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What's it really like?
Paris rarely disappoints visitors who are looking for a romantic sightseeing city break but there are some pitfalls, mainly in the sheer size of the city for exploring and the litter and graffiti that blights its beauty.
Paris is the world's most visited city thanks to its superbly preserved architecture, not to mention its fame for fashion, food and arts (make your own jokes!) so expect huge crowds at any time of the year.
August tends to be the quietest month when locals head for the beaches but the old tradition of restaurateurs locking up for the holiday is dying out.
There are however, some peaceful retreats. Straddling the river Seine are several formal gardens to relax in when the weather's fine and when planning a trip to Paris add a day-or-two to explore the many nooks and crannies that hide dozens of quaint avenues and back streets. There are some hidden gems, many of which would be the star attraction in some lesser cities.
When visiting Paris on a short break or a budget it's worth making an itinerary of your personal must-see landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame and the Champs Elysees and plan your routes on the Metro. Don't try driving! You won't even be insured to drive in the mayhem of traffic that surrounds the Arch de Triumph
Almost every street and boulevard is lined with caf�s and restaurants which give it that unique Parisian atmosphere.
Shopping: Paris is one of the world's shopping capitals for the finer things in life like perfumes and fashion but don't expect many bargains. One of the city centre malls dates back the 1800s, another department store is officially classified as a historic monument. Others like the Forum des Halles haven't stood the test of time and are now looking tatty.
The Eiffel Tower - the most famous landmark in
Paris looming 320m above the city and notorious for its lengthy queues
for the lifts. It is possible to walk up the first two levels and still
enjoy the views. Early morning is the best time to avoid the biggest
crowds. There are places to eat and souvenir shops on various levels. It
is also possible to book a table for a meal and jump the queue.
Notre Dame -The Cathedral is open from 7:45 am to 6:45 pm and some parts may be interrupted during Masses and Services. The entrance for the tour of the bell tower is on the street at the side of the church. It includes quite a bit of climbing - 387 steps so access may be difficult for some. The Great Bell is the most popular attraction followed by gargoyles. The views over Paris are breathtaking.
The Louvre - A not-to-be-missed experience but allow one full day, at least to enjoy the exhibits. The ideal way is to plan two shorter visits on separate days which would be less exhausting. The entrance is through the glass pyramid and the fee is often reduced after 3pm.
Arc de Triomphe - This famous arch is located at the furthest point away from the Louvre at the other end of the Champs-�lys�es. The detail on the stone carvings is breathtaking, along with the 284 steps up a narrow winding staircase. There are tiny areas up the spiral staircase where climbers can take a breather. It may be possible to use the lift. The views are worth the climb.
Disneyland - Based on the American
versions in Orlando and California, the theme park's main attractions
are zoned-off into Frontierland, Adventureland with
its pirate themes; Fantasyland which is based on the famous Disney characters
and the modern Discoveryland with its focus on space. Our reporter found
much to be improved upon during a visit in December 2010. The public
toilets in the Disney restaurants were often unclean and foul smelling
and smokers were lighting up in many outdoor areas.