Paris, France lives up to its reputation as the "city of lights" (or la ville lumiere), from the glimmering Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées with its lighted trees during Christmas time. From the architecture to the museums to the parks and palaces, Paris remains to this day a cultural capital; the city is full of diverse people and maintains a vibrant history. However, some parts of the city’s reputation aren’t true; for example, the idea that French people are all smelly and mean-spirited is a lie. Like everyone else (or at least, most everyone else), French people take showers and most Parisians are actually very polite and helpful.
The Eiffel tower is the best place to go. You should go there either in the early morning or in the night so that you can actually see why Paris is called the "city of lights."
Apart from the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum is the biggest attraction in Paris for tourists. It is an exciting place to see; it’s not a boring museum that you might think only your parents will want to go to. The Louvre is the home of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (which is protected by bullet-proof glass). But if art is not your thing, you can always try the food in Paris.
Authentic French cuisine is light, creamy, and extremely delicious. But if you’re not a big fan of frog legs and snails (which are delicacies in France), then do not ask for the traditional French meal. If you’re afraid of the cuisine, you could always just go to a McDonald’s and order a Big Mac.
If you’re a big fan of the movie Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola, then you have to visit the Palace of Versailles, which is just outside of Paris. You can take a group tour and see Marie Antoinette’s bedchamber, her Hameau (a fake cottage built for the Queen so that she can play the role of a common milkmaid), her retreat (the Petit Trianon), and everything else. French Rococo is the dominant style at Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors (Galerie des Glaces), one of the most recognizable rooms at Versailles, is almost 240 feet long. When you go out to the gardens, you can enjoy the amazing water fountains and the traditional French gardens, laid out in perfect rectangles. Versailles is a beautiful place and when you’re there, you almost wish you could live as Marie Antoinette did.
If you are into fashion, Paris is definitely the place to be. French fashion is always a year ahead of American fashion. Paris is, without doubt, the fashion capital of the world; it has been the home of Coco Chanel and is the birthplace of Haute Couture. The Champs-Élysées in Paris is the Fifth Avenue of Paris; it is where all the designer stores are located. You’re going to need a giant cappuccino because you’ll need the energy to take part in the massive shopping. French fashion doesn’t have to be expensive though. Just like in America, Paris has tons of outlet stores.
The best time to go to Paris is during the wintertime or spring, but not in the summer. In the summertime, lines at galleries, museums, restaurants, and pretty much everywhere are ridiculously long and waiting in the heat can become unbearable.
Because of the Euro, it might not be the right time now to go to Paris (or any European city for that matter). The euro is worth almost twice the dollar, so all that souvenir shopping is going to add up and might make an ugly dent on your credit card.
No matter what kind of person you are, Paris will be the place for you. The city has so much to offer in terms of art, fashion, food, shopping, people, and history. This is one city that everyone everywhere must visit once in their lifetimes.
Where To Stay
Le Village Student Hostel - 20 Rue D’orsel, 75018 Paris, France - $30/day*
Le Montclair Hotel - 62 Rue Ramey, 75018 Paris, France - $30/day*
Hôtel Langlois - 63 Rue Saint-Lazare 75009 Paris, France - $150/night*
Hôtel Chopin - 46 passage Jouffroy 75009 Paris, France - $120/night*
Where to Eat
Liza (Lebanese Cuisine) - 14 rue de la Banque, Paris, 75002 - $$
Citrus Etoile - 6 rue Arsène Houssaye, Paris, 75008 - $$
Ozu (Japanese Cuisine) - 2 avenue des Nations Unies, Paris, 75016 - $$$
What To Do
Musée du quai Branly - 37 quai Branly, Paris, 75007 - $7.70 for students
Musée de l’Orangerie - Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, 75001 - $7.30 for students
Musée du Louvre - 34-36 quai du Louvre, 1e, Paris - $11 for students