Flights to Paris
Is it any wonder the most remarkable minds through the ages have been drawn to Paris? Not only was the City of Light the first to illuminate its streets at night - hence the name - it has been a continual source of intellectual enlightenment given the cadre of writers, artists and fashion designers who’ve called its arrondissements, or districts, home at one time or another.
Moviemakers love Paris as a backdrop because the camera can’t get enough of the French Baroque architecture crowned with kingly mansard roofs, especially when romance is in the air. Paris' exquisite backdrop consists of the Cathédrale Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe (including a panoramic observation deck), the Palace of Versailles, La Basilique du Sacré Coeur, the Louvre Museum itself and oh yes: the Eiffel Tower.
What lies between such grand establishments are equally as grand shopping, dining and people watching (or style watching, for that matter). Parisians are at the forefront of fashion, and their attitude is just as flashy.
There are two airports that service Paris and its surrounding area: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and Paris Orly Airport (ORY). Charles de Gaulle, located 16 miles northeast of Paris, is the primary airport and one of the top ten busiest in the world. Orly, the alternate airport, is situated nine miles south of Paris. Though Orly is a secondary Parisian airport, it’s still the busiest French airport for domestic traffic. Both airports are well outfitted with restaurants, cafes and bars, plus retail and duty-free shopping.
Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
Paris-Orly Airport (ORY)
- At Charles de Gaulle, if you want to travel into Paris by rail, you can take either the RER B Regional Line train or the TGV.
- Rail service to Paris from Orly Airport is either by RER B train, Tramway T7 or by taking a shuttle to the RER C train.
- Both airports are also serviced by several public and private buses and coaches.
- Taxis are available at both airports as well. The ride from Charles de Gaulle into Paris takes about 45 minutes and costs €50-€65.
MONUMENTS AND LANDMARKS
Even if you’ve never been to Paris, once you arrive, it’s instantly recognizable. Of course the most iconic monument in town is the wrought iron lattice Eiffel Tower, built between 1887-1889 for the World’s Fair. The tower has three levels for visitors and tickets are available for ascension either by foot or elevator.
The city’s other triumphantly famous landmark is the Arc de Triomphe, commissioned by Emperor Napoleon and completed in 1836. It stands at the western end of the Champs-Élysées boulevard and is open to visitors who are well rewarded at its pinnacle with panoramic views of the city.
Of Paris’ grand cathedrals, its most well known is Notre Dame. Built between 1163-1345 (yes, that’s almost 200 years), the medieval Catholic cathedral houses some of the religion’s most important relics. Visit and marvel at its rose windows, flying buttresses and ornate gargoyles.
Of all the Parisian museums (and there are many), by far its most famous ¾ and vast ¾ is the Louvre. You’ll want to set aside the better part of a day to take in its collection. And still, you’ll only be dipping your toe in the water. The cavernous 782,910 square-foot museum houses Egyptian and Near Eastern antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman works, Islamic art, sculpture, painting, decorative arts, prints and drawings. And all those people crowded into a single room? They’re trying to lay eyes on the Mona Lisa.
Other not-to-miss museums include the Musée d’Orsay with its Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces, the Musée Rodin dedicated to the French sculptor most famous for The Thinker and the modern and architecturally high-tech Centre Pompidou.
There is no mistaking that Paris is a city for shopping. You might find here that even the corner drugstore sells fine perfumes and fancy handbags. Ground zero for lining your arms with shopping bags is the Champs-Élysées, where the flagship stores of luxury French labels like Hermès and Louis Vuitton mingle with other recognizable British, Italian and American names.
RESTAURANTS AND NIGHTLIFE
Ah, but the French cuisine…oui oui. Paris is as famous for its traditional bistros as it is for its five-star establishments. Dine fashionably at Le Chardenoux des Prés for traditional French cuisine by celebrity chef Cyril Lignac. Top it off with a double espresso if you're feeling sleepy - Paris nightlife has got something for everyone, and you don't want to miss it. Visit Showcase for the energetic partygoers or Chez Papa Jazz Club to listen to jazz all night long. The Bar Hemingway at the Ritz is perfect for those who like it low-key and underground.
There are many ways to stay in Paris: from the lap of luxury to the hip and edgy and the hopelessly romantic. This city is full of venerated old hotels and trendy newcomers. And then, of course, there are the trendy newcomers inside the venerated old buildings.
For an exquisite taste of the high-end hotel scene, spring for a posh room at the Peninsula Paris. The decadent, gold-leaf and crystal-accented rooms will make you feel utterly Parisian and the 360-degree views of the city from the rooftop bar and restaurant are hard to beat.
A quirkier choice for Parisian lodging is the Hôtel du Petit Moulin. Housed behind the storefront of a former bakery, the bold colors and mixed furniture and fabrics were all chosen by fashion designer Christian Lacroix.
A truly romantic choice of hotels is the Hôtel Thérèse in Paris’ tony 1st arrondissement. The lavish hotel is tucked into a secluded spot near the Palais Royal and the guest rooms leave no luxurious detail overlooked.
The overall climate for Paris on an annual basis is mild and moderately wet. In summer, its average temperature hover between 59-77°F. Spring and autumn are generally mild and winters see scarce sunshine with low temperatures around 37°F. There is no real rainy season in Paris, but precipitation is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year.