While in Paris, Feast Your Eyes on as Much as You Can

Paris is like an onion, say the locals, it has many layers. And I would add, the more you peel, the sweeter it gets.  The city is laid out in a circular spiral, that is sometimes caricatured as a snail or "escargot." This layout lends itself to the historical development of the city. It started originally on Île St.-Louis, the small island just next to Île de la Cité where the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris has stood for over 800 years. It then kept expanding to encompass what is today the Left Bank neighborhood of the Latin Quarter and the Right Bank neighborhood of Le Marais, two of the oldest, and richest, historically speaking, neighborhoods of Paris. Over the centuries it expanded ever outward to encompass the 20 arrondissements that make up Paris today. 

But historical is a relative word. When Left Bank sites like the Musée de Cluny house the Roman era baths, Les Thermes de Lutèce, that date back some 2000 years, then structures like the Eiffel Tower, being just a bit more than 125 years old, can seem relatively modern in this town.

One of the genius strokes of Napoléon was to engage urban designers who were responsible not just for the wide avenues, including the Champs-Elysées, but also for many of the luscious, large parks and gardens that give Paris its greenspace allure. One that pre-dates that era however is the Jardin des Tuileries created by André Le Nôtre in 1664.

7th Arondissement - Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
Photo courtesy of Paige Donner


Boasting an impressive resume that includes being one of the tallest buildings in the world and a design that was lauded when it was built for the 1889 Exposition Universelle - a festival to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French...  Read More

7ème Arrondissement


This gorgeous architectural gem, completed in the 17th century, is located in the city's Faubourg-St-Germain region. It was created by Louis XIV, the Sun King, as a home for aged soldiers and disabled/ injured veterans. Among its prominent...  Read More

1er Arrondissement


Stretching between the Louvre and place de la Concorde, this garden originally dates to 1564, when Catherine de Medici had it constructed as a reminder of her home in Italy. Historically, it marked one of the first times that Paris displayed...  Read More

1er Arrondissement


The world's largest, richest collection of art and antiques occupies the Louvre, the world's largest museum and the one-time royal palace to French Kings and Queens. Originally built in 1190 as a fortress, part of which can be viewed in the...  Read More

4ème Arrondissement


This Catholic Church is the main church of the picturesque Île St.-Louis, the oldest inhabited area of Paris. The church was built according to the architectural designs of Le Vau in stages between 1624 and 1726. Le Vau was the royal architect...  Read More

7ème Arrondissement


Centuries later and it's altogether too easy to forget that before he was the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson also served a term here in Paris as the US Ambassador to France (1785-89). He succeeded the first US Ambassador,...  Read More

4ème Arrondissement
Paris Rendez-vous
Photo courtesy of Photo by Paige Donner copyright 2014


There's a brand new tourist office in Paris that's unlike any tourist office you've ever seen. Gone are the harried functionaries who don't speak your language. They have been replaced by a young hip staff who are only too happy to show you how...  Read More

20ème Arrondissement


Named for Louis XIV's confessor, who once lived in the vicinity, this cemetery was established in 1804. It was planned as a repository for human remains when authorities sought to improve sanitation by moving graves from the center of the city...  Read More

4ème Arrondissement


This central building to Paris' city center made a huge architecturally splash when Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers designed it as "an evolving spatial diagram" in the 70s. Breaking away from the then customary Parisian stone façades, the...  Read More



This wonderfully extravagant palace, where royals frittered away much of the treasury, is a necessary stