Search results

What is it that makes Paris so special? The Seine, the French, baguettes, the atmosphere, the restaurants, the magnificent buildings or the many museums? Perhaps it's a combination of all these things. Paris has everything you need for a perfect holiday.

Ask anyone in the Western hemisphere to name the most romantic city in the world and he or she will say...Paris! Oh la la, and the best food...? Paris! The most beautiful clothes...? Voila...Paris. So, has a trip to Paris become a mere cliche? Absolutely not!

Whereas cities like Vienna and Venice have to rely heavily on their history, Paris keeps reinventing itself. Of course people continue to visit traditional favourites like Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge and the magnificent Eiffel Tower, but a visit to Paris has so much more to offer than just these sights.

To give you a quick idea of what you'll find here, we've compiled a list of some of Paris's nicest neighbourhoods.

Ile de la Cite
Ile de la Cite is often referred to as the epicentre of Paris, and lies in the Seine. The Notre Dame Cathedral is just one example of what you'll find on the island. It's also close to the Quartier Latin.

Quartier Latin
You'll find the cheapest and best restaurants and entertainment spots of all Paris in the Quartier Latin. Paris's famous university, the Sorbonne, is also located here and lots of students live in this neighbourhood.

Montmartre
This neighbourhood lies just outside the centre of Paris and is famous for its artists, terraces and, of course, the Sacre Coeur.

Les Invalides and the Eiffel Tower
Historic buildings, embassies, impressive houses, spacious parks, Napoleon's tomb and 'bien sur', the Eiffel Tower.

Jardin de Luxembourg
The area around the Jardin du Luxembourg is Paris pur sang. Parisians come here at the weekends to relax. Take your time to stroll through this neighbourhood. You'll often find antique markets here at the weekends.

History

Paris is named after a Celtic tribe, the Parisii. The Celts established a settlement on the island now known as Ile de la Cite. At that time, Paris was nothing more than a small fishing village. In 55 BC, the Romans captured the city, renaming it Lutetia. In 486, Paris became part of the French Empire and was appointed the nation's capital.

During the Middle Ages the city was a religious centre and religious architectural masterpieces like the Saint-Chapelle were built. In the 13th century, work started on the Louvre and the Notre Dame. By that time, Paris had also become the centre of education and boasted an excellent university, the Sorbonne. During the Renaissance, the city was an important cultural and intellectual centre. Under Louis XIV's leadership, Paris developed into rich and powerful city. Louis XIV built luxurious residences outside the city and the numerous castles around Paris are what remains of them. After the bloody French Revolution in 1789, the French monarchy was replaced by a republic. When Napoleon Bonaparte came into power, he wanted Paris to become the new centre of the world. Baron Haussmann was responsible for redeveloping much of the city. Paris acquired elegant avenues and boulevards.

By the end of the 19th century, Paris had become the driving force behind Western culture. The city escaped German occupation during WWI. From 1920 until 1940, Paris was a worldwide centre for artists, musicians and writers. New movements like cubism and surrealism took shape here.

France was occupied by the German army from 1940 until 1944. French and allied troops liberated Paris from the Germans in August 1944. These days, Paris, with its 12 million inhabitants, is still considered one of the four leading cities of the world, alongside London, Tokyo and New York. The city remains the cultural centre of Europe and the world.