Flights to Paris

Paris

Flights to Paris

Live a life more extraordinary with a flight to Paris, where you can take your pick of atmospheric street scenes, epic buildings, iconic museums, moody gardens and romantic bridges to project your ideal self upon. The city which inspired Hemingway, Orwell, Victor Hugo, Balzac and Proust sprawls like a labyrinth, physically and conceptually – producing vanguards of fashion, food, art, architecture and intellectual thought. Even the simple things in life are unimaginably stylish – lingering over a vin naturel and entrecôte et frites in a little French bistro on a moody cobblestone backstreet or wandering through markets on a Sunday afternoon. Book your flight to Paris, now just one stop away with Qantas and Emirates.

The basics
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Paris rarely suffers through extreme weather and has a typical Western European oceanic climate. It’s usually a pleasant 20-25°C in summer (July to August) with a reasonable number of sunny days, while in winter (December to February) it drops down to a chilly average of 3°C, with few sunny days.

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Paris Mega Guide

So much to see, so little time. One of the world’s most walkable cities – Paris’ intimate and elegant streetscapes, interlinked city islands and diverse arrondissements (neighbourhoods) seem purpose-built for endless exploration. Enthusiastic American in Paris, Thomas Jefferson, said of his five years there from 1784, “A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.”

Essential to its ambience is the Seine River which flows through the centre of Paris and creates the iconic distinctions of Left Bank and Right Bank. And just as the Seine gives the city its form, the Haussmann-designed grand boulevards and uniform building heights are also part of the people-friendly scheme – from the widest streets of Avenue Foch and the Champs Elysees through to the narrow, cobblestone laneways of the Marais.

Paris is made up of arrondissements, or districts, that are numbered from one to 20 and follow a logical order starting with the 1st arrondissement at the centre and following an outwards clockwork spiral.

1st arrondissement ‘The Right Bank’

At the centre of the city, this neighbourhood has some of the major attractions including Hôtel de Ville (town hall), The Louvre, the 25 hectare Jardin de Tuileries (which runs between Carrousel du Louvre and Place de la Concorde, Rue de Rivoli and the banks of the Seine) and the beautiful cloistered Place Vendôme. Nearby Rue Saint-Honoré has lots of high-end and designer boutiques, and the small designer department store Colette. Forum des Halles, once a wholesale food market is the city's largest shopping centre – this massive underground complex includes a swimming pool and cinemas. There are numerous interesting shops in the surrounding streets.

2nd arrondissement ‘The Business District’

This neighbourhood has galleries, cafes and boutiques tucked away in its little back streets. West from Rue Richelieu is the theatre district and the Bourse de Paris (Paris Stock Exchange) is also here with a surrounding business hub. The Sentier district is where internet companies and clothing manufacturers are based.

3rd arrondissement ‘Le Marais’

The historic, well-preserved Le Marais is spread across the 3rd and 4th and is a favourite with travellers because of its cobble stone streets, old buildings, Jewish heritage, cafes, restaurants, chic boutiques, design spaces, galleries, perfumeries and trendy bars. It also boasts a great gay scene.

4th arrondissement ‘l'Hôtel-de-Ville’

This is one of the most ‘Parisian’ neighbourhoods in the city with some expensive residential property. The walk from the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) across the bridge onto İle de la Cité and İle Saint-Louis is an easy way to get a feel for the charm and character of the city. The magnificent Gothic cathedral Notre Dame is on İle Saint-Louis. The Centre Pompidou is officially in the 4th but easily visited from the Marais which straddles the 3rd and 4th. On the right bank is the historic Place des Vosges.

5th arrondissement ‘The Latin Quarter’

The 5th and the 6th arrondissements together form the Latin Quarter, which is synonymous with learning and student life, particularly the area around the Panthéon. Montparnasse had its artistic heyday in the `20s and ‘30s. The botanical gardens, Jardins des Plantes and the Roman amphitheatre Arènes de Lutèce are here as well as the interesting modern design of the L'Institut du Monde Arabe. Along the river are second-hand bookstalls. After dark there’s a young scene at Place de la Contrescarpe and Rue Mouffetard.

6th arrondissement ‘St Germain de Prés’

The area between Boulevard St Germain and the River Seine and the Rue de Seine, Rue de Buci, Mazarine and Dauphine is another alluring Parisian neighbourhood. St Germain de Prés is an upmarket area with lots of luxury brands, little cafes, chi chi boutiques and cosy bars. The Jardin du Luxembourg has beautiful gardens designed by Jacques Boyceau.

7th arrondissement ‘The Left Bank’

While this district is known as the Ministers Quarter it’s also got some of the major monuments – the Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars, which was originally a parade ground for cadets. Along the Carré Rive Gauche there are streets of antique shops. The Musée d’Orsay is on the bank of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries and the Jean Nouvel-designed Musée du quai Branly is nearby.

