Fly to Paris

A flight to Paris takes you to a city where the past and the present live side-by-side

The capital of France and home to 12 million people, Paris is one of the world's most visited cities - and with good reason. It's home to an unparalleled collection of architectural treasures and sights dating from the Roman era to Renaissance times right through to the modern-day. Air France's direct flights between Montréal , Toronto and Vancouver take from 6 hours 45 minutes to 9 hours 35 minutes. You can also travel via Amsterdam and Minneapolis.

Paris is actually a pre-Roman settlement, but started expanding under the Romans in the 1st century BC, with the oldest part of the city being sited on the Rive Gauche (the left bank) of the River Seine. Today, many of Paris' stand-out landmarks are to be found in this area, and on the Ile de la Cité, the largest island in the Seine. These include:

  • Notre Dame cathedral
  • the Sainte Chapelle
  • the Panthéon
  • the Sorbonne
  • St Germain des Prés
  • the Museum of the Middle Ages
  • the French Senate and the Luxembourg gardens

Of course, much of Paris was built in more recent years, with the 1850s being a time of huge changes to the urban fabric of the city. Much of this was driven by Baron Haussmann's program of massive rebuilding and the creation of new green spaces like the Bois de Boulogne, the Parc Montsouris and the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, all of which are great places to escape from the hustle and bustle for a while. Most of Paris' characteristic, wide boulevards were created at this time, as was the Place de l'Etoile (where the Arc de Triomphe stands), the Place de la République and the Opéra Garnier. The story of Paris' transformation from medieval city to modern metropolis is masterfully told at the Carnavalet Museum, which is devoted to the history of the city of Paris itself.

Boulevard Haussmann, named after the man who changed the face of Paris, is now best-known for another Paris speciality - shopping. It's home to both Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, two enormous department stores. Both are characterized by stunning Art Nouveau touches. If you're passing by during the Christmas period, don't miss their amazing window displays!

Paris - let the city take you on a journey through Art History

Paris' galleries and museums are a treasure-trove of paintings, sculptures and applied art. Whilst some museums need no introduction - the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, for example, there is a wealth of smaller, more specialized institutions which also tend to be far less crowded than their more famous counterparts.
Like sculpture? Then try the Musée Rodin, the Musée Bourdelle and the Musée Zadkine. Interested in fashion and decorative arts? The Palais Galliéra, Galerie des Gobelins and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs will be right up your street. The Musée Marmottan Monet is a way of seeing impressionist masterpieces without the crowds and the Petit Palais, which houses the City of Paris' art collection (Ancient art, Renaissance art, art nouveau, furniture, ceramics, jewellery) is a work of art in itself. An excellent contemporary arts venue has also recently opened in the shape of the Fondation Louis Vuitton, housed in a striking Frank Gehry-designed building.
If you're feeling museumed-out, maybe it's time to head out of town - Air France can help you with the practicalities of car rental . On the Air France website you'll also find helpful suggestions on possible day-trips and excursions such as Disneyland, Versailles, Fontainebleau and the Normandy D-Day beaches.

The best websites to help you enjoy your Paris holiday!