Ahh, Paris.  So often top of the list in city break surveys and no wonder.  Iconic sights, red café awnings, bouquinistes ….. and plenty of ‘je ne sais quoi’.    

The 22 episodes in our Paris series cover all the background history and culture you need to get the most from your visit.  We tell the stories behind all the main sights – Notre Dame, Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay – and go looking for the places which illustrate the city’s main themes: everything from Napoleon’s Paris to café culture, not forgetting art, literature and history.

There’s a podcast for each episode and we are adding more written information to each post as fast as we can.  So, let’s go, or as the French would put it ‘On y va?’


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Episode 1: Introduction to Paris

Last Updated on May 3, 2023 by Ctybr67k ‘You, who have been to Paris, know. And you who have not been to Paris, go!’ If you need an introduction to Paris, this quotation from John … Read more
Conciergerie Paris

Episode 2: The Heart of Paris

Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by Marian Jones The two islands on the River Seine, the Île de la Cité and the Île St-Louis, are the very heart of Paris. A ramble over one … Read more
Notre Dame, Paris

Episode 3: Two Paris Cathedrals – Notre Dame and St Denis

Last Updated on May 24, 2023 by Ctybr67k Did you know that there are two Paris Cathedrals? Notre Dame symbolises Paris, especially since the devastating fire which nearly destroyed it, but there is another Paris … Read more
Paris, Versailles

Episode 4: Paris – Versailles and the Court of Louis XIV

Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Ctybr67k The palace and grounds at Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site about 22km from the centre of Paris, were born of envy: Louis XIV was so jealous … Read more
Paris, plaque at Temple

Episode 5: Revolutionary Paris

Last Updated on August 13, 2023 by Ctybr67k Revolutionary Paris represented a defining moment in France, in Europe and worldwide, and it’s story is what sits behind the annual 14th July celebrations. But where can … Read more
Paris, Invalides

Episode 6: Napoleon’s Paris

Last Updated on January 14, 2024 by Marian Jones Napoleon’s Paris is everywhere today, even today, 200 years after his death. Here’s our guide to 8 places you can visit to find out more about … Read more
Montmartre Moulin Rouge

Episode 7: Montmartre – The Paris You Always Imagined

Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Ctybr67k Montmartre: a hilltop area, full of history, and with a truly Parisian ambiance; no wonder it’s so popular with tourists. The lovely Sacré Cœur church, silhouetted on … Read more
Galeries Lafayette, Paris

Episode 8: Belle Epoque Paris

Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Marian Jones Close your eyes and picture Paris and it may well be Belle Époque Paris you’re imagining: the Eiffel Tower, exuberant cancan dancers at the Moulin Rouge, … Read more
Monet at the Marmottan, Paris

Episode 9: Where to find Impressionism in Paris

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Marian Jones Paris and impressionism: surely no city and art movement are more closely linked. Paris was home to many impressionist artists and Paris was often their subject. … Read more
Memorial de la deportation, Paris

Episode 10: In Search of the Occupation in Paris

Last Updated on January 6, 2024 by Marian Jones The German occupation in Paris lasted from June 1940 until Liberation Day on August 25th, 1944. There are still signs of this period, known as ‘les … Read more
Paris, Sorbonne

Episode 11: Intellectual Paris – Montparnasse and the Latin Quarter

Last Updated on January 7, 2024 by Marian Jones The Latin Quarter and Montparnasse are very much the heart of intellectual Paris.  The Latin Quarter is the university area, centred around the Sorbonne, and Montparnasse … Read more
View from Pont Neuf, Paris

Episode 12: The Seine and the Champs Élysées

Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Marian Jones Whether it’s your first visit to Paris, or your twenty-first, wandering up the Champs Élysées or along the banks of the Seine are two excellent ways … Read more
St Germain des Pres, Paris

Episode 13: St Germain, Paris

Last Updated on January 23, 2024 by Marian Jones The Parisian district of St Germain has so many highlights. It’s home to two of the city’s best-known churches, Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It has a political … Read more
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Episode 14: Louvre – Art in Paris

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Marian Jones The world’s grandest art gallery, the Louvre’s enormity presents both a pleasure and a challenge. It is said that it would take a hundred days to … Read more
Picasso Museum, Paris The Kiss

Episode 15: Modern Art in Paris

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by Marian Jones This post tells you where to find modern art in Paris. It focuses mainly on three main museums where you can see 20th and 21st century … Read more
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Episode 16: Le Shopping in Paris

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Marian Jones Le Shopping in Paris is always a delight and this post explains what you need to know. We cover the city’s markets, its maze of little … Read more
Deux Magots, Paris

Episode 17: Paris Cafes

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Marian Jones Paris cafes surely linger in the memory of everyone who visits the city. Oscar Hammerstein II summed it up well when he wrote ‘The last time … Read more
Edith Piaf's Grave in Paris

Episode 18: Buried in Paris

Last Updated on May 10, 2024 by Marian Jones The main sites where people are buried in Paris – the Pantheon and the city’s main cemeteries – are atmospheric and fascinating places, visited both by … Read more
Victor Hugo Museum, Paris

Episode 19: Two Literary Houses in Paris

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Marian Jones We visit the two best-known literary houses in Paris, the Maison de Balzac in the 16th arrondissement and the Maison de Victor Hugo in the Place … Read more
Tuileries, Paris

Episode 20: Memoirs of Paris

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Marian Jones This post presents the work of 6 writers who wrote memoirs of Paris. There’s 17th century gossip, along with the reminiscences of past writers like Ernest … Read more
Liberation of Paris

Episode 21: Moments of History in Paris

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Marian Jones This post takes a look at key moments of history in Paris through books – both fiction and non-fiction – which illustrate them. There are two … Read more

Episode 22: fiction set in Paris

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Marian Jones This last post in the series offers a look at fiction set in Paris. Four different novelists take us from the observation of murder and its … Read more
Eiffel Tower, Paris

Paris Extra: A Virtual Tour of Paris

Last Updated on April 29, 2023 by Ctybr67k This virtual visit to Paris takes you on a tour of websites, YouTube videos and books which will bring the spirit of the City of Light alive … Read more


Useful websites for tourists

Four comprehensive guidebooks
Lonely Planet Paris
The Rough Guide to Paris
Fodor’s Paris
Eyewitness Paris 

Three Literary anthologies and a history book for travellers
City Lit Paris edited by Heather Reyes
Paris: a Literary Companion by Ian Littlewood
A Place in the World called Paris by Miles Hyman and Steven Barclay
A Traveller’s History of Paris by Robert Cole

Five Paris Memoirs
The Flaneur by Edmund White
Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebowitz
Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke
The Only Street in Paris by Elaine Sciolino