7th arrondissement ‘The Left Bank’

While this district is known as the Ministers Quarter it’s also got some of the major monuments – the Invalides, where Napoleon is buried, the iconic Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars, which was originally a parade ground for cadets. Along the Carré Rive Gauche there are streets of antique shops. The Musée d’Orsay is on the bank of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries and the Jean Nouvel-designed Musée du quai Branly is nearby.

8th arrondissement ‘Champs-Elysées’

The famous boulevard Champs-Elysées extends from Place de l’Etoile down to Place de la Concorde. La Madeleine is a beautiful neoclassical church and Parc Monceau is a popular jogging route. The Grand Palais and the science-oriented museum Palais de la Découverte (Palace of Discovery) are here.

9th arrondissement ‘Grands Boulevards shopping’

The grand department stores Au Printemps and Galeries Lafayette are located in this neighbourhood close to the Opéra metro station, named after the nearby elegant Opéra. Nouvelles Athenes is closer to the St Georges metro. The wax museum Musée Grévin is here.

10th arrondissement ‘Canal St. Martin’

This neighbourhood has the beautiful 4.5 kilometre long, 19th century Canal St-Martin with the tree-shaded Quais de Valmy and Quais de Jernappes on either side. Crossed by iron footbridges, the canal was the backdrop for some of the scenes in the French film Amélie. There are plenty of bars and bistros along the way.

11th arrondissements ‘Place de la Bastille’

The Bastille district is a very trendy neighbourhood attracting creative types and centred around Rue du Faubourg-St-Antoine and Rue de Lappe with loads of cool bars and restaurants. Rue Oberkampf to the north has a similar buzz, drawing loads of visitors and local artsy types. The iconic Place de las Bastille, where the Bastille prison stood, straddles the 11th, 12th and 4th arrondissements.

12th arrondissement ‘Reuilly”

While New York has its High Line, Paris has its promenade plantée, the Coulée Verte, built on an old viaduct. The Opera Bastille is at Place de la Bastille. The Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy is where key musical and sporting events are held. The Bois de Vincennes is a beautiful green space for strolls around the lake.

13th arrondissement ‘Chinatown’

The eastern part of the neighbourhood is known as Chinatown with Asian shops, restaurants and grocers. La Butte-aux-Cailles, to the west, is a small residential neighbourhood with lots of restaurants and bars with open-air terraces. The Bibliothêque Nationale de France (the National Library) overlooks the Quai de la Gare on the Seine.

14th arrondissement ‘The Paris Observatory’

Clothing shops and manufacturers run the length of Rue Alésia. Parc Montosuris is a lovely green space. The international city university is opposite. The Bronze Lion of Belfort is in Place Denfert-Rochereau.

15th arrondissement ‘Vaugirard’

On the Seine, the lovely André Citroën Park is an homage to the car manufacturer. There is a replica of the Statue of Liberty on the Île aux Cygnes.

16th arrondissement ‘Montparnasse Tower’

This fashionable district across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is probably best known for the Trocadéro with great views of the city. The hill of the Trocadéro was once the village Chaillot – Palais de Chaillot now tops the hill and houses a number of museums including the Musée National de la Marine, the Musée de l’Homme, the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine. Prestigous Avenue Foch runs southwest from the Arc de Triomphe to Porte Dauphine at the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, a beautiful place to laze around during the day though less safe at night.

17th arrondissement ‘Bohemian Batignolles’

The working class and ethnically diverse Batignolles neighbourhood is now popular with creative types. Place de Clichy is a busy intersection that’s a good place to start from in exploring the neighbourhood where artists such as Camille Pisarro, Pierre-August Renoir and Edgar Degas used to work.

18th arrondissement ‘Pigalle and Montmartre’

The famous Pigalle area is here – a red light district with plenty of neon, strip shows, cabarets and bars that is undergoing a revitalisation. Rue des Abbesses has trendy boutiques and bars and draws a hip crowd. Montmartre has great views and the area has plenty of romantic stairways and interesting side streets. The white basilica Sacré Coeur at the top of Montmartre is one of the most important of the city’s landmarks, while nearby Place du Tertre at the centre of the neighbourhood is thronged with amateur sidewalk artists.

19th arrondissement

To the north of the city, this neighbourhood has the Cité des Science et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry) and the Cité de la Musique. The Parc des Buttes Chaumont is a 24.7 hectare hilly English-style park created from a rubbish dump and quarry in 1860s by Haussmann – it has some great views across the city.

20th arrondissement ‘The East Cemetery’

The Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is a major drawcard to this working-class neighbourhood. Ménilmontant attracts an alternative crowd with artist studios and trendy cafes while Belleville is multicultural with Chinese shops, halal and kosher grocers and street markets on Tuesday and Friday.

Things to do in Paris

In summer, kick back at Paris Plages when the right bank of the Seine is transformed into a beach complete with sand, chaise longues and ice cream vendors. In winter, cross the river by a snow-covered Pont Alexandre III when the gilded winged horses are even more gorgeous against a white backdrop. Tick off the icons by all means (and you certainly should): the Eiffel Tower, a show at the Moulin Rouge, a stroll through İle de la Cité and İle Saint-Louis, and a Seine River cruise. But also pick from the following:

SEE

  • The château and royal apartments at Versailles including Marie Antoinette’s Grand and Petit Trianon and hamlet, and the ornamental pools, fountains and groves.
  • The graves of Proust, Balzac, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison among others at the atmospheric Cimetière du Père-Lachaise, which sprawls over a hillside like a small city complete with cobbled streets and towering cypresses.
  • Pompidou Centre in Paris for its outstanding modern art collection and eye-catching inside-out design.
  • The 1604 Place des Vosges in the Marais, a beautiful planned square lined with ancient buildings including Maison de Victor Hugo.
  • Musée du quai Branly for its Jean Nouvel design with protruding coloured boxes and living wall of lush vegetation, and extensive collection of Indigenous art including the largest contemporary Indigenous art collection from Australia.
  • Musée Rodin with two floors of works in the house and large sculptures in the park-like gardens.
  • Shoah Memorial on Rue Geoffroy l'Asnier in the historic Jewish quarter, the Marais, to learn the story of the French Jews.
  • The Mona Lisa smile or browse 400,000 artistic and historical items at Le Louvre, the massive museum within a palace with infamous queues.

DO

  • Make the most of Paris Plages in summer, when the banks of the Seine are made over as a beach complete with trucked-in sand, umbrellas, wine bars, games and concerts.
  • Climb the hill to the white travertine basilica Sacré Cœur, at the top of Montmartre, an important political and cultural symbol.
  • Go ice-skating in winter at Place de l’ Hotel de Ville and try the small luge run.
  • Descend into the underground 18th century ossuaries of Les Catacombs where the skulls and bones of as many as 6 million people are artistically set into the walls.
  • Cycle Canal-St-Martin from Rue du Temple to Place de Stalingrad past locks and barges.
  • Stroll the promenade plantée, also known as the Coulée Verte. a 4.5km long elevated park, constructed on a 19th century railway viaduct.
  • Walk through the chestnut groves, orchards of apples and pears and along balustraded terraces and ride the famous carousel in the Renaissance Jardin du Luxembourg.
  • Watch Les Bleues play a game of rugby union at the Stade de France.
  • Go to midnight mass at the beautiful French Gothic cathedral Notre Dame, the symbolic heart of the city.
  • Visit the Musée d'Orsay with its incredible collection of Impressionists housed in the beautiful former railway building built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900.
  • Walk over the historic 19th century arched bridge Pont Alexandre III with its gorgeous gold winged horses atop grand columns.
  • Walk through the beautiful Jardin de Tuileries and stop to watch the children float model sailboats in the pond.

EAT

  • Vin naturel, small batch untreated organic wines that do not travel so can only be drunk locally.
  • Steak frites at Le Severo, the famous steakhouse run by a former butcher in the 14th arrondissement
  • A falafel with sauce piquante from L’As du Fallafel on the cobbled Rue de Rosiers, Marais.
  • With a view of Paris at the rooftop terrace of the Au Printemps department store ‘Maison’.
  • The classic dessert Paris-Brest, a concoction of choux pastry filled with hazelnut butter cream.
  • On the rooftop of the Centre Pompidou for breathtaking views of the Paris skyline and a neon-lit Eiffel Tower.
  • A picnic made up of delicious local market food beneath the oak trees and cedars in the Bois de Bologne.
  • Fresh-baked baguettes, beurre and confiture (butter and jam), a tarte fines aux pommes (apple tart) straight from the patisserie.

Bestselling tours in Paris at qantas.com right now…

  1. Paris pass
  2. Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Ticket…
  3. Moulin Rouge Show
  4. Palace of Versailles Small-Group Tour
  5. Normandy D-Day Battlefields and Beaches Day Trip
  6. Skip the Line: Paris Louvre Museum Guided Tour

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Getting around Paris

Located around 25km from the city centre, there are plenty of options to get to where you’re going in Paris. If you are happy to be dropped in the centre, the train is cheap and regular, as is the Roissy Bus which will drop you at Opera. However, if you just want to go directly to your hotel, you might want to consider a private arrival transfer

Once you get over your jetlag, it’s easy to get around on Paris’ eponymous Metro system or even the buses. Simply arm yourself with you like to do things on your own, arm yourself with a Paris Pass and a few handy passes like our Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Ticket and you’ll be saying Bonjour before you know it. If you have limited time, you might want to consider something like our Paris in One Day Sightseeing Tour.

You could spend a lifetime in Paris and never get your fill, but Paris is also a gateway to the famous medieval and Roman towns that dot the French countryside, the French Alps to the south-east that link France to Switzerland and Italy, the beaches of the Côte D’Azur, the Mediterranean cities of Cannes and Nice, and the famous landscapes and wine country of Provence.

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