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.
Each 14 July sees the celebration of Bastille Day, France’s national holiday. The festival commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the event which led to the French Revolution. As you might expect, celebrations in Paris are as enthusiastic as those anywhere, with a military parade on the Champs Elysées and a spectacular fireworks display being set off at the Eiffel Tower, accompanied by a light and music show.
Even more historic than Bastille Day is the Paris Carnival, which was originally held in the city at least as early as the 16th century. Recent years have seen a revival of the tradition each February, with thousands-strong street processions following Pimprenelle, the mascot of the carnival, represented by a (real) Limousin cow dressed to the nines for the occasion. The procession begins at the Place Gambetta and ends at the Place de la République.
Chinese New Year
Paris may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of Chinese New Year, but it’s one of the best places in Europe to join in the celebrations. It’s a vibrant affair, with colourful Chinese dragons, masked dancers and musical processions filling the streets; the main parade takes place in Chinatown, but there are also celebrations in Marais and Belleville.