Paris’ most iconic monument is the legendary Eiffel Tower. Located on the Champ de Mars, this elegant art-deco metal tower has become a true symbol of the city since it was erected in the late 1800s. Active types can climb 1,665 steps to the top; however most visitors ascend in one of the vintage lifts for sweeping 360˚ views over the city – best enjoyed over a glass of chilled champagne.
Back on firm ground, much of the city can be navigated on foot with only the odd descent underground to hop aboard the Metro. Take a leisurely stroll down the cobbled streets of hilltop Montmartre, stopping to watch the rows of portrait artists at work in bustling Place du Tertre. Located nearby is Sacré-Coeur, a stunning basilica located at the city’s highest point.
Key sights include the imposing Arc de Triomphe, a 19th-century monument to French soldiers lost at war; Notre-Dame Cathedral, a spectacular example of French Gothic architecture; and Musée du Louvre, the world’s largest museum which houses a staggering collection of art including the legendary Mona Lisa. In contrast to all that historic architecture, the brightly-coloured Centre Pompidou displays modern works of art by Picasso, Matisse and Kandinsky.
Paris is Europe’s shopping capital. Stroll down the plush Champs-Élysées’ chic haute couture fashion houses and upmarket global chains; or head to the Marais district for cool young designers and vintage boutiques. Bibliophiles will lose hours rifling through the antiquarian book sellers’ stalls that line the banks of the Seine. For antiques, head to the atmospheric Saint-Germain-des-Prés quartier or St-Ouen’s enormous flea market.
Dining in Paris is a truly indulgent experience – the French capital is home to over 100 Michelin-starred restaurants and a plethora of bistros, boulangeries and fromageries. Start the day with an obligatory warm, buttery croissant before lunching on classic steak-frites, an indulgent croque-monsieur or one of the delicious crêpes sold on street stalls around the city. For exceptional French haute cuisine, book an evening table at the two-Michelin-starred L'Abeille or head back up the Eiffel Tower to feast 400ft above the glittering capital at Le Jules Verne. After dinner, head to the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret or watch a mesmerising opera at Palais Garnier.
Paris’ most opulent accommodation can be found at Hotel Plaza Athénée with its sumptuous interiors, Dior spa and Michelin-starred restaurant fronted by Alain Ducasse. The distinguished Le Bristol offers excellent service, a spa and indoor rooftop pool, while Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris is a palatial retreat located off the Champs-Élysées. For boutique luxury, book a room at Hôtel Providence, a lavishly-decorated 1854 townhouse featuring bespoke in-room cocktail bars.