Discover Paris with Emerald Waterways

Introduction

Paris is among the most visited cities in Europe, and for good reason. Few places on Earth can hold a candle to its long list of cultural highlights and attractions, and whether you’re a dedicated foodie, a budding art critic or a great lover of historic architecture, the city delivers on all fronts. 

But what makes Paris such an amazing destination? Perhaps it’s the unique timeline, which bears evidence of conflict, revolution and near-constant cultural change. It could be its artistic legacy, with countless painters, sculptors and writers inspired by the city’s historic boulevards and enduring bohemian atmosphere. Or, it could be its reputation for fine cuisine, with Paris long setting the benchmark for gastronomic excellence.

Whatever draws you to the City of Light, our Extend Your Stay offering now gives you the option to enjoy the many highlights of Paris as part of a longer holiday on the Rhône River. Staying in a luxury hotel in the heart of the city, you’ll be well placed to take in all that Paris has to offer – for a city break with a difference.

Architectural highlights

Whether it’s the first or 15th time you’ve visited, there’s always something new to discover across Paris’ diverse arrondissements; discover our pick of the city’s finest structural treasures.

Sainte-Chapelle

paris city guide

One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe, Saint-Chapelle was built in the 12th century by order of King Saint-Louis, as a holy vestige in which to house Christ’s Crown of Thorns. While the chapel is an incredible spectacle on the outside, things get more dramatic within, with the upper floor featuring 600m2 of exquisite stained glass windows, which remain among the best-preserved of the period. It’s truly incredible to think how long this intricate, highly-ornate chapel has managed to survive in such a wonderful, untouched condition, and we’d urge anyone with a love of history and architecture to go see it on the Île de la Cité.

Panthéon

Paris city guide
Perched on top of the Montagna Sainte-Geneviève, the historic hill in the heart of the beautiful Latin Quarter, Paris’ Panthéon is a striking monument, similar in its classical style to the pantheons of Italy and Greece. The building features a vast dome which offers wonderful, uninterrupted views across Paris, but that’s not the only reason why people pay it a visit. After the French Revolution, many well-known figures were laid to rest in the crypts beneath the Panthéon, including Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Marie Curie. This legacy, coupled with its setting in the midst of the enduring charm of the Latin Quarter, makes a visit one of the great cultural excursions of the city.

La Tour Eiffel

paris city guide
Where else to start when showcasing Paris’ architectural feats than the Eiffel Tower? An extraordinary monument which has become an enduring symbol of French culture and the spirit of liberty. Standing at 325m, this is an unmissable highlight in every sense, visible as it is from far and wide across the city. The structure, which contains 10,100 tonnes of steel, was created in a two-year period ahead of the Exposition Universelle of 1889, and has remained relatively unchanged since then – save for the construction of an iconic viewing platform and restaurant that we’d urge you to visit for fine food and even finer views over the city.

Cultural features

Art, food, retail, nightlife – Paris has all the features of a world-class capital, coupled with a unique history that makes it one of the world’s most culturally-rich destinations.

Discovering artists’ Paris

paris city guide
There’s no question: Paris is the world’s foremost destination for art lovers, with a whole host of iconic galleries and museums to discover. And it isn’t just world-class galleries like the Louvre and The Centre Pompidou where you can experience art; Paris itself has inspired generations of artists, from destinations on the Left Bank like Montparnasse, to the cool glamour of Saint-Germain, which was a popular haunt for the artists and writers of the Roaring Twenties. Whether strolling through the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg or hiding out in a tiny brasserie in Montmartre, Paris’ artistic legacy is always tangible, and an integral part of the city’s culture.

Exploring the city’s iconic film locations

paris city guide
Aside from New York, no city in the world inspires filmmakers quite like Paris. Every year, the City of Light plays host to some 900 film shoots, its beautiful boulevards, brasseries and Metro stations providing a backdrop for many iconic big screen moments. Follow in the footsteps of Audrey Hepburn, Gene Kelly or even the charming Remy (of Ratatouille fame) as you explore the banks of the Seine, the heights of the Sacré-Coeur or the elegant gardens of the Palace of Versailles (featured heavily in 2006 historical drama Marie Antoinette). Of course, one of the city’s most recognisable filming locations is the wonderful Moulin Rouge, whose colourful windmill has featured in so many movies.

Shopping in Paris

Designer labels, independent boutiques or thrifty bargains – whatever you’re into when it comes to shopping, Paris delivers a retail experience like no other. Begin on the Champs-Élysées, home to some of the world’s foremost designer flagships, before travelling to the historic Le Marais on the 4th arrondissement, whose medieval streets are lined with boutiques and concept stores. If it’s historic treasures you’re after, the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea market is a must, being the world’s largest open-air antique market. And, of course, you must explore the traditional book vendors which line the banks of the Seine.
paris city guide

A glimpse into Paris’ past

From the Romans to the Revolution, Paris has an impressive depth of history that few world capitals can match. Explore the defining moments of the city in our interactive timeline.

Culinary delights

French food may be synonymous with haute cuisine dining, but there’s more to Parisian gastronomy than posh plates in upscale restaurants. Indeed, some of the city’s finest fare can be found in the patisseries, boulangeries and brasseries which line its elegant boulevards.

Marcarons

paris city guide
Few foods are as synonymous with a specific location than the macaron is to Paris. These delicious sweet treats can be found stacked elegantly in patisserie windows across the city, and are available in a delectable range of colours and flavours, including vanilla, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, lemon, rose and lychee. The enduring popularity of macarons is undoubtedly down to the efforts of Pierre Hermé, who reinvented them with the introduction of bold new flavours.

Croque-madame

paris city guide
Parisians don’t believe in boring breakfasts, and the famous croque-madame is perhaps the best proof of that. A ham and cheese sandwich, but not as you know it; the croque-madame is toasted and topped with a fried egg, for the ultimate indulgent petit dejeuner. Whether you eat it on the street after seeing it made fresh by a local vendor or in an elegant café on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, it’s a great way to start the today, Parisian style.viii

Steak Frites

paris city guide
Steak and chips may not sound like the most exotic thing to eat in the City of Light, but it’s a major part of Paris’ culinary tapestry, and the only dish to eat in one of the city’s iconic brasseries. The pairing of grilled steak, thickly-cut potatoes, haricots beans and optional sauces like Béarnaise and peppercorn is an absolute staple across the city, though we would recommend opting for the slightly more upscale restaurants to enjoy the best quality meat.

Experience Paris with Emerald Waterways

Those travelling on the Sensations of Lyon & Provence and Splendours of Europe itineraries will have the opportunity to extend their stay with a three-night Paris city break. Staying in the Crowne Plaza Paris Republique Hotel (or similar), you’ll be well placed to enjoy the highlights of the city, and will also benefit from limited complimentary meals, a guided bus tour of the city, and a batobus tour on the waters of the Seine.