Arc de Triomphe: You might think that the Eiffel Tower has the best aerial view in Paris, but there’s a lesser-known hotspot you should head to instead. Going up the former will cost you €17, but for just €8 you can get a brilliant panoramic view of France’s capital up the Arc de Triomphe. Just mind the stairs…
Cafe des Deux Moulins: Film buff? Go to the cafe made famous in Amélie. Just up the road from the Moulin Rouge, you’ll be charmed by the diner’s vintage decor and film-made fame – if not the slightly overpriced food.
Harry’s New York Bar: Allegedly the oldest cocktail bar in Europe, they’ll tell you it’s where the Bloody Mary was invented and Hemingway whittled away the hours. Whether true or otherwise, it’s a quaint joint with a fine drinks menu. Prepare to be plied with peanuts throughout. Oh, just one more then…
Notre Dame cathedral: When in Paris, right? It’s certainly worth stopping off at this fine example of French Gothic architecture, finished in 1345 and now one of the world’s most famous churches. It just about survived the French Revolution, and has been restored since.
Parc des Buttes Chaumont: This beautiful park in Paris’s 19th arrondissement is a real gem, standing out thanks to its Temple de la Sibylle: a monument sat 50m above a lake. It’s a lovely walk, with plenty of nooks and crannies to investigate.
Paris with Kevin Kilbane, courtesy of Continental Tyres
If your country is playing at either the Parc des Princes or Stade de France – just like both Irish nations will be – you'll be wanting to find out more about the City of Love.
3 fast facts
- Paris boasts 1,784 bakeries. That’s a lot of bread.
- The Eiffel Tower weighs around 7,000 tonnes, and gets painted every seven years using 50 tonnes of paint. We don't envy whoever gets that gig.
- Notre Dame is Paris’s most-visited attraction, beating Disneyland and seeing double the numbers of visitors of the Eiffel Tower in 2014.
Where do the stars hang out?
Restaurant L’Avenue is a paparazzi dream: Jay-Z and Beyonce have been snapped there before, plus the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who were spotted bumping into ex-Spice Girl Mel B. Wannabes indeed.
Local cuisine you have to try
- The caramels of Jacques Genin come highly rated, with two dedicated shops in the 3rd and 7th districts of Paris. The caramels come in all kinds of flavours, including rhubarb, mango and passionfruit, ginger – and, of course, the classic variety.
- You’ll find hundreds of bakeries that declare their macarons the best in Paris, but you can’t go too far wrong by going to their inventors Ladurée. Its the world’s biggest macaron distributor, and while they don’t come cheap, you can rest assured that the product is good.
- Duck confit is a delight of French cuisine – duck thighs cooked in their own fat (sorry, weight watchers). A top-reviewed dish comes from Au Petit Sud Ouest, close to the Eiffel Tower. Alternatively, Le Chenin is further away from the tourist traps in the 9th district.
Stade de France
- Capacity: 81,338
- Built: May 2, 1995
- Record attendance: 80,832 (Guingamp 2-1 Rennes, 2009)
How to get there: Stade de France is in Saint-Denis, a few kilometres north of Paris. You can hop on either the metro or the RER (the metro extension). For the latter, you can get Lines B and D from Châtelet in 10 minutes, or Gare du Nord in five. If you pick Line B, get off at La Plaine Stade de France; if Line D, Stade de France Saint Denis.
Opened in January 1998, the Stade de France got the showpiece event if was built for when France thumped Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 World Cup Final. It’s since hosted Confederations Cup and Rugby World Cup matches, but at Euro 2016 will welcome four group games (including the opening fixture between France and Romania), one last-16 tussle, one in the quarters and the final on July 10.
Parc des Princes
- Capacity: 48,712
- Built: July 18, 1897
- Record attendance: 49,575 (PSG vs SV Waterschei Thor, 1983)
How to get there: Get off at Porte de Saint-Cloud on Metro Line 9 – it’s only a five-minute stroll from the stadium. Alternatively, take Line 10 and hop off at Porte d’Auteuil, which will take you a little longer to walk from. You might fancy soaking up some more of the atmosphere that way.
The Parc des Princes’ rich footballing history stretches way back, having hosted matches at the 1938 and 1998 World Cups, the 1984 European Championship, three European Cup finals and a UEFA Cup showdown. Perhaps its biggest glory was France’s Euro 84 Final, when goals from Michel Platini and Bruno Bellone contributed to a 2-0 win over Spain.
- Don’t just do the tourist trail: Paris has plenty to offer elsewhere, and it’ll be worth you putting in some research about the city’s unknown gems.
- Want to go to the Louvre for the Mona Lisa? The answer is probably yes. Unless you’re prepared to queue for a long time, book your tickets online before you go. You’ll thank us later.
- If you’re between 18 and 25, you’ll get a reduced rate ticket for all of France’s top attractions. If you’ve got younger children, they’ll get into places even cheaper.
3 most Instagrammable locations
- Eiffel Tower: Er, duh. Zlatan said he’d stay at PSG if they replaced it with a statue of him. Nice try, mate – even you can’t get that.
- Moulin Rouge: That windmill. Those lights. ‘Nuff said?
- Le Louvre: Dotted around the world’s second most-visited museum are elevated boxes upon which people stand upon to get their selfie with the pyramid-like structure.
How to speak local football
Ils font figure de favori – “they look like the favourites”. Well, that’s a widely held opinion for the home nation this summer. You might just get some interesting reactions from Bleus fans in the capital if you tell them that.
Sons and daughters of the city
Lassana Diarra: The current France midfielder was born in Paris in 1985, but never played for any of the city’s teams. After being turned down by several clubs for being too small as a youngster, he ended up turning out for the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid. That’ll show ‘em.
Mamadou Sakho: The Liverpool and Bleus stopper is Paris through and through – born and raised in the city to Senegalese parents, began his youth career at Paris FC and then stepped up to PSG, where he made his debut in 2007 and eventually left to join Liverpool for £18m in 2013.
Louis Saha: Saha benefited from France’s famed Clairefontaine academy before joining Metz in the north aged 16. England became his home from there on in, however, as he went on to turn out for Newcastle, Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland before ending his career at Lazio in 2013.
Rene Lacoste: Tennis player, fashion designer. A member of the legendary Four Musketeers of French tennis, Lacoste invented the metal racket and then founded his own sportswear brand. Not bad.
Edith Piaf: One of – if not the – most famous French singers of all-time, Piaf rose to prominence in the late 1930s. She released her most famous hit, La Vie en Rose, in 1947, and Non, je ne regrette rien a few years before her death in 1963.
Fan park info
Paris’s fan zone is a beast capable of holding 120,000 fans on the Champs de Mars, below the Eiffel Tower in the 7th arrondissement. You’ll be able to watch every match of the tournament there on its giant screens.