There are some sights of Paris that whether you are on your first visit, or have been there many times it is good to see. The Champs Elysees, Arc de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer, Louvre are all locations that are integral parts of Paris and can be enjoyed over and over.
While you can use the Metro or buses to get around, it is often good just to walk around the city. Walking from the Left Bank to the Louvres, through the Tuileries gardens, then to the Place de Concorde and up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph will only take a couple of hours and there is plenty to see on the way.
You can walk a good way on the banks of the Seine and see landmarks close by or take detours off to them. Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees are not too far away. Also there are boat tours down the river which are a little easier on the feet.
If you want to get a taste for different districts of Paris you can stay in a couple of different areas of town, some suggestions are – the Left Bank, the Marais, or Montmartre where you are close to Sacre Coeur church.
Paris excels for Galleries and Exhibitions and you can spend many an hour in the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay or Pompidou Centre. If you are interested in photography, the MEP (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) in the Marais has good exhibitions, and you can see contemporary photography in the Jeu de Paume by the Tuileries gardens.
Sacre Coeur is a good side excursion a little away from the center of town and the streets of Montmartre are interesting to walk with various street entertainment usually going on below the hill. There is also a carousel for young children. There are restaurants both at the top and bottom of the hill and in the square at the top there artists paint portraits and sell their other work.
On the Left Bank of the river there are small streets to wander through by St Michel metro, the streets of Saint Germain des Pres and further back the Panthéon is impressive. A little further away are the Luxembourg Gardens where you can relax, have a stroll and a coffee at the stalls in the park. There is tennis and basketball if you play and the gallery of Musée de Luxembourg is on the edge of the park.
If you visit over Christmas there is a great Christmas market between the Place to Concorde and the shops of the Champs Elysees which sells a wide variety of food and drink both French and from outside France. There are stalls selling items you might want to give as Christmas presents to the family so you can do a bit of Christmas shopping also while your there.
There are a number of cinemas around the capital so if you are tired of walking or the weather isn’t good you can catch a movie. Movies are sometimes in French, sometimes dubbed in French and sometimes in English with French subtitles. Check before you go – the American blockbusters are most likely to be in English.
French food is one of the main reasons to visit France and the capital has much to offer. The bread and cakes are fantastic and French food from small deli’s is almost always good. If you are on a tight budget look for a supermarket close to where you are staying and stock up for a couple of days. Eating outside in the parks is pleasant even if the French don’t really do it that much.
You can easily spend a week in Paris and not repeat yourselves but if you have longer then you can take the train to Versailles close by or check out the architecture of La Défense. The TGV will get you to other parts of France very quickly and is comfortable even if the passengers seem very subdued.
If you have a couple of weeks you can fly into Paris, go down to the alps for a couple of days, maybe stay on a lake shore, and even get down to the south coast for a couple of days before heading back to Paris.