If you've ever been to the French capital then you know whoever said "Paris is always a good idea" was absolutely right. We thought we would break it down for you though with a list of our top ten reasons to visit Paris. If you're looking for an excuse to return, visit for the first time, or setup an extended stay, you'll find one here, starting with the fact that there are HomeExchange hosts all over the city that might just be the perfect pied-à-terre for you. Find out more about how HomeExchange works and our very convincing reasons to book your next trip to the City of Light.Discover How HomeExchange Works
1. Heaps of History
It seems only natural to start by saying the history found here is one of the greatest reasons to visit Paris. After all, Paris would not be Paris if it weren't for its history! The city was built on centuries of conquest, riches, and creativity. The extent of the government and private organisations go to preserve the history of Paris across its landmarks, museums, and more is monumental. It pays off too as it continues to attract visitors from all over the world who want to roam this living museum. You might be surprised to know you can find history here as early as the Romans. The Arènes de Lutèce and the Archaeological Crypt of Notre-Dame are just two examples of the footprint the empire left here, but a historical tour can show you much more.
Perhaps Paris is better known for its more recent history with a monarchy that forever marked its existence, as there are signs of them all over the city. Every where you turn here something historical happened there. Some are more violent then others, like the storming of the Bastille, the invasion of the Germans as they marched down the Champs Elysées, or the Guillotine once found at Place de la Concorde. There are brighter spots of course, like sitting in cafés and wandering shops where famous artists, authors, and actors like Picasso, Hemingway, and Brando once dined, lived, and worked. One great way to see just how much history is really all around is stopping to read the plaques on many buildings, where a dedication to famous authors, artists, politicians, and more who once lived or worked there can be found.
2. Stylish Shopping
Paris is a shopper's delight, so save up some spending money before visiting because we promise you'll be tempted at every turn by its beautiful boutiques and brocantes. One look at the line out Louis Vuitton on the Champs Elysées is all it takes to see that this city is for serious shoppers. Looking for luxury? Head to the the Avenue Montaigne for the major brands you'll see on the catwalk at Fashion Week. The Grand Magasins like Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, La Samaritaine, and Le Bon Marché are also must visits. Even if you don't plan to purchase, they're historic landmarks worth seeing in their own right. For something more original, wander the quaint streets of Saint-Germain, Le Marais, and Le Palais Royal for smaller boutiques begging to be browsed.
Paris is not only heaven for clothes horses, it has amazing shopping across every category. For interior design and home goods head to the flea markets at Porte de Clignancourt, Porte de Vanves, or Printemps Maison. Enjoy speciality shops like Cire Trudon for candles fit for a king, Deyrolle for some audacious animal art, and even places like Epices Roellinger where you can shop some of the world's finest spices. Toys, linens, and cosmetics are also stellar items to shop for here. There is something for everyone here no matter their interest, which why stylish shopping is one of our top reasons to visit Paris. You will find truly amazing treasures to last a lifetime as souvenirs of your time in the City of Light.
3. Gorgeous Gardens
While the shopping in Paris is world class, don't feel like the only thing to do in this city is max out your credit card on clothes. In fact, one of the things we love so much about Paris is that much of its beauty is free and accessible to all. Nowhere is this more evident than in its gorgeous gardens generously placed throughout Paris. You'll never be more than a few minutes from a perfectly manicured park complete with charming benches or chairs around a fountain or flower bed. Locals love to make the most of the parks on a daily basis for leisurely strolls, sitting with a book, or eating al fresco.
While you'll find secret gardens around every corner, some of the more well known public parks really stand out. Be sure to stroll the Tuileries from the Louvre to the Place de La Concorde and enjoy its beautiful treelined allies in any season. The Jardin du Luxembourg is also a must visit, so pull up one of the iconic green Parisian park chairs around the lake and watch the tiny wooden sailboats glide by. The Buttes-Chaumont is worth the trip to the 19th, where you can enjoy a sunset over Paris sitting on its grassy knolls. Others worth visiting include Parc Monceau, the Bois de Bologne, and the Place de Vosges. There are truly so many to choose from.
