Travel guide: Paris

Paris is one of Europe's most beautiful and romantic cities, attracting millions of tourists every year. When visitors arrive in the City of Light, they rush to its amazing and popular attractions, eager to exploring the Louvre, window shopping on the Champs-Élysées, or visiting the Eiffel Tower. However, there are numerous places worth visiting where you can avoid the tourist crush. Try a different itinerary and you will see a different side of the city. Here is our list with some ideas for less crowded attractions to get you started.
  1. Catch a musical concert at Sainte-Chapelle – Located on the Île de la Cité, Sainte Chapelle is a Gothic architectural gem known for its stunning 15-metre medieval stained glass windows, which make it a must-see attraction. While exploring Sainte Chapelle, stay a little longer and enjoy a memorable candlelight concert of classical or baroque music. The concert listing is available online. Even though this is not a crowded event,  tickets tend to sell out quickly.
     
     
  2. Sail Paris’s iconic Bateaux-Mouches – Seeing Paris from a Seine River cruise is one of the most popular ways to explore the city. As you sail the Seine River, the boats will take you to numerous top sights, including significant buildings, attractions, and bridges. There are a few sightseeing boat companies, but if you want to get aboard a true symbol of Paris since the Second World War, hop onto one of the Bateaux Mouches vessels. Unlike boats operated by other companies, on days with great weather, the open top designs, offers unobstructed views of numerous top sights, including significant buildings, attractions, and bridges along the river.
     
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  4. Visit the dark side of Paris – If you are not opposed to anything morbid, Paris has two fascinating sights worth seeing. First, Père Lachaise Cemetery is the world's most visited necropolis. There are more than a million people buried there, including historical figures and celebrities like Jim Morrison, Chopin, Édith Piaf, and Honoré de Balzac. Second, descend into the depths of the city to visit Les Catacombs, a network of underground tunnels where the remains of more than six million cadavers are neatly lined. The tunnels first opened in the late 18th century when local officials realized that traditional cemeteries had become overfull and presented poor sanitary conditions.
     
     
  5. Experience Paris’ famous cabaret – Since its inception in 1889, the Pigalle cabaret has proven impossible to replicate outside its walls. The Moulin Rouge offers visitors incredible international attractions, cancan girls, and plenty of bubbles. When purchasing tickets to see the famous Féerie show, a magical and unforgettable performance that brings together 80 international artists, including 60 very talented Doriss Girls, you can also choose to include a dining experience as a part of a memorable night in Paris. Other ticket options include a show and a keepsake champagne glass.
     
     
  6. Explore France in Miniature – Have you ever wondered what life would be like in France? France Miniature allows you to explore the country’s various regions and beautiful attractions. Being the largest park of its kind in Europe, this miniature park features around 160 detailed models of major French landmarks in an outdoor park in the shape of France. This family attraction is 47 kilometres from Paris and 16 kilometres from Versailles, making it an ideal day trip. Every year, the park is open from April to early November.
     
     
With many restaurants to choose from, it can be difficult to find the perfect place for the ultimate dining experience in Paris. A few that are not to be missed include dining in the Michelin-starred restaurant on the second level of the Eiffel Tower, spending time on a sidewalk terrace or inside a famous bustling Parisian café like Café de Flore or Les Deux Magots. Also recommended, is combining a romantic dinner with sightseeing around Paris on a restaurant bus tour ( Bus Toqué) or a Seine restaurant cruise ( Bateaux-Mouches), and savouring delectable pastries at Patisserie L'Éclair De Génie, just a few minutes' walk from the Carnavalet Museum.
There is no best area in Paris for visitors to stay. Because the top attractions in Paris are dispersed throughout the city centre, much depends on your interests and hotel budget. The city is subdivided into 20 districts or arrondissements (see map). For those visiting for the first time and those who want to be close to top attractions such as the Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, Tuileries Garden, and Palais-Royal, staying in a hotel in the 1st Arrondissement is ideal. If you're travelling with children, hotels in the 6th Arrondissement can provide tranquil surroundings and attractions with plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as the Luxembourg Gardens and Parc Rives. Within the 6th Arrondissement, the Saint Germain des Prés neighbourhood is a convenient location that puts you within walking distance of attractions in the 1st District. And finally, for travellers visiting the City of Light on a budget, the Central neighbourhoods of Paris, like the Latin Quarter in the 5th District, offer reasonably priced options.

Whatever your style, budget, or interests, Paris has something for you. Aside from chic clothing boutiques, you'll find art and handcrafts, home furnishing shops, vintage books, antiques, jewelry and anything else you could want. Here are some shopping options in Paris and what they offer.

  • Galerie Vivienne (tea rooms, rare-book shops, gourmet food and wine, home décor, antique artisan toys and gift shops, high-end fashion boutiques and upscale specialized stores)
  • Passage du Grand Cerf (antiques and fine old jewelry)
  • Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards (a prestigious department store selling everything from top designers’ fashion collections and home designs to gourmet food and hardware)
  • The Marais (small trendy and fashionable boutiques featuring local and international designers)
  • Montmartre (vintage clothing, antiques, furniture and hard-to find-beauty products, ceramics, handcrafted and art pieces)
  • E. Dehillerin (an overwhelming selection of cookware)
  • Shakespeare and Co Bookstore (legendary English-language books)
  • Maison Bremond 1830 (food gifts)
  • Parici (souvenir store)

One last thing to remember as you plan your trip: airfare and hotels in Paris can be expensive, so before you leave, you may want to consider protecting your trip investment with travel insurance. When shopping for travel insurance for your trip to Paris, you can look for a policy that provides coverage for trip cancellation, interruption, and delays, lost/delayed baggage, emergency medical treatment, and emergency transportation.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc

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