for a relaxing day by the right bank of the Seine, strolling through the quiet, quaint neighbourhood of le Marais (if you haven't already taken this leaf out of our weekend itinerary). Wander through the resplendent Belle Epoch galleries, or Les Passages Couverts, beginning around the Grands Boulevards and winding your way through glass-roofed splendour back in time.

Day 10: Back to modernity with La Cité des Sciences

This ultra modern museum in the 19th arrondissement will pull you back to the present with space, life, matter, scale models of satellites, planes and robots. It can often get very busy here (reigning in five million visitors a year) so try to get in here early, and mid-week to avoid crowds. You can spend all day at the science museum, and grab the chance to experience weightlessness – it's an exciting journey, and it means you can have more food and wine later.

Day 11: Pompidou and Place des Vosges

The Pompidou centre is one of Paris's most daring and popular galleries, with its radical appearance and crazed, stripped down design giving it the look of a building turned inside out. With an excess of 65,000 works of modern European art, there is a lot to keep you occupied. The transparent escalator on the outside of the building also offers superb views of the city. Afterwards spend some time at nearby Place des Vosges, a square fringed with a beautiful fortification of pink-bricked architecture, up-market fashion and antique shops.

Day 12: Disneyland

Whether you're with the kids or you're way past the age considered acceptable for chasing Mickey Mouse around a giant animated theme park, there's no excuse for not indulging in Disneyland Paris if you're here for two weeks. In a day, you can experience the best bits of the two parks, Parc Disneyland and Disney Entertainment Village, with Fantasyland for young kids and the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster for everyone else's thrills. Plummeting from the top of the 13 storey Tower of Terror is an experience of sheer terror or exhilaration, depending on your perspective.

Day 13: Giverny

Take the Paris/ Rouen/ Le Havre line on the RER to Vernon, then catch a shuttle bus to Giverny – Monet's paradisiacal garden bursting with flowers and the home which inspired a whole generation of Impressionist painting. Here you'll find the famous water lillies floating in a pond teeming with life, along with the iconic bridge and the pink fairytale house where the artist lived. Also make sure you see the Musée des Impressionnismes Giverny which showcases the artists who were influenced and followed in the Monet's footsteps whilst passing through the little town.

Day 14: Literary Paris in St-Germain des Prés

Whether you're flying the following day or you're just ready for a rest after two days of day tripping outside central Paris, St-Germain des Prés was once a hotbed of existential meet-ups, literary geniuses and artistic masters, a hangout for the likes of J.P Sartre, Hemingway and Picasso. You must grab a coffee and a bite to eat in Deux Magots, with a moleskine under the crook of your arm for effect, where Simone de Beauvoir along with the existentialists experienced their epiphanies. Walk around the sixty acre Jardin du Luxembourg, where Hemingway supposedly shot and ate pigeons for his dinner. It's your last night, so treat yourself, don your Chanel and sip a suave cocktail at A-lister hangout Plaza Athénée.

Chapter 2:
The Best Places to Eat In Paris

There's no doubt that you can eat, and drink your way around Paris, with a very distinctive culinary culture entrenched in years of fastidious preparation, routine and perfection; hearty cuisine, haute cuisine and nouvelle cuisine (phrases de-bunked below). France uses Europe's finest ingredients – in fact this country is the EU's biggest exporter of food owing to the richness of its land – and here in Paris, you have it all at your fingertips, whether you're breezing past a Bretagne Brasserie, getting chocolatey chops in a Parisian patisserie, or drinking Champagne's finest vintage by the Seine, this is where the influences of a country of food lovers comes together. Here are a few hot spots where a Francophile can indulge in their every gastronomic whim.

€ - the budget traveler

€€ - mid-range

€€€ - up-market

Cuisine du Terroir

Cuisine du Terroir offers rustic, large, filling meals, often with creamy sauces, focusing on regional delights and traditions.

Georges Opéra - € - 2ème

A lovely restaurant and piano bar between the Opera and the Place Vendome, with an emphasis on affordable, homey, terroir cuisine with some Portuguese influence. Georges really does work there, and he's a nice guy.

Le Château de l'Ouest - Le Restaurant du Terroir €€ - 14eme

Comfortable, cosy and unpretentious, enjoy regional Basque specialities such as sausages and homemade pickles, with staff who have a vast, intimate knowledge of the food they serve.

Le Garde Robe – wine bar €€€ - Les Halles, 1er

Indulge in 'biodynamic' bottles from local growers, favouring natural methods of treating grapes to bring out their terroir - specific spirit of the earth. Can you taste the difference? It tastes pretty terrific and complex, especially with a fine selection of cheese and parma ham.

Café de Flore - €€€ - 6ème

This luxury hangout for the intelligentsia of the Lost Generation is normally packed with tourists, the bourgeouis locals of Paris, and you might even spot a few celebrities whilst sipping on a €4.60 café crème. Play readings and philosophy debates are still a regular occurrence, so head down on Monday evenings, or the the first Wednesday of the month.

Haute cuisine

This is the basis of fine dining for most of the world, taking traditional French cuisine to the next level

Septime € - 11ème

The décor in this surprisingly affordable Haute cuisine restaurant in eastern Paris reflects the owner's background as a design student, with mirrors, antique furnishings and industrial installations. The food is serious, direct and delicious.

Akrame €€ - 16ème

At one of Paris's coolest addresses, it's very difficult to get a reservation here, but worth it if you do. With a twist on the typical Parisian Michelin-star dining experience, you'll find surprisingly delicious flavour combinations, and bizarre amuse bouches (offering a glimpse or teaser or what's to come)

Music Hall Restaurant €€€ - 8ème

Down Champs Elysees, Paris's business and shopping heart where haute couture is King, this is the place to fine dine on frogs' legs, Burgundy snails and tobacco duck, all in a futuristic setting with a white piano, it's worth the splurge.

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