France’s legendary capital is one of the world’s most iconic and most-visited cities and is as rich in famous landmarks as it is in unique cultural atmosphere. Its location on the Seine River makes it a natural start and end point for itineraries which explore France’s most popular waterway and beyond. Paris was given its name by its first Celtic settlers back in the third century BC and since then it continued to develop and prosper, becoming one of the world’s largest cities and a key centre for trade and learning by the time of the 12th century. It played a starring role in both the French Revolution and the age of enlightenment and in more recent times has continued to build on its reputation as a mecca for both fashion and cuisine, becoming one of the world's most famous cities.
Paris, of course, cannot be mentioned without also mentioning the Eiffel Tower. Indeed, the iconic structure, along with the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and Notre Dame Cathedral is the reason why so many people visit the city each year and indeed a city excursion taking in all these sights will almost certainly be on your itinerary. Built for the World’s Fair in 1889, the Eiffel Tower has gone on to become one of the world’s most instantly recognisable monuments, with millions of people taking a trip to the top of the city’s tallest building to take in the view. The Arc De Triomphe predates the tower and was built on Napoleon the First’s orders to honour his victories. It’s a splendid piece of architecture and a spiral staircase winds its way to the top, giving you further viewing opportunities.
Another key architectural landmark is Notre Dame Cathedral. It may not be the only place of worship bearing the name you’ll visit on a river cruise as it has many namesakes, but this is the original and certainly one for the must-see list. This Gothic masterpiece is a must for architecture aficionados, offering two towers, vaulted ceilings, flying buttresses, gargoyles and of course a belfry. One celebrated attraction you certainly won’t be able to fully explore if you’re only visiting for a day is the Louvre. This sprawling art gallery is home to almost 400,000 pieces, the most famous of which is the legendary Mona Lisa. There’s so much to see but even if you’re on a tight schedule, a chance to see the famous glass pyramid in the museum’s courtyard, which serves as the museum’s entrance, should not be missed.
As you cruise, you’ll be enjoying another attraction too, as the historic banks of the Seine are in themselves a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasting both architecturally beautiful bridges and some incredible views of the city that you won’t be able to enjoy any other way.
If there’s one thing you should try and make time for while in Paris, it’s a visit to a bistro, restaurant or side street café to drink in a little of the legendary Parisian atmosphere and sample the cuisine. For French food on the go, be sure to try a pancake from one of the city’s crepe stands.