Paris, often referred to as “La Ville-Lumière” (the City of Light) and popularly held to be the most “romantic city” in the world, owes its unique character to its rich French culture and history.

It is the city in France with the most art and architectural masterpieces and the place to discover haute couture, to wander into a vast array of boutiques, and to enjoy the satisfyingly rich delights of French cuisine and a multitude of other gastronomic cultures. The grand cafés, world famous restaurants like Le Fouquet’s and Joël Robuchon’s eponymous eateries, the sweeping Parisian boulevards lit by twinkling street lamps, and the river Seine recalling the aeons old romance of the city.

A city to marvel at, Paris’s wide avenues lined with bourgeois, neo-classical stone buildings retain the Second Empire’s magnificent sense of place, infused as they are with world-famous monuments and landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the fabulous Sacré Coeur Basilica and the Pont Alexandre III bridge that constitute the eternal appeal of the city.

And should it all get too much, why not take advantage of Paris’s fabulous rail connections with a high speed ride on the Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV). In just two hours, this, one of the fastest trains in the world, will whoosh you from Paris to the acclaimed gastronomic city of Lyon, a city with a history that encompasses Roman times, the Resistance, and classical French architecture.