Few cities have honed their swoon-inducing skills as well as this one: every cobbled lane, every streetside café, every patisserie window seems to have been art-directed by some impossibly savvy set designer; every passerby apparently costumed by a couturier. Paris spoils you for everywhere else—yet somehow, despite centuries at the epicenter of global tourism, it has never spoiled itself. (No city has so successfully navigated the tricky business of historic preservation.) And although Paris does grandeur and drama better than any place, its greatest pleasures are arguably its simplest ones: the rustic charm of a humble neighborhood bistro; the tranquility of a churchyard; the lilt of a jazz combo; the crunch of a perfect baguette. Best of all, such indulgences are easily accessible and affordable (and often outright free). When was the last time your heart quickened by the mere act of walking down the street?
Paris just may spoil you for every other city. Chanel-clad ladies stroll grand boulevards, museum-worthy confections line the windows of every patisserie, and the bells of Notre Dame resonate through cobbled alleys. It's little surprise then that people from all over the world visit Paris, drawn by the cutting-edge fashion, art, and culinary scenes, as well as a certain je ne sais quoi that appeals to all kinds of lovers. While the people watching is second to none, and the Eiffel Tower remains one of the highlights of travel to Paris, this is an insider's city, steeped in a rich history of riots and revolutions. Every quarter is unique and, though the summer is the most popular season to visit, each is compelling in its own way. To make the most of your Paris travel, it's best to have a sense of the places you'd like to explore first. To make the City of Lights your own, turn to this Paris travel guide.
Things Not to Miss in Paris
The Eiffel Tower, Musée du Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Chateau de Versailles, Luxembourg Gardens, and Notre Dame de Paris.
When To Visit Paris
April, May, June, and September are ideal—the weather is warm and the crowds are few.
Strolling through the 2nd Arrondissement’s covered walkways—the historic galeries Vivienne and Colbert or the newly hip Passage du Grand Cerf.
A jaunt along the Left Bank of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower to the undulating Simone de Beauvoir footbridge, which leads to a developing warehouse district–turned–art enclave.
The incomparable shopping along the Rue Charlot, the Rue Vieille du Temple, and throughout the rest of the Upper Marais, where the streets are rife with au courant boutiques.