Paris might be a sprawling metropolitan city filled with cosmopolitan bars, trendy pop-ups and exclusive exhibits, but it still has a small village feel to it. Thanks to its rich, cultural core, and pristinely restored historical architecture, Paris has a charm and attraction that cannot be rivaled by other European cities. Discover all Paris has to offer along the River Seine and further afield with a vacation to the French capital.
What better place to start your exploration of Paris than at the Eiffel Tower? This landmark structure is a relatively new addition to the Parisian landscape. The signature spire constructed by Gustave Eiffel was originally only meant as a temporary structure for the 1889 World’s Fair. However, still today and at 320 meters high, the tower makes Paris’s skyline charmingly unique and offers spectacular views across the city. Should you be feeling energetic, you can climb the 704 steps to the viewing platform.
The only downside of the city view from the Eiffel Tower, is that you are missing the Tower itself from the panorama. An alternative viewing platform is from the top of the iconic Arc de Triomphe. This intricately sculpted arch, which was commissioned to mark Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz in 1805, stands at the center of the Étoile (‘star’) roundabout where dozens of avenues and boulevards branch from. However, there are no lifts available, but the 50-meter climb over 284 steps is well worth the effort.
Art lovers will feel right at home at The Louvre. As one of the world’s largest and most diverse museums, visitors to Paris cannot resist spending a day or more in the halls of this four storey palace. With over 35,000 works of art it would take nine months to see every piece. Its art ranges from Mesopotamian antiquities to Michelangelo’s Slaves sculpture. So, plan ahead and try to squeeze in as much as you can of this outstanding gallery.
For modern art, visit the Centre Pompidou. It is quirky ‘inside out’ architecture and was designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. No wonder it makes for the perfect home for Europe’s largest collection of modern art. With a rooftop bar and industrial-themed restaurant, there’s plenty to keep you busy at Pompidou.
A trip to Paris is not complete without a visit to Cathédrale Notre Dame. Wander along the Left Bank until you reach Cité, the bigger of the two islands in the middle of the River Seine that runs through the French capital. Rest your tired legs from a day of exploration inside the 6,000 seated aisles. If you are lucky, you will catch the choir practicing or the bells being rung out from the Cathedral’s bell tower.
But the highlights of Paris do not start and end in its 20 arrondissements, which is how its districts are called. Just a short drive from the city center, you can find the Château de Versailles. This mid-17 century palace and formal gardens were built during the reign of Louis XIV for the French monarchy. Since then, the château has undergone minor restoration, so visitors have a real sense of stepping back in time when they visit.
Families on vacation in Paris can also visit Disneyland Paris for the day. It is located east of the city at Marne-la-Vallée. Embrace your inner child and make friends with all your favorite Disney characters at the amusement park that attracts millions of visitors each year.
Exploring Paris could not be simpler with a rental car from Orbitz. Whether you are looking for a sleek city car to whizz around the cobbled streets of the city center, or something more suitable for a family vacation and road trip, we have you covered. Let us know your needs and budget, and we will find the perfect car for you. Prebook your car and pick it up at Roissy - Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).