Art need not be a luxury, but luxury can be an art – and few cities accentuate the concept of gracious living and refinement better than Paris. The famous capital of France and fashion, is located in the north of its country on the banks of the River Seine.
Celts and Romans founded Paris; French kings and Emperors expanded and embellished the city; the noted urban designer Baron Haussman transformed its layout and look; and recent republican Presidents have kept it at the leading edge of urbanity with the building of their grands projets. Underpinning the city’s continuing success is its economic base as a centre of government and finance.
Character and creativity are the keynotes of Paris. Legions of great writers, artists and designers have been, and continue to be, inspired by this pioneering city of haute couture and haute cuisine. The city is a place where the cut of a cloth or the beauty of a package is cherished and where the natives really do get animated about philosophy, politics and art.
Collections of some of the world’s greatest art adorn the galleries and museums of the city, ranging from Renaissance masterpieces in the grand and capacious Louvre, to more modern triumphs in the Quai d’Orsay, or touching sculptures in the intimate setting of the Musee Rodin.
The instantly recognizable, classical attractions of Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Sacré-Coeur are now supplemented by contemporary, more daring structures like the Grande Arche de La Défense, the Louvre’s Grande Pyramide, Musee d’Orsay and the ‘inside-out’ Pompidou Centre.
Paris’s fine food, whether served in grand restaurant or busy bistro, may be the best in the world: it sets the standard against which others judge themselves. The abundance of charcuteries, patisseries, fromageries and boulangeries elevate the parkland picnic into a gastronomic experience. Join the queues at the Poilâne bakery on rue du Cherche-Midi for the finest loaves in France; delve around the gourmet delights of Fauchon on the Place de la Madeleine; or sit back and relish the city’s fine dining at venerated restaurants like Jamin, Vivarois or L’Arpège.