Paris, the "City of Light," is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destination. France’s largest city and its capital attracts in excess of forty-four million visitors annually for its architecture, art, cuisine, nightlife and high-end shopping. Paris attracts guests of all ages with its culturally-rich activities and attractions.
Founded in 1789, the Louvre Museum is home to some of the finest art pieces by Picasso, Rembrandt and Raphael, including one of the world’s most famous works – Leonardo da Vinci’s, “Mona Lisa.” Aficionados of the Impressionist Movement will be interested in visiting Musee d’Orsay which features paintings from impressionist and post-impressionist artists. In the Centre Pompidou, the traveler will discover the Museum of Modern Art with over 10,000 works from European and International artists as well as revolving exhibitions of artists of today.
The most famous architectural structure is the Eiffel Tower; the wrought iron lattice tower opened on March 31 of 1889 as the entrance of the ’89 World’s Fair. The tallest structure in the “City of Light” at 1,063 feet tall, equal to that of an 81-story building, has three levels – the first and second containing shopping and restaurants while the third level is an observation deck. Located on the Champs de Mars, visitors can climb the three hundred stairs to access the first level and another three hundred to level two while individuals take a lift to reach the highest level.
Notre Dame Cathedral is another popular Paris attraction. The Gothic structure is one of the largest and most well-known churches in the world; the cathedral which took over three hundred years to complete was constructed over eight centuries ago. Other tourist destinations include the Arc de Triomphe and Sacre Coeur, a Roman Catholic Church and Basilica, located on the city’s highest point.
Many of the architectural structures are illuminated at night, including the aforementioned Notre Dame Cathedral and Arc de Triomphe as well as Invalides, a complex of buildings housing monuments and museums relating to the France’s military history. Palace de la Concorde is the city’s largest public square.
Le Procupe, the oldest cafe in the city founded in 1686, is one of 12,000 cafes in Paris. Traditional French dishes include grilled rib steak with bernaise sauce, candied lamb with spring vegetables and fish bouillabaisse. Along with its numerous cafes, Paris is known for its sidewalk bistros and famous fine dining restaurants. Dinner is typically a multi-course meal served relatively late around 9PM. Desserts are plentiful and most often comprised of an assortment of fruit tarts, custards, pastries, gelato, desert soups and crepes and crème brulee. The city is known for its haute cuisine, food diligently prepared and presented with an artistic flair. Since 1900, the Michelin Guide has been a standard guide to French restaurants; in the newest release this March, a total of 616 restaurants in Paris received stars, while the “City of Light” now has twenty-nine three-star rated (its highest ranking) restaurants.
While bistros have become costlier to maintain, brasseries, similar to cafes, are prevalent serving food and drinks throughout the day.
Popular foods try while visiting Paris include caramels foun at Partrick Roger or Jacques Genin, Bordier Butter and cheese, which can be found one of the many cheese shops, superior baguettes and pastries, as well as chocolate from one of the numerous choclatiers.
Along with cuisine, Paris is world-renowned for its wine. Visitors to France’s capital city are able to experience samplings on tours to secret vineyards and visiting the plentiful wine bars.
Where to Stay
With the city being one of the easiest accessibility-wise to walk or using the metro-system, Paris’ many neighborhoods offer various environments in which the visitor may find lodging. Saint German recommended for families, located on the Left Bank, is home to many shops and restaurants; Marias is a trendier location for younger travelers looking for shopping and nightlife. Other neighborhoods include, the 7th Arrondisement home to the Eiffel Tower, museums and well-renown restaurants, Montmartre for couples who prefer a quieter, picturesque area surrounded by vineyards, and the the 1st Arrondisement which is located in close proximity to popular sightseeing attractions such as the Louvre.
The “City of Lights” has a plethora of entertainment options for visitors. The Palais Garnier, Paris’ Opera House, is an historic landmark holding opera and ballet performances. For individuals looking for a nightclub, the city has a number of incredible clubs, including the VIP Room nearby the Louvre on Rue de Rivoli. Along with nightclubs, Paris has many jazz clubs as well as world-class cabaret venues, including Molin Rouge. For those wishing to experience the city outside in the evening, a guest can enjoy its lights and ambiance while sitting on the Canal Saint-Martin with one’s own food and drink or enjoy a movie at one of Paris’ open air cinemas – La Villette or Cinema au Clair de Lune. Couples may prefer the two-hour dinner cruise offered on the glass roofed boat serving a five-course meal with live entertainment traveling on the Seine River while those who enjoy frequenting taverns might enjoy a pub crawl package tour.
The most famous cycling race in the world, Tour de France, takes place over twenty-three days with twenty-one day-long stages. The race which covers 2,200 miles of the country finishes in the city of Paris on the Champs-Elyees. The cycling phenomenon carries over to Parisians and tourists as the city offers a bike-sharing system, Velib, which distributes 20,000 public bicycles over 1,800 parking stations.
The city has a long history of being prominent in the sporting world as Paris hosted the Olympic Games twice in 1900 and 1924 and is home to the French Open, one of tennis’ four “majors” played annually on the red clay at Roland Garros National Tennis Centre. Along with cycling and tennis, Paris is known for its football, American soccer, as Paris Saint-Germain plays its home games at Parc de Princes in the south-west portion of the city. The club just aquired one of game’s stars, twenty-five year-old Neymar.
The city has progressed for those with mobility issues as a great number of public buses are now wheelchair accessible. Paris has a number of companies and organizations which rent accessible cars, taxis and minibuses. Special Needs Group is pleased to be able to deliver Wheelchairs, Scooters and Power Chairs to guests staying at hotels within Paris for their mobility needs. For more information regarding Paris mobility service rentals, please call us at 800-513-4515 or 954-585-0575.
Special Needs Group / Special Needs at Sea is the leading global provider for Special Needs travel. We offer a broad range of Special Needs equipment including wheelchair rentals, electric scooter rentals, power chair rentals, oxygen rental, JOB Beach Wheelchairs, and more. We are recommended by ALL major cruise lines for superior service and value. Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and convention centers. For more info, visit www.specialneedsgroup.com.