Paris is one of the most iconic and seductive cities in the world. It is a city of food, fashion, art, and romance. It is a city where dreamers and artists go to feel alive and find inspiration, lovers go to get lost in each other, and where revolutions find their feet on old cobbled streets beneath the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. A holiday in Paris is all about getting lost in art galleries, eating croissants at sidewalk cafés, and spending your nights following music and dazzling colour through theatres and cabaret bars. Whatever you are looking for in a holiday and whatever kind of traveller you are, Paris is one of those places you need to visit at least once in your life. South Africans need a Schengen visa to visit Paris or anywhere else in France. You can apply for a Schengen visa on the Capago International website.
Whether it is the spectacular architecture lining the grand boulevards, avant garde art galleries, or smell of freshly baked baguettes wafting through the air, everything about Paris is bewitching. It is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and attractions in the world, so there is never a lack of things to do in Paris. The Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral are three beloved attractions in Paris that have enchanted the world for decades and Musee d’Orsay and Musée du Louvre are home to legendary pieces by Van Gogh, Da Vinci, and Renoir. If you want to just stroll around, Montmartre is a quaint Medieval village with a Bohemian edge that has been a hideout for artists and writers over the years, and Le Marais is one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in the city. Keep an eye out for street vendors selling crepes and corner patisseries selling macaroons. Some of the more macabre attractions in Paris are the catacombs beneath the streets and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery which is one of the most visited cemeteries in the world. Some of the best things to do in Paris at night are watch a traditional Parisian cabaret show, go for a moonlit river cruise along the Seine, have a drink or two at a secret cocktail bar, and watch street performers do their thing.
Paris is famous for fashion, so shopping is taken seriously. For a real Parisian shopping experience these are the main districts you need to wander through: Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards, Louvre and Tuileries District, Marais quarter, Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées, St-Germain-des-Prés, and Les Halles and Rue de Rivoli. In terms of cost, Paris can be an expensive city to travel to, but if you are careful about where and how often you eat out and what you do while you are there, it is possible to enjoy the best of Paris on a budget. Accommodation can cost as little at R300 a night at a hostel or as much as much as R3000 per night for a luxury hotel in the heart of the city. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs about R250 and about R900 for two people at a mid-range restaurant. A beer costs about R30 and an average bottle of wine is about R150. And a single trip metro ticket costs about R30.
Paris is a fascinating city with something interesting hiding around every corner, so walking is one of the best ways to get around and explore the city. However, the Métro system is a labyrinth of railway lines that connects every district. The lines operate from 5am to 12.30am and is reliable and relatively safe. Getting around Paris by train is an easy, affordable, and relatively safe way to get from place to place. You can find information about the routes, times, and ticket prices on the RATP website. Getting around by bus is also a great way to see the city if you want to do things at your own pace. You can use a metro ticket or buy a ticket on the bus. Citymapper is a transit app. That is super helpful for getting around Paris.
Paris is a large city with a number of neighbourhoods with their own unique personality. Deciding where to stay in Paris depends largely on what you want to do on your trip and what you are interested in. However, we recommend staying in more than one neighbourhood so you can experience the many faces of Paris. If you want to splurge on a luxury hotel, the Champs-Elysées is where you want to stay. It is one of the most exclusive areas in Paris and is near iconic attractions and landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe. Montmartre, St-Germain, and the Latin Quarter are great areas if you want to experience the more artistic and eccentric side of Paris. And if you want to be near the nightlife and stay in some of the coolest hotels in Paris, the Marais is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Paris.
Direct flights to Paris are available from Johannesburg and Cape Town on Air France. Connecting flights to Paris are available from Durban and all major cities and towns in South Africa. Direct flights to Paris is between 11 and 12 hours and connecting flights can be up to 20 hours depending on which city you are travelling from. Flights to Paris land at Paris-Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG) in Roissy-en-France, Paris Orly Airport (ORY) in Orly, or Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport (BVA) in Tilléand. Most international airlines offer flights to Paris, including British Airways, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, and Etihad.
One of the best views in Paris is definitely from the Eiffel Tower, but for astounding views of the city and the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe at the top of Champs-Élysées offers the best view. You will need to climb 284 steps to get to the top, but the 360 degree views of the city are truly breathtaking. For the very best view, go just before sunset. Head to one of the nearby bistros afterwards for an intimate dinner with real French cuisine, good French wine, and the romantic buzz of Paris at night.