4. Fine Dining
If you want to experience the world's finest dining, Paris just might be the epitome of it. Chefs come from all over the world come to sharpen their skills here and make a name for themselves. World famous cooking schools call Paris home for a reason – it attracts the best of the best who often then find their place in the kitchens of the city's finest restaurants after. Some world renowned restaurants here are so good they've been around for hundreds of years. La Tour d'Argent, Le Procope, Lapérouse, and Le Grand Vefour are just a few. More recent restaurants like Arpège by Alain Passard, Le Chardenoux by Cyril Lignac, or Clover by Jean-François Piège haven't been around as long, but are already known as some of the finest dining one can find.
When we say fine dining in the French capital, we don't only mean Michelin Stars, white table clothes, and impossible to obtain reservations though. Paris's fine dining can also include casual eats that will make your mouth water just as much. Head to the Marché des Enfants Rouge for example in the Marais and stroll its stalls for an amazing array of small vendors cooking up everything from coucous, to sushi, to greek cuisine. It's a great place to go when you're hungry and not sure what you're in the mood for. The food hall of Le Bon Marché, La Grande Epicerie, is also a great place to go in search of a more casual snack if you want something gourmet to go. Don't hesitate to order a crêpe from a local street vendor or a baguette sandwich from a boulangerie as well – they're the perfect way to grab something gourmet and enjoy eating it along the Seine for example.
5. French Pastry
Need we say more? This is practically self explanatory when it comes to reasons to visit Paris but we'll explain anyhow...because we delight in dessert! The French are known to be serious about their sweets. They perfected pastry. It's an art in this country and the competition in the capital is fierce. The best pastry chefs battle it out here to have the most beautiful boutiques and mouthwatering menus. People line up for hours to get a taste of their creations, and even box them up to carry home across the world for their loved ones. There are so many ways to enjoy pastry across the city, and with all the walking you'll be doing during your visit, we say don't hesitate to indulge...you deserve it!
If we had to pick a few pastries you can't miss, here are some ideas. The Rose Religeuse at Ladurée is one for starters, followed by the macaron king Pierre Hermé who still reigns supreme with his original flavors like Ispahan and more with a white chocolate ganache base filling. Christophe Adam's L'Éclair de Génie will show you an éclair can be so much more than chocolat or vanilla, with flavors like green apple and caramel, cassis, and more. For chocolate lovers, try a few tablets at La Manufacture du Chocolat by Alain Ducasse where the world famous chef is elevating the art of chocolate even further than the French once thought possible. Newcomers like the Bastille based bakery Frappe will show you the future of French baking is anything but boring, and Fou de Patisserie is a great place to sample all of Paris's best pastries of the moment in one place.
6. Amazing Museums
Paris is a treasure trove of art and culture, and its museums are the crown jewels that attract art enthusiasts from all corners of the globe. The city's museums house an extraordinary collection of masterpieces, spanning centuries of artistic expression. Paris's museums not only display breathtaking art but also serve as guardians of cultural heritage and knowledge. They offer a window into different eras, civilizations, and artistic movements, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of human history and creativity. Paris's museums not only preserve art but also offer educational programs, workshops, and exhibitions that foster creativity and inspire future generations of artists.
The Louvre, the world's largest art museum, is a must-visit destination that showcases iconic works like the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. Its vast collection spans diverse civilizations, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance paintings. The Musée d'Orsay, housed in a former train station, is a paradise for lovers of Impressionism, featuring works by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. The Centre Pompidou, with its futuristic design, is home to modern and contemporary art, pushing boundaries and challenging artistic conventions. Exploring Paris's museums is like embarking on a journey through art history, immersing oneself in the brilliance and creativity of renowned artists while discovering lesser-known gems that continue to inspire and captivate. These are just a few of Paris's most well known museums, but its smaller museums are some of its most extraordinary so don't hesitate to explore them too!
