Paris

Bienvenue to Paris, the charming French capital city. Its famous buildings, famous shops, famous hotels and fabled restaurants – it’s impossible not to fall in love with Paris. Whatever time of year you visit, from springtime to Christmas - breeze through the terminal at Southampton airport and you’ll be in the city of light in less than an hour.

From Sunday flea markets to boat trips on the Seine, city summer days to kicking leaves by the carousel in the Tuileries, Paris has something for every visitor - and surprisingly - every budget. Discover secret local markets, join the queues for the Mona Lisa, grab a baguette and watch the world go by in one of the city’s squares, or indulge in the finest French cuisine at 3-star restaurants.

Whatever you’re planning to do – from a bus tour, bike tour or your own two feet, Paris is a big city that’s always changing – which means you’ll only ever scratch the surface. But that’s fine. Choose your poison - art, buildings, museums, shopping, sightseeing, eating, drinking, meandering – and plan or book well ahead. Paris is a city just waiting to be discovered.

Getting there

Flybe and Air France take you from Southampton Airport to Paris Orly and Paris Charles De Gaulle. 

Orly lies 11 miles from the centre of Paris and it’s easy to get to the centre via France’s fast and affordable transport system. Choose between the Orlyval, the airport's light railway, or go by coach or local bus.

The quickest and easiest way to get from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to the centre of Paris is by train which takes about 35 minutes. Buses to the city centre take from 60 minutes.

Driving in central Paris is indeed a nightmare, but if you really have to, or your journey ends elsewhere, hire a car. There are plenty of taxis too – as a general rule it’s about 39 euros from the airport to Notre Dame.

Top things to see and do

The Eiffel Tower

It’s cliché but it’s unmissable. We think this Parisian icon is best viewed from the champagne bar at the top, but if you’ve no head for heights it’s still ok to stand and marvel upwards with your feet on terra firma.

Chateau de Versailles

Just outside Paris but easily accessible by train, the Palace of Versailles is well worth a trip to see the Queen’s Hamlet, Hall of Mirrors and Grand Trianon.

Sacre Coeur and Montmartre

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the highest point in Paris, all shimmery white. Worth the steps.

Off the beaten track

Secret Gourmet

Every Parisian knows you can afford to eat Michelin food at lunchtime. The beautiful L'Hotel is one of our favourites. On the Left Bank, it was Oscar Wilde's last home and it’s the place to enjoy every last heavenly mouthful. Bon appetit.

Heavens above

If 3-star dining isn’t your thing but you’re craving un coupe, head to the bar in Le Meurice. Sky-high prices match the tromp l'oeil ceiling.

What lies beneath

Head beneath the Paris streets for Les Catacombes, a maze of tunnels with layer upon layer of skulls and bones.