Glitz, glamour and some of the most beautiful people in the world: these are a few things that probably come to mind when you first hear of the French Riviera. Although we usually think of Nice, Cannes and Monaco when imagining the French Riviera, it actually stretches from Toulon in the west, to the towns which straddle the French-Italian border.
Chic, historic, and sophisticated – as far as legions of people around the world are concerned, Paris exemplifies continental culture at its most elegant. And while it’s true the city brims with fine art, intricate architecture and pristine green spaces, it’s more than just a static museum of itself. This is a place that’s busy and alive with cool eating spots and hip bars and clubs, a place that everyone of every age can call their own.
It’s no accident Paris has a reputation for romance – it really is breathtaking at night, with the Eiffel Tower lit up, and the locals socialising in lively bars or lingering over relaxing dinners. Many landmarks are open late for Parisian night owls, and there's always plenty of shows and movie screenings allowing you to enjoy culture into the small hours.
Paris may have long been associated with romance and misty-eyed couples, but it's also a great destination for families, with many child-friendly restaurants and attractions. Kids will love spotting the iconic landmarks familiar from films and books, and many museums have exhibits catering to the youngest visitors.
For centuries, Paris has been a source of inspiration for writers, artists, and performers, and even today it’s synonymous with high culture. From its iconic museums to its live performance venues, the city will enchant visitors today just as it did the creative greats from generations ago.
From fresh seafood to sweet patisserie, Bordeaux is a true foodie city. It is home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, where the finest local ingredients are transformed into dishes of spellbinding originality. Just as important, however, are the more down-to-earth bistros, where simple, traditional dishes are served the way they always have been, true to the Bordeaux heritage. Then there is the exciting immigrant food scene shaking up cuisine in Saint-Michel.
Paris’ accommodation is as varied as Paris itself. Hosting an eclectic assortment of magnificent and luxurious hotels, chic independent boutiques, humble family owned guesthouses and a variety of mid-range hostels, apartments and international lodging chains. With a variety of gems to be found on the charming Parisian streets, you’ll be sure to discover the perfect accommodation
The vibrant mix of places to visit means that there really is something for everyone here. From small chateaus in the mountains, next to vineyards and forests, to beachfront hotels with roof pools and terraces, the selection is endless, with something to suit all budgets. Although the French Riviera is well-known for being at the height of luxury, there are also a large selection of smaller family-run hotels and B&Bs to give you the authentic experience.
France’s southern belle will charm you with her grand, classical architecture and fine wines. Sip a glass of Bordeaux wine at a sunny pavement café beneath the shade of a palm tree and take a trip out to a vineyard to find out what makes it so good. In the evening, take in the illuminated reflections of the Place de la Bourse and visit the opera for some of Bordeaux’s high culture.
Malls and markets, designer one-offs to hand-made one-offs, flea markets and food markets. Whatever your shopping passion is, you'll find the cream of the crop in the French Riviera. Shopping malls can be found littered along the region, and the marketplaces of Nice, Cannes et al, are the heart of the city, with high-heeled beauties and tanned locals alike buying their food and drink from the colorful stalls.
With over 30,000 restaurants to choose from in the region, you'll be spoilt for choice. The French are famed for their food, and the Riviera is no different. Enjoy brunch in a street-side cafe, have a romantic dinner for two in a bistro, or go up market with haute cuisine: most restaurants you'll find will be independent, though the main cities dotted along the coast will also have their share of familiar fast food restaurants.
Paris’ reputation for being fashion capital of the world is no urban myth. Boasting a variety of quaint boutiques, expansive shopping malls and a plethora of markets, retail therapy is never far from reach. From designer emporiums on the exclusive Champs Elysées to the timeless trinkets of Les Bouquinistes, it’s no surprise that Paris still remains all things couture. Designer brands, incomparable customer service, and must-have merchandise make Parisian streets infamous stomping grounds for worldwide fashionistas.