7. Extraordinary Events
You may already have the upcoming Paris Olympics in Summer 2024 on your mind for extraordinary events in the City of Light, and this is certainly one of the reasons to visit Paris. But know that on a more regular basis, Paris is constantly home to extraordinary events that animate this bustling city even more. It seems every month has something exciting on the agenda, and each arrondissement makes an effort to celebrate in their own way. From the Bastille Day Parade down the Champs Elysées on the 14th of July, to not one but six annual fashion weeks, there is always something happening here!
A few other favorites throughout the year include La Nuit Blanche in October where museums and galleries are open all night to visitors and art installations occupy the city. In the summer there is the famous Fête de la Musique, where on the summer solstice live music takes over the city for inhabitants to sing and dance and get in the spirit of summer. The Tour de France also rolls in each summer, as thousands line up to see the world's best cyclists make their way to victory. At the holidays, the Christmas Markets animate the streets with seasonal eats and treasures. Oh, and we can't forget the Montmartre Paris Wine Festival each October!
8. Incredible Architecture
It's hard to separate the incredible architecture of Paris from the city's history itself, as the two are so intertwined. The buildings, streets, and landmarks of the city tell its story over the centuries. Much of the extraordinary architecture comes from the reign of its last kings from Louis XIV to Louis the XVI, with their many palaces now serving as everything from museums, to hotels, to private residences! Pass many of the bridges of the Seine and you'll also see Napoleon's insignia on them, or be awe-inspired by the golden dome of Les Invalides where you can visit his tomb. Perhaps the most famous architectural element of Paris is the Eiffel Tower itself, a remnant from the World Fair of 1889 that is one of the most well know structures in the entire world.
The Arc de Triumph also tops the list standing at 50 meters tall at the axis of the city's chicest avenues. No building here seems mundane, from the elegant and ornate Haussmannian apartment buildings that make up most of the city, to the occasional medieval landmark you can hardly believe is still standing with their exposed wood beams. If you want to know more about the history of Paris and its architecture one of the best places to visit is the Musée Carnavalet in the Marais. This museum is dedicated entirely to the history of the city and full of surprises, notably recreations of the city in medieval times. But some of the city's most exciting architecture these days is modern, like the glass pyramid at the Louvre, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, or the Centre Pompidou.
9. Learning French
Learning a new language is always a great reason to travel, especially when it comes to extended stays. Wether you're keen to discover this romantic language for the first time, brush up on your high school french basics, or expand on a base to become truly fluent, there's no place more inspiring to learn French than in Paris. There are hundreds of French language schools in Paris catering to visitors from abroad looking to master the language. Each has their own style and rhythm but with so much choice you are sure to find one to suit your needs.
Learning French doesn't have to come at a cost though. With so much opportunity in the city to practice you can really expand your french language skills just by living the local lifestyle. Striking up a conversation in a café, browsing the bouquinistes for French language books, and seeing French films at the local cinema are just a few ways to start. You can even sign up for a language exchange partner for regular rendez-vous with a local looking to practice their English in exchange for helping you with French. Learning french is one of the great reasons to visit Paris!
10. HomeExchange in Paris
Not convinced yet about a séjour in the City of Light? We have one last great reason to visit the French capital, and that's the myriad of HomeExchange homes available in the city. HomeExchange is one of the best ways to stay in Paris, as it lets you discover pretty Parisian interiors, get a feel for the local lifestyle, connect with Parisians, and save on your accommodations.
HomeExchange is the largest home exchange network in the world, and with hosts across Paris's best arrondissements, your perfect pied-à-terre is just waiting to be discovered. Can you see yourself already strolling the banks of the river or sipping wine in a café? Paris awaits you, so sign up for HomeExchange today now that you have so many great reasons to visit Paris!See homes in Paris