Paris is more than 2,000 years old. Gauls settled there between 250 and 200 BC and founded a fishing village on an island in the river that is the presentday Ile de la
Cité, the center around which Paris developed. Paris is located in northern central France. The area north of the river Seine, the Rive Droite (Right Bank), includes the tree-lined Avenue des
Champs-Élysées, running west to the Arc de Triomphe. East of the avenue is the massive Musée du
Louvre and the Centre Georges Pompidou. On the Île de la Cité is the world-famous Notre Dame. The area south of the river is home to the city's most prominent landmark, the Eiffel Tower.
Eiffel Tower: This towering edifice was built for the World Fair of 1889, held to commemorate the centenary of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel, it stands 320m high and held the record as the world's tallest structure until 1930.
Notre Dame: The city's cathedral ranks as one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture. Notre Dame was begun in 1163 and completed around 1345.
Musée du Louvre: This enormous building, constructed around 1200 as a fortress and rebuilt in the mid-16th century for use as a royal palace, began its career as a public museum in 1793. In the 1980s, the Louvre was revamped, with the addition of a 21m glass pyramid entrance.
Centre Georges Pompidou: Designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in the '70s, the Centre Georges Pompidou is displaying and promoting modern and contemporary art.
Versailles: Beginning in 1664, the construction of the castle lasted viltually until 1715. It remained the residence of the royal family until the Revolution of 1789.
Disneyland Paris: Disney Paris is Europe's most magical adventure for children and adults alike. There are no less than five imaginary lands to enjoy.
You can stay in one of several Disney-themed hotels in three different price
ranges inside the park, or you can stay “in France” and travel to EuroDisney
by train or car.
Hotels and hostels in Paris
For backpackers wanting somewhere cheap to stay in the city itself, there is
the ‘Hotel Alize Grenelle Tour Eiffel’ on Avenue Emile Zola, between the
Tour and the Porte de Versailles. Rooms are soundproofed and there is free
Wifi and parking nearby. As an alternative, try the ‘Perfect Hostel’, within
walking distance of the Moulin Rouge and Sacre Coeur. This hotel for
backpackers and families on a budget has ensuite rooms for two or three, and
a lounge and TV room for socialising. A three-star hotel in traditional
Parisian style is the ‘Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain’. Here the 31 rooms are
air-conditioned and there is a flowery courtyard to relax in. Wifi is free
here too. In the four-star hotel category, try the ‘Citadines Prestige Les
Halles’, an apartment-hotel just 500m from the Pompidou Centre and a ten
minute walk from The Louvre. (There is a metro station close by too.) Each
air-conditioned apartment has a private bathroom and kitchen with microwave,
fridge and dishwasher. Also within walking distance of the main sights but
at the luxury end of the range is ‘Le 123 Sebastopol – Astotel’ (i.e. the
Astotel group’s hotel in boulevard Sebastopol). The whole hotel is themed
around cinema, and each room is individually styled with unique cinematic
décor – it’s a shame you will only get to see inside one of them (though
there are pictures of others on the hotel’s website)!