‘Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half’ (Charles de Montesquieu). Paris is a paradise for food lovers where eating is by no means a necessity but a way of life. The French national passion for creating exceptional cuisine is evidenced by large congregations sampling delectable delights in the copious clusters of bistros, brassieres, cafes and restaurant that line every cobbled street.
Paris is renowned, perhaps more so than any other city, for its iconic monuments, museums, landmarks and architecture. Paris was, and remains a focal point for political and historical events that have shaped its captivating culture and alluring ambience.
<span>Stroll down the Seine, step through picturesque gardens, suss out secret nooks or shops for haute couture on the Champs Elysees. Admire the grandeur of the Pantheon, industrial charm of the Eiffel Tower, spiritual ambience of the Notre Dame or the inspiring pyramid of the Louvre. From bourgeoisie extravagance to bohemian charm, Paris’ majestic beauty continues to inspire all.</span><span></span>
Bordeaux is a sprawling city with the Historic Center at its heart and distinctive neighborhoods sprawling outwards like a web. Most of the places of interest can be found on the left bank of the Garonne River, segueing from historical significance to bohemian chic. Accommodation is similarly varied, from 5-star luxury to budget guesthouses, even rural retreats. Whatever your tastes and interests, amongst Bordeaux’s eclectic mix of districts, you’ll find one that’s perfect for you.
With the longest pedestrian shopping street in Europe, Bordeaux is a shopping haven. Throughout its history, it has been a place of bustling trade merchants seeking to make their fortune in cloth and wine. Still today, there are the fine fashion houses of the Golden Triangle and the wine shops of Chartrons. A burgeoning alternative shopping district exists around the Place Fernand Lafargue, where rock chicks and libertarians will find boutiques to suit their style.
Once a rather grubby urban sprawl, Bordeaux has cleaned up its act – years of grime has been stripped from its historic buildings, revealing a sparkling grandeur which is deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage title. Meanwhile, the previously downtrodden docklands have been given a new zest of life with art galleries and independent, creative shops springing up in the old warehouses. Fortunately, there is a speedy tram system to shuttle you around these distinct districts.
The magical new outdoor area transports guests to the world of Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Slinky Dog, the Green Army Men, RC Racer and the rest of the characters from the Disney Pixar Toy Story films
For 31 days, the characters from everyone's favourite Disney films (especially the villains) will be coming out to entertain adults and children alike in a spooky festival, which runs from the 2nd of October to the 1st of November 2010.
Ancient Roman high living, pigs’ trotters and the world’s first film – these are just some of the things associated with France’s second city, historic Lyon.
Classical pediments, Byzantine domes and Gothic spires – book a hotel beside an architectural gem with this guide to the top 10 historic building destinations in the world.
Revel in the outdoors on a summer holiday in Lyon. Pause for a meal or a drink on a shady outdoor terrace; watch the street performers bring the city alive and cycle beside Lyon’s two great rivers. It’s all here when you book a summer hotel in Lyon.
Holidays in Provence mean relaxed sunlit days and long warm evenings. Explore Roman towns, colourful markets, modern art galleries and herb-rich local cooking with a glass of cool rosé wine. Book a Provence hotel and discover one of the world’s most satisfying and celebrated regions.
Lyon is a city for connoisseurs of the good life, so book a short break in a Lyon hotel to enjoy all it has to offer.
With 26 regions to explore, holidays in France can focus on the Mediterranean south, the Atlantic coast or mountainous heartland. Book a French hotel in the cities and dine on haute cuisine, or savour the serenity of the lavender-swathed countryside.
A Lyon city break feeds the stomach and the soul with Michelin-starred restaurants and traditional bistros, Renaissance palaces and world-class museums. Book a Lyon hotel and discover a city with a Roman past and a vibrant contemporary life.
Craggy bays pummelled by the Atlantic, medieval half-timbered towns and fresh seafood are what holidays in Brittany are all about. Book a Brittany hotel to roam forests of myth, contemplate mysterious neolithic megaliths and join the revelry at Celtic music festivals.
On a Nice city break you’ll stroll the wide, century-old beachside promenade, eat niçoise dishes at shaded outdoor tables, hunt for provençal souvenirs in the Old Town and spend hours in the art museums. Book a Nice hotel for leisure and culture in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Holidays in Munster draw visitors to see Ireland’s highest peaks, sheer cliff faces and rare flora. Visitors visit Celtic monasteries, hear traditional Irish music, see Gaelic sports and smell the smoky aroma of turf close to Munster’s hotels.
Let a Paris city break whisk you away on a journey into a wealth of history, haute cuisine, and fine arts. Stroll back to your Paris hotel hand-in-hand across the River Seine at twilight and discover your very own City of Light.
A spring break in Paris means leisurely strolls along the River Seine, bulbs coming into flower in the Luxembourg Gardens, and watching the world go by from outside bustling cafés. Book a Paris hotel in spring and see the city come to life after winter.
Take the kids to say ‘bonjour’ to Mickey on a Disneyland Paris holiday. Book a hotel at Disneyland Paris and discover the Disneyland Park's thrilling rides and Walt Disney Studio's behind-the-scenes action.
Whether you're looking for a Paris hotel near the Eiffel Tower or up in romantic Montmartre, this guide will help you make sense of the city and choose where to stay in Paris.
It might be the dreamy architecture, the intimate bistros or secluded gardens - whatever the reason, Paris sets hearts aflutter like nowhere else. Book a hotel in romantic Paris to see why it's called the City of Love.
During the holiday season, Disneyland Paris spares no expense in capturing the Christmas spirit as Main Street plays host to spectacular Christmas parades, stunning decorations and even the odd snow shower.
Your family trip would not be complete, however, without a visit to Disneyland! Most of the main attractions in Paris cater for children by including workshops, tours and general fun things to keep them entertained.
Paris, known as 'The City of Light', is like a Pandora's Box full of exciting culture, architecture, monuments, museums, shops, music and much more. Above all, Paris is known as the city of love and magic.
Choosing where to eat in a city that’s celebrated for dining can be difficult. Book a Paris hotel and make your selection easy with these top 10 food and drink things to do in Paris.
Go for walks through sculpture gardens and tree-lined avenues on winter holidays in Paris, and enjoy the warmth of cafés and shops dressed up for the festive season. Book a winter hotel in Paris in the holiday season and see the city of light glow with Christmas illuminations.
A Louvre holiday is not a shuffle through a stuffy art gallery. The museum displays over 35,000 eclectic works of art, all housed in a sumptuous former palace of the French monarchy, near plenty of top Paris hotels.
Clink champagne glasses on a Bastille Day holiday as fireworks erupt over Paris’ Eiffel Tower. A military parade and flypast signal the start of the celebrations. Throughout the capital, fire stations are thrown open for partygoers to dance till they drop. Bastille Day hotels get snapped up quickly so book early to celebrate Paris’ finest hour.
Book the right Lyon hotel using this guide to the compact heart of France’s second city.
Explore the French Riviera’s honey-coloured hilltop towns set in olive groves, bustling morning markets and galleries inspired by artists who captured this coastline on canvas. Book a French Riviera hotel by the cobalt-blue Mediterranean where millionaires pose on super yachts.
Mornings spent exploring fine arts galleries slide into afternoons eating waffles in Art Nouveau patisseries on Lille city breaks. Stay at a central Lille hotel and discover a walkable city with French finesse and Flemish spirit.
Romantic retreats, boutique hideaways, business hotels and family accommodation -- our rundown of the top 10 hotels in Paris will help you find the ideal hotel in the City of Light.
There's so much to see on a short break in Paris. After waking up in your Paris hotel, follow this itinerary and squeeze the most out of two days in Paris.
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