Budapest has been called the “Paris of the East”; Buenos Aires the “Paris of the South”. The city has long set the standard as the centre for high culture; it’s a capital of cuisine, the home of fine art and philosophy, a fantastic “city of light”, imitated but never equalled by others the world over.
The multitudinous metropolis constantly strives for reinvention; see Debord’s Situationist or contemporary free-running philosophies for just two of the myriad ways of imagining this fascinating cityscape.
While the Eiffel Tower, the Champ Elysees and the Louvre may be Paris at its most iconographic, there are many other avenues to explore; and the artists at Sacre-Coeur, summer street parties on the banks of the Seine and the independent theatres throughout the city are arguably just as compelling.
Where to stay
The charming Hotel Luxembourg Parc serves up spacious rooms next to beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg – fantastic for early morning walks or runs. Hotel de Varenne is a surprising, centrally located gem, with homely sophistication and some fine cafes on its doorstep.
Where to eat
Goumard is recommended for sublime seafood, Carré des Feuillants is a modern gastronomical shrine, as is world-renowned Alain Ducasse’ Restaurant Plaza Athénée. For great wine, then Lasserre has one of the best wine cellars in the city.
What to see
The major attractions can be more stress than they’re worth; an evening cruise on the Seine, however, truly captures the romance of the city; Notre Dame cathedral is a masterpiece of gothic architecture; Musees de l’Orangerie and d’Orsay are great alternatives to the Louvre if you’re averse to queuing.