Day 1 - Let the Tour Begin
As soon as you check in drop your bags and get right into it. You really should get as much out of Paris as you can.
Make Montmartre and the amazing Sacre Coeur your first stop. Located beside one of the seediest parts of the city, Montmarte couldn't be further removed. And as well as being home to the beautiful basilica, this part of the city is home to hordes of artists. You'll see them dotted everywhere with their easels and sketch pads but beware the hawkers. These are the guys who will harass you for the duration of your stay asking to paint your portrait so say no from the outset and let them know that you mean it.
It's a really good idea to avail of one of the hop-on, hop-off bus services that litter the city and whip you around in no time. They take you to all the major sights and you can spend as much or as little time as you wish at each one. You should be aware, however, that the queues at many of them are pretty insane, particularly at the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. A little insider tip for the Eiffel Tower is to walk the stairs to the first level and then take the elevator - much quicker and much cheaper too.
For your first evening of socialising, Bastille is a good choice. Laden with an excellent selection of restaurants and an eclectic mix of watering wholes, you won't be short of places to eat and drink. One place well worth a visit, however, is Les Leches Vins. Not the most impressive pub in the city, but it's certainly one you won't forget. And it does sell particularly cheap pints of Kroneneberg which is definitely a good reason to visit. Paris is expensive and the drinking scene will dent your budget most of all.
Day 2 - Out and About
We recommend beginning day two on one of the most famous streets in the world - the Champs Elysees. Indulge yourself with a nice breakfast in one of the many cafes which line either side of the street and then do some shopping. Not the cheapest place on earth to shop, but unavoidable. Make your way to the Arc de Triomphe which lies at the top of the Champs Elysees and for a breathtaking view of the city climb the 292 steps to the top where there is an excellent vantage point.
After catching your breath make your way to Esplanade des Invalides. The huge golden dome is unmistakable and can easily be reached by Metro from the Champs Elysees - or if you're feeling energetic at all it is also within walking distance. Commissioned by Louis XIV as a home for wounded soldiers, it is one of the richest museums of its kind in the world and is home to an unrivalled selection of armour, weapons, uniforms and art. It is most famous, however, as the final resting place for one Napoleon Bonaparte.
This should provide you with your fill of sightseeing for day two so we recommend adjourning to Le Marais for the latter half of the day. With its picturesque streets and carefully restored architecture it's almost like walking around an open air museum. And when you've tired of all the strolling, you'll be happy to hear that Le Marais is also one of the liveliest parts of the city after sun down so there's no shortage of places to kick back and relax until the wee small hours.
Day 3 - Culture Vultures
To begin your next day in Paris, take the Metro to Concorde, the city's largest public square and walk through the Jardin des Tuileries, the wonderful gardens commissioned by Catherine de Medici, which lead you right into the Louvre.
Now, you could spend weeks on end in this world famous art gallery and many happily would. There are a few essential stops, however, if you're not that partial to fine art.
One in particular, of course, is the Mona Lisa which can be disappointing in the canvas, but still worth a visit. After this stroll around for a couple of hours and check out Napoleon's quarters and the collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts if you're afraid of getting too 'arted out'.
From the Louvre, Notre Dame - the most famous medieval cathedral on the planet - is within walking distance. Sunday is obviously the busiest day of the week for sights with religious connections so do bear this in mind. Notre Dame, however, is more than capable of coping with the crowds.
All of this sightseeing is sure to work up an appetite so hit the Latin Quarter for something to eat. The narrow streets are lined with restaurants of the cheap and cheerful variety, as well as the more up market. And there are also plenty of bars and clubs to adjourn to after dinner. This part of the city is one of the most popular with visitors to the city and is home to a wonderful mix of people every night of the week.
Day 4 - Château du Versailles and the Moulin Rouge
Situated just twenty kilometres outside Paris is the town of Versailles. Travelling by train it takes between forty five minutes and one hour to get there from the city centre. The town is best known for two things: the Treaty of Versailles and also the Palace of Versailles. The latter is one of the most visited monuments in the whole of France. Along with the palace, the other best thing about going here for a day is that it gets you out of the city, which is always pleasant.
The palace, which was built for Louis XIV by his father, Louis XIII in 1623, originally started as a hunting lodge, but as he liked it so much he decided to expand it into the huge palace it is today. There are four entrances to the grounds, the best for visitors being entrance D, as this is where organised tours depart from.
Also on the grounds are the gardens which are always maintained to the highest standards. You can also visit the ‘Trianon’ which is the village Louis XIV bought, then demolished to begin building what is the now one section of the Château. All in all, the rooms in the palace are exquisitely decorated and the grounds command amazing sights. This palace is not to be missed and you could easily spend a whole day here.
Thanks to the Oscar winning 2001 film, the Moulin Rouge is famous worldwide now, not just in Paris. Before that it was just the French Cancan which everybody was familiar with. Since the show begun in 1889 famous performers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Elton John have appeared on stage with the female troop of dancers. In the show 60 ‘Doriis Girls’ wear costumes comprising of 1,000 feathers. You won’t forget the night you went to the Moulin Rouge, that’s for sure.
Day 5 - Bargain hunting
Depending on what day you are in Paris, there are a number of flea markets which boast a large number of bargains, once you look hard enough. Known as ‘Les Puces’ the best of the city’s markets (and arguably Europe’s) is the Clignancourt Flea Market, which can be found on the north side of the city. You will find anything and everything here – you just need to have the patience to keep looking for it. Whether you are planning on doing any shopping or not, browsing is just as much fun.
You may find yourself staying at the flea market half the day, depending how well you are getting on regarding the bargain hunting. If not, a leisurely stroll down the River Seine is the perfect way to while away an afternoon. A boardwalk runs along most of the river which flows through the centre of Paris. A good place to commence a walk down this boardwalk is at the Eiffel Tower. From here you can walk down past Jardin des Tuillieres , the Louvre and Notre Dame, also a good place to stop. There are numerous places along the river to sit down, gather your thoughts and enjoy the scenery.
On your final night in Paris, one of the best spots in the city for restaurants, bars and cafés is St. Germain des-Pres. During the summer months the area is particularly lively with live musicians playing all descriptions of music.