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5 Must-See Paris Districts Before the 2024 Olympics

a woman in a red dress standing next to two bikes at the eiffel tower
© Quentin Sartorius

As the world gears up for the 2024 Olympic Games, Paris, the “City of Lights,” is preparing to welcome athletes and spectators from across the globe. But beyond the sporting spectacle, spring offers an ideal time to explore the city’s timeless charm, rich history, and vibrant culture. Before the Olympic crowds descend, here are the top 5 must-sees for an unforgettable Parisian adventure:

Iconic Landmarks Adorned in Spring Splendour: Witness Parisian landmarks bathed in the soft glow of spring sunshine. The Eiffel Tower, a symbol of resilience and human ingenuity, will pierce the clear blue sky, offering breathtaking panoramic views, especially on a clear day. Across the Champ de Mars, the golden dome of Les Invalides, the resting place of Napoleon Bonaparte, will gleam amidst the verdant expanse of the park. History buffs won’t want to miss the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral, currently undergoing restoration following the 2019 fire. The surrounding Ile de la Cité, a historic island in the Seine River, offers a glimpse into mediaeval Paris. For art enthusiasts, the Louvre, a treasure trove of human creativity, will showcase masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo under the soft spring light filtering through the museum’s grand windows.

A Walk Through Parisian History: From Ancient Roman Ruins to Grand Boulevards Immerse yourself in Paris’ rich history with a walk through time. Start your journey at the Arènes de Lutèce, remnants of a Roman amphitheatre dating back to the 1st century AD. Imagine the gladiatorial combats that once took place here, a stark contrast to the peaceful park that surrounds it today. Continue your walk along the Seine, past the imposing mediaeval fortress, the Conciergerie, which once housed Marie Antoinette before her execution. Stroll down the Champs-Élysées, the famous avenue lined with elegant shops, cafes, and historical landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, a triumphal arch commemorating French victories. End your journey in the historic district of Le Marais, known for its charming mediaeval streets, grand 17th-century mansions (hôtels particuliers), and trendy boutiques.

Embrace Parisian Culture: Museums, Outdoor Cafes, and Parisian Nights Spring is the perfect time to soak up Parisian culture. Explore the city’s vast collection of world-class museums. The Musée d’Orsay, housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts railway station, showcases Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. For contemporary art, head to the Centre Pompidou, a striking building known for its exposed pipes and colourful exterior. No Parisian experience is complete without savouring a leisurely afternoon at a charming outdoor cafe. Sip on a café au lait and indulge in a buttery croissant while watching the world go by. As the sun sets, experience the city’s vibrant nightlife. Catch a captivating performance at the iconic Moulin Rouge, a historic cabaret famous for its can-can dancers and extravagant costumes. For a more intimate experience, explore the jazz clubs of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a historic district known for its intellectual and artistic legacy.

Hidden Gems and Parisian Quirks: Beyond the Tourist Trail Venture beyond the well-trodden tourist path and discover Paris’ hidden gems. Explore the quaint Montmartre district, perched on a hill overlooking the city. Visit the Sacré-Coeur basilica, a white-domed church offering stunning panoramic views. Stroll through the charming Place du Tertre, a square lined with artists selling their work. For a unique experience, delve into the world of Parisian cemeteries, such as Père Lachaise, the final resting place of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. These serene spaces offer a glimpse into Parisian history and funerary art. In the evening, head to the Canal Saint-Martin, a trendy neighbourhood known for its lively bars, cafes, and independent shops. Take a stroll along the canal, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

Springtime Delights: Parks, Flowers, and Parisian Gastronomy Spring awakens Paris’ natural beauty. The city’s many parks, such as the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Jardin des Plantes, transform into vibrant green havens. Wander through manicured lawns, explore botanical gardens bursting with colourful flowers, and enjoy a picnic lunch under the shade of a blossoming tree. Foodies will delight in the bounty of the season. Explore the bustling farmer’s markets overflowing with fresh, local produce—asparagus, strawberries, and plump cherries are just a few of the spring delights. Indulge in a decadent Easter chocolate feast. Parisian chocolatiers create exquisite treats for the occasion.

Paris in springtime offers a captivating blend of iconic landmarks adorned with fresh blooms, a rich tapestry of history revealed through captivating walks, vibrant cultural experiences, hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and delectable seasonal treats. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a history buff, or simply seeking a charming escape, Paris this spring promises an unforgettable experience. As the city prepares for the global spotlight of the 2024 Olympics, embrace the unique atmosphere and create lasting memories in the City of Lights before the crowds arrive.

Further reading

Explore Rick Steves’ Travel Guide for Paris.
Discover the best places to visit with Fodor’s 2024 Paris Travel Guide.

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