The City of Light is synonymous with romance, culture, style and sophistication. In fact it's a byword for just about all the good things in life, which explains why so many people keep coming back for their short weekend trips.
From the 324 meter summit of the Eiffel Tower - Paris flaunts its' credentials as one of the architecturally best-dressed cities in Europe; beneath you spreads a patchwork of monumental neo-classical buildings, broad tree-lined boulevards, gothic churches and manicured public gardens. Many of the city's architectural gems demand a closer look, including; Quasimodo's former lodgings at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Louis IX's stunning Sainte-Chapelle (built to house what was thought to be Jesus' crown of thorns), and Napoleon's somewhat premature Arc de Triomphe.
Wander along the Left Bank and the city conspires to seduce all the senses, from the chatter of café culture, to the warm buttery smells leaking from the p â tisserie. It's easy to see why Paris has acted as a magnet for the artistic elite and examples of their handy-work can be found all over the city. Art buffs are spoiled for choice and once they've browsed the 25 000 works in the Musée du Louvre they'll be left scratching their heads trying to work out how to squeeze the Musée d'Orsay, Musée Picasso, Musée Auguste Rodin and the Pompidou Center into the rest of the weekend.
Parisians take their shopping very seriously and entire weekends can disappear gazing into the windows of chic boutiques or rummaging through the stalls of an atmospheric Marché aux Puces (flea market). Paris ' other favourite pastime is eating and the French capital is fast becoming the country's number one gastronomic destination.
Nearby Chartres Cathedral and Louix XIV's sumptuous palace at Versailles have been established day-trips for centuries, while fresh competition comes from Disneyland Paris. And the good news is that whether you decide to fly, or take the Eurostar train direct from Waterloo station, Paris is less than two hours away.