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.
No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the city’s most famous landmark, the Eiffel Tower. Such is its place in the wider cultural consciousness today, it’s strange to think that a big chunk of the Parisian artistic community protested the tower’s construction on aesthetic grounds.
A trip to France’s flagship cultural institution is worth it if only to catch a glimpse of what is surely the world’s most famous work of art, the Mona Lisa. This, however, is the world’s largest art museum, and is home to a great many masterpieces besides, including the Venus de Milo and St John the Baptist.
Notre- Dame Cathedral
Think ‘Gothic’, and most people will think of Notre-Dame, a medieval masterpiece and one of the most recognisable churches in the world. Entry is free, and the cathedral is open 0745–1845, and until 1915 on Saturdays and Sundays. The cathedral’s reliquary supposedly contains wood and nail fragments from the True Cross, among other things.
For a spooky experience to remember, head underground to Paris’s famous catacombs, where the bones of more than six million people line the walls. Guided tours lead you through sections of the tunnels, teaching you about their fascinating history as former stone mines before their conversion to ossuaries.
Arc de Triomphe
As far as monuments to France's military might go, it’s hard to beat the Arc de Triomphe, 50m of ornately sculptured stone commemorating victory in the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars.