Your Finnair Guide: Live in the moment in Paris
Finnair’s Digital Sales & Marketing Manager Natalie Nsubuga shares her tips for Paris, a city that feels like home to her. Discover and enjoy the beautiful scenery, amazingly delicious food, blooming culture and the locals who will make you smile.
Ready to experience Paris in all its beauty and savour the charming Parisian way of life? The city is layered in twenty different administrative districts, or arrondissements, which are full of architecture, historical spots, gardens, art galleries, museums, cafés, restaurants, bars, fashion— you name it. Instead of planning your trip with a city map, take a moment with the arrondissements map and see what piques your interest. You may notice that many hot spots in the city are spread across multiple arrondissements.
An easy city to get around
If you are looking for a walkable city getaway, Paris and its fascinating districts are perfect to explore on foot. The city’s extensive public transport system, which includes a metro, RER (Réseau Express Régional), bus and tram network, also makes finding your way easy. Want to take in the picturesque city by bike? Paris offers you a bike-sharing system called Vélib. You can rent a bike for just one ride or for a few days.
Historical landmarks from a new perspective
History is still very much alive and visible on the Paris arrondissement map. For centuries, rulers have left their architectural marks on the urban landscape, including everything from monuments to gardens and buildings. Together, they create the breathtaking cultural, historical and contemporary scenery of Paris.
A great example of this is the Axe historique de Paris, an exceptionally long diagonal route arrowing through the treasures of the city. This line of historical monuments runs from the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel through the Tuileries Garden, the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile all the way to the Grand Arche of La Défense. You can see a stunning perspective of the route from both ends, from the Grande Arche of La Défense and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel.
A trip to the City of Light is incomplete without a panorama view of its city lights in the evening. Experience the quintessential 360-degree view of Paris by taking the lift or climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Some visitors opt for a climb on top of the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile, which also lends a gorgeous view over the metropolis. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the iconic monuments from Montparnasse Tower’s observation deck.
Enjoy the moment with French food
In France, food is an important part of social life. Traditionally, French cuisine is different in every region of the country. Paris is an ideal city for food tourism, and there are many excellent restaurants, cafés, food markets, patisseries, cheese and fine food stores to lose yourself (and your taste buds) in.
The 11th arrondissement of Paris is a particularly interesting place to discover the local dining scene. The district is friendly, down-to-earth and diverse, and parts of it are rustic and still trendy. Be sure to reserve some time to hang out and experience the local edge of the district.
Food markets are excellent places to see and taste the local vibe. A great option is Marché Charonne, which is open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Another atmospheric option is the Marché des Enfants Rouges, one of the oldest markets in Paris, which boasts an array of diverse cuisines. There, you can find a true culinary treasure, the restaurant Les Enfants du Marché, where you can enjoy the simplicity of fresh ingredients paired with a fantastic selection of wine. If you’re planning to stop by, arrive early and be prepared to queue as they do not take table reservations.
The city’s long list of stellar restaurants will keep you busy, in the best possible way. One of the classics is Bistrot Paul Bert which serves beautiful traditional French cuisine. Be sure to call and book your table in advance. Another amazing spot is Septime. If you are craving divine and distinct pastries or baguettes for a picnic, pay The French Bastards a visit.
Feel the power of art and architecture
The Paris art scene is vibrant and has much to offer an avid art lover. Take a glance at the arrondissement map and you will see a vast number of museums dotted around the city. During the spring, summer and autumn, the Musée Rodin in the 7th arrondissement is worth a visit. Dedicated to the French sculptor Auguste Rodin, the museum has an exceptional garden. Enjoy a stroll in its picturesque surroundings and spot Rodin’s bronze sculptures along the way. With flowers in bloom all year round, the lively finesse of the garden has also resonated with the fashion house Dior, which has hosted some of its fashion shows in its fairytale scenery.
The famous Musée d’Orsay, also located in the 7th arrondissement, is home to the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces in the world. However, the queue tends to always be long. A great alternative is a visit to the Musée de l'Orangerie, in which you can see the famed Water Lilies paintings by Claude Monet. While you’re in the area, pop by the Galerie Véro-Dodat, a covered passage full of boutiques.
If you are keen to experience the powerful modern architecture of Paris, you should visit the Fondation Louis Vuitton, committed to making art, design and culture accessible to all. Music lovers do not want to miss Philharmonie de Paris, which is dedicated to music with a creative lineup of concerts and spectacles. You can also visit their museum or just admire the stunning contemporary architecture, featuring an intricate layered façade.
Take in the vibrant greenery and scenery
If you’re visiting Paris during the spring and summer, head for a lovely picnic outdoors. Grab your favourite French delicacies and visit the alluring public park Parc des Buttes Chaumont, which is popular among Parisians.
Another beloved picnic spot is along the banks of Canal Saint-Martin. While walking along the Canal Saint-Martin, you can also get a feel for the trendy neighbourhood and the variety of pastimes it offers—everything from restaurants, cafés and bakeries to small shops where you can just grab a few things. Pause at the quays and enjoy a bobo moment, a nice mix between bourgeois and bohemian.
Hope you find your way.
Your Finnair Guide series showcases different Finnair destinations through the eyes of Finnairians. Join us to discover unique and not-so-obvious areas, places, sights and experiences that are worth a visit – those that locals also enjoy.