First visit to Paris? You'll be wowed by world-class art at the Louvre museum and the grace of the Eiffel Tower. But there's always a reason to go back, with cosy Saint-Germain bars, the glittering River Seine and inescapable Parisian style inviting return trips.
The snaking River Seine divides Paris in two, and you'll soon discover where you feel most at home – in the smart Rive Droite (Right Bank) or the literary Rive Gauche (Left Bank). Major attractions cluster on the Rive Droite, including the Triumphal Arch, Jardin des Tuileries and the sweeping Champs-Elysées, a major shopping street. This is the place to stroll the bourgeois, broad tree-fringed boulevards created by Baron Haussmann in the 19th century on the orders of Napoleon III. The Rive Gauche (Left Bank) is home to the iconic Eiffel Tower and literary Saint Germain district bursting with history, culture and nightlife.
Arrive early at the Louvre in the central, first arrondissement to see the first light touch its glass pyramid and beat the crowds to the enigmatic Mona Lisa. Cruise past Ile de la Cité aboard a bateau-mouche or choose to rest beside the fountains in the Jardin des Tuileries. Steps lead up to hilly Montmartre, where you can admire Sacré-Coeur's whimsical domes. After dark, zoom to the top of an illuminated Eiffel Tower before dinner in a trendy Champs-Elysées restaurant or cosy Saint Germain bistro.
Wander the medieval cobbled streets of the Marais, dotted with bars and boutiques. Pick out the Rose Line (of Da Vinci Code fame) in candle-lit Église St-Sulpice then explore subterranean Paris via its labyrinthine catacombs. Stroll the oak woodlands of Bois de Boulogne. If you're a culture vulture, you can spend hours in the Left Bank's Musée d'Orsay where Impressionist masterpieces hide behind its ornate clock face. Or marvel at contemporary artworks in Palais de Tokyo. For a more intimate experience, try sculpture-filled Musée Rodin, sheltering the world's most famous Kiss.