You must see Paris at least once: Paris’s street art scene first came into being in the 1960s, and has been growing ever since. The city’s suburbs, outer arrondissements and centre provide plenty of wall space for local and international artists to get creative with their spray cans and transform whole areas into outdoor art galleries. By its very nature, this stuff tends to move, vanish and change a lot – so take a look at dedicated blogs for up-to-date info.
Paris restaurant pick : Okay, it costs a freaking fortune (145 euros), but the vegetarian tasting menu by three-Michelin-starred chef Alain Passard is as close to nirvana as Paris can deliver for vegetarians. It’s so good that accompanying non-vegetarians will forget they came as a somewhat selfless gesture, too. Passard’s vegetables come from his own organic farm, and what you’ll get depends on what’s available at the time. A sample of Passard’s talent with the bounty of the garden includes dishes like cep mushrooms with lemon and a vol au vent (puff pastry case) filled with baby peas, turnips, and snow peas in a sauce spiked with Cote du Jura wine. It’s worth pointing out that people have strong feelings about L’Arpege — the restaurant has its share of critics, including Eater’s own Ryan Sutton.
To truly soak up the alluring ambience of Paris, tourists should try taking a boat cruise along the Seine River. Besides being one of the most enjoyable things to do while visiting the city, Seine River Cruises allow tourists to see the sights from a different perspective. The Seine River bridges, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Louvre Museum look stunning from the viewpoint of a riverboat. While a daytime cruise allows tourists to appreciate the glory of the monuments brightened by sunshine, the most romantic experience is an evening cruise. After sunset, the city’s landmarks are illuminated, which creates a special effect, and somehow the city seems more magical. For a cruise that includes dinner, try the Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Cruise. This four-hour sightseeing journey departs near the Eiffel Tour, and guests are treated to a gourmet three-course meal. See even more details on Paris travel blog.
Paris shopping pick : Boulevard Saint Germain, Bon Marche & Rue du Bac: Running through the elegant 7th arrondissement, the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and into the lively Latin Quarter, Boulevard Saint Germain is a street shoppers won’t want to miss in Paris. Starting at the Seine River in the 7th, this pretty street is lined with trees and beautiful Parisian buildings. It’s a great spot for home decor shops, fashion boutiques and gourmet food shops. As you reach the intersection with Rue du Bac and Boulevard Raspail, you’ll enter a fabulous shopping neighborhood. Follow Boulevard Raspail down to Rue de Rennes, and along the way you’ll find many interesting stores, including Genevieve Lethu for dishes, tablecloths and so on (95 Rue de Rennes). Plastiques (103 Rue de Rennes) is great for home gift ideas, including cool cheese trays, salad bowls out of clear plastic with Provencal flowers inside and so on.
The Arc de Triomphe is dedicated to the soldiers who fought in the French armies of the Revolution and the First Empire (Napoleonic Wars). Napoleon commissioned the building of this mighty structure in 1806 but did not live to see its completion in 1836. Designed by JF Chalgrin, the massive 50-meter-high arch features bas-reliefs with larger-than-life-size figures, which depict the departure, victories, and glorious return of the French armies. Particularly noteworthy is the bas-relief by Francois Rude on the Champs-Elysees-facing side: Departure of the Volunteers of 1792, also known as The Marseillaise, illustrating the troops led by the winged spirit of Liberty. On the inner surface of the arch are the names of more than 660 generals and more than a hundred battles. From the top of the monument, a viewing platform affords panoramic views of the 12 avenues that radiate from the Place de l’Etoile, including the route from the Champs-Elysees to Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. It’s possible to see all the way to La Defense, Montmartre, and the Eiffel Tower. Read more details on FranceTravelBlog.com.