Paris fashion district 5
Aloof, classic, with a hint of rebellion, classy with a touch of irreverence, the City of Light boasts countless highlights and only fully opens up to visitors who take their time here. City of Lights, did you say? Paris was given this nickname in the 17th century, when visitors marvelled at its dense public lighting that was ahead of its time, as well as the presence of lanterns in residents’ windows.
Whether it's an unmissable example of its secular heritage or a recently opened attraction, the sites you can explore along the city’s typical streets bear witness to an unfailing richness and vibrancy. Fashion Week, the Roland Garros French tennis open, the Art Paris Art Fair, the Foire de Paris… in this city, fashion, sport and design as well as architecture, literature and haute-cuisine have found the perfect home.
The international capital of gastronomy, Paris is home to the best Michelin-starred chefs and celebrated pâtissiers, committed to upholding the city’s coveted culinary excellence or keen to branch out into fusion cuisine combining French savoir-faire with discoveries from around the world.
Of course there’s the unavoidable Champs-Élysées, deemed to be the “most beautiful avenue in the world”, and its neighbour, the Avenue Montaigne, which has adorned its stunning Haussmann buildings with luxury boutiques, with Chanel and Dior leading the way. Plus a quintet of spectacular monuments: the Arc de Triomphe, the Trocadéro, the Opéra Garnier, the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, which give Paris its familiar yet disconcerting solemnity. Internationally renowned museums such as the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais and the Musée d'Orsay are often housed within sumptuous buildings that are worthy of interest in their own right for anyone who appreciates great architecture. Then there’s the Eiffel Tower, the eternal iconic monument, whose first level has just undergone a spectacular renovation, giving it a floor made completely of glass.
But if you want to experience a more intimate, private Paris, head to one of its newly restored districts: Pigalle has enjoyed a trendy rebrand around its famous Rue des Martyrs and has now become SoPi (South Pigalle); Montorgueil and its street paved with good intentions and mouth-watering shops; or the 20th arrondissement, from the Père Lachaise Cemetery to the dizzying heights of Ménilmontant, now a popular haunt among artists and designers of all genres. Because Paris is a village, or rather a collection of villages – from Montmartre and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, to Le Marais and Le Faubourg Saint-Honoré – studded with remarkable gardens such as the Tuileries, Monceau, Place des Vosges and the Palais Royal, the perfect destinations for an aimless wander or a lazy drink. Each of the twenty arrondissements that spiral around the Seine like a snail offers a unique, charming way of life.
If it’s shopping you’re interested in, then there are plenty of department stores to choose from: Le Bon Marché on the left bank in the incredibly chic 7th arrondissement, Galeries Lafayette, Le Printemps and BHV on the right bank. Last but not least, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a taste of Paris’s famous nightlife: Le Lido and its brand new review by Franco Dragone, the Moulin Rouge and its legendary French Cancan or the sensual Crazy Horse and its nude dancers bathed in light: a cabaret experience for everyone! Innovative and devilishly decadent, Paris is constantly reinventing itself, drifting from chic brasseries to new Michelin-starred restaurants, from private clubs to industrial wastelands that have been transformed into trendy venues. Hemingway was absolutely right: “Paris is a Moveable Feast”.