One of Europe's truly timeless cities, home to the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame – not to mention fantastic food...
... cutting-edge fashion and beautiful architecture – Paris needs no introduction. Easily accessible from London, it’s our nearest biggest-hitting neighbour, a real force in the fields of culture, art and cuisine.
Arriving at Paris Orly
Paris Orly Airport is in the communes of Orly and Villeneuve-le-Roi in the south of Paris, about eight miles (13km) from the city centre. The airport is well connected to the city and there are numerous options when it comes to getting into town. The quickest of these is to get the train. The Orlyval light railway connects the airport to the RER B train line via Antony train station, from where it’s easy to transfer to a train into the centre of the city. The airport also connects to the RER C line, another of the city’s main train lines, with a shuttle from both Orly terminals to to Pont de Rungis – Aéroport d'Orly station, where it’s easy to catch an onward train.
It’s also easy to catch a bus from the airport into the city centre. Most conveniently, the line 1 runs between the airport and several sites in central Paris, including the Eiffel Tower and Champs-Elysées. The Orlybus runs between the airport and Denfert-Rochereau, a station in the Montparnasse district towards the centre of town.
Taxis are another convenient form on onward transport from the airport; they assemble outside exits L and B. If you’d rather drive yourself, several car rental firms have outlets at arrivals.
Paris is a fantastic place to get the blood pumping in the great outdoors, whatever your fitness level. One of the city’s most famous geographical features, of course, is the River Seine, and while swimming in the river itself is illegal, you can get pretty close at the Piscine Joséphine Baker. This floating swimming pool, on a huge barge anchored in the river in the 13th arrondissement, is Olympic-length and offers great views over the river when the roof is opened in the summer.
Bicycle tours are among the best ways to experience a city as pretty as Paris, and lots of operators offer guided tours that double as a history lesson as you pass through some of the city’s most iconic and historic neighbourhoods. If you’d rather explore by yourself, try beginning at Notre-Dame, then follow the Seine all the way down to the Eiffel Tower, crossing the river to visit the Louvre en route.
For something a little different, head to one of Paris’s main parks of a weekend for a pony ride – a great activity to keep kids entertained. Parks across the city offer pony rides, including Luxembourg Gardens and the Bois de Boulogne.
While Paris proper is home to endless curiosities that could keep you busy for a lifetime, there are many must-do excursions within an hour’s journey of the city.
Visit the Palace of Versailles
The beautifully preserved Palace of Versailles has been many things, from a royal hunting lodge to the site of a revolutionary bloodbath. Today, it’s a museum and a monument to the opulence of the erstwhile French monarchy, set in beautiful landscaped gardens.
See Monet's water lilies at Giverny
The former home of the Impressionist Claude Monet, Giverny will probably look familiar to you from the painter’s works depicting water lilies; he designed his garden based on the paintings he dreamed of producing in the future.
Explore the forest of Fontainebleau
The suburb of Fontainebleau is best known for its extravagant palace, but it’s also worth a visit for its huge deciduous forest, dotted with gargantuan boulders – perfect for an afternoon’s hike.