This is it! You are nearing a visit to the one of the world’s greatest cities, Paris! The capital of France is also known as the City of Lights. This enchanting city, at the crossroads of cultures, is the capital of fashion and home to world highlights such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Avenue des Champs Elysées, to name but a few. In terms of architectural beauty, art history, events, gastronomy and sheer extravagance, Paris is a milestone ahead of any other city on earth.
Beyond the highlights of the city, the Paris Region also offers a lot of discoveries. With a very efficient transportation network, it is easy to discover monuments and landmarks outside the city. In 2014, the Paris Region will commemorate the bicentenary of the French Campaign of Napoleon I and the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
Spend the first two days unearthing the history of Napoleon I, a famous French emperor. Visit the prestigious Hôtel National des Invalides, which houses the Army Museum. The collections concerning Napoleon Bonaparte, his armies and his marshals are particularly remarkable. Don’t miss the famous painting of Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne and most importantly his monumental tomb in the Dome Church. In the afternoon take a local train from Paris-Gare de Lyon to head to Fontainebleau (1h trip). From there take the bus Line A to discover the Château de Fontainebleau, the “true home of Kings” and today a UNESCO World Heritage site. Afterwards, head back to Paris to take a romantic dinner cruise with the Bateaux Parisiens, while admiring the sparkling Eiffel Tower.
On the 2nd day, take the local train to Rueil-Malmaison, where you can visit the Château de Malmaison, a place where Napoleon used to organise feasts and banquets. An authentic example of the imperial era, the castle is a precious gem from the First Empire. The Château de Malmaison, the residence of Napoleon and Joséphine Bonaparte, has furniture, tapestries, woodwork and paintings which make it a precious gem from the First Empire. In spring 2014, an exhibition about Joséphine’s passion for botany will accompany the re-opening of the old rose garden.
When you are in Rueil Malmaison, take time to visit Château de la Petite Malmaison, which has retained the exquisite atmosphere that reigned during the First Empire (visits by appointment all year round) and the Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul Church which houses the tomb of Joséphine.
Once back in Paris, it is time to enjoy a must of the Parisian nights. Head to one the famous Parisian cabarets: the Moulin Rouge, the Lido, the Crazy Horse, the Paradis Latin, or the new Mugler Follies. Each of them have its own style, from the most traditional to the most visionary!
Our tip: To go to the Château de Fontainebleau, you can take an audio guided tour in a comfortable bus from Paris and back with PARISCityVISION.
After culture comes shopping time! At the crossroads of trends and designers with its world famous department stores, Paris has earned the title of the fashion capital of the world. Everywhere in the city, you will find designer shops, famous brands and many friendly boutiques. However, there is one place that stands out for its elegance and wealth of designer creations: the legendary Galeries Lafayette. If you are looking for jewellery boutiques, head to Place Vendôme. Do not forget to have a walk in the Marais district, at the very heart of the latest trends.
Our tip: Non-EU visitors can obtain a tax deduction. Ask a shop assistant about it when you are the Galeries Lafayette or any big shops.
The First World War had a huge impact on Paris and its region. A number of key points in the First World War took place in Paris and its region: the departure of French soldiers from the Gare de l’Est; the Battle of l’Ourcq; the taxis of the Marne leaving Invalides to support the troops on the front lines; the Eiffel Tower intercepting enemy messages; the peace treaty signed in the hall of Mirrors in the Château de Versailles.
Today, there are many monuments that pay tribute to the soldiers. Head to Meaux with a train departing from Paris-Gare de l’Est, to visit the Museum of the Great war where you see all the aspects of the conflict. In the afternoon, visit the Arc de Triumph, found on the famous Champs Elysées avenue. When it’s time to eat, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Indeed, Paris has a wealth of restaurants serving specialities from every corner of the world and you can choose either to dine in a neighbourhood bistro or in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
With or without kids, a place not to miss is Disneyland Paris® (easily accessible by RER A). If you have a couple of days to spare, don’t miss visiting: the Château de Vaux le Vicomte, the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the Stade de France, the Gourmet Chocolate Museum or the Grévin Museum, to name but a few. Many sites offer tours and events which can be enjoyed as cultural family outings.