WELCOME TO PARIS
It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. The city's people are stylish and flirtatious, its architecture seductive, its restaurants and nightlife devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and its streets are scattered with dreams.
Summer days are spent lazing on the banks of the Seine, sipping coffee at a sidewalk café, or idling in one of the city's many gardens or forests.
There is an otherworldliness to this city, where beauty and elegance are favoured over purpose and practicality. Centuries of urban development have the appearance of having being mastered by a single hand with a strong sense of balance, contrast and aesthetics. The views from the Eiffel Tower or Sacré Coeur reveal hundreds of iconic attractions for the snapshot visitor, but the best way to see this city is by tucking your map back in your pocket and allowing yourself to get lost on its streets and avenues, discovering the city for yourself.
The student can choose their own Paris. The nostalgic should wander around the mansions of the Marais district, past the Musée Carnavalet and Place des Vosges, home to the Maison de Victor Hugo. Monet's Water Lillies can be glimpsed at the Musée de l'Orangerie.
Those interested in modern design should opt for the Centre Georges Pompidou, place Beaubourg or the Grande Arche de la Défense with its high speed glass lift offering a spectacular view of Paris. The Grande Arche, which lies along the same geographical axis as Napoleon's Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysées, was built a century and a half later.
This incongruity - the modern city juxtaposed with the old - is all part of the charm of Paris. Paris is overrun with museums, ranging from the vast collections of the Louvre to the small and quirky - such as the Musée des Arts Forains, a shrine to fairground art. Those who have not been to Paris for a few years will be surprised at the number of new additions.
Parisian fashion is more elegant than funky. Trends may come and go but Paris is always at the forefront and there are few cities where you can find so many top-quality designers. The exclusive designer shops are in the 8th, enclosed in the golden triangle formed by the avenue des Champs-Elysées, avenue Montaigne andrue François 1er and along the rue de Faubourg St-Honoré. A less rarefied but typically Parisian shopping experience is to be had at the main department stores on the boulevard Haussmann, 8th - Les Galeries Lafayette with its huge coloured dome and Au Printemps.
Paris is a city in which the four seasons are quite clearly defined. When traveling to Paris during the summer, you will generally encounter a warm and dry climate with maximum temperatures averaging 24ºC. Light clothes will do fine here but remember to pack some warmer clothing for evenings.
Things start cooling down in autumn and the winter months are downright cold and chilly with temperatures coming down to around 2ºC. Warm clothes are a must-have! Springtime is a nice time during which to visit Paris although it does tend to rain a fair bit, so if you're travelling in the spring months be sure to pack a raincoat!
Come and learn French this summer in the city of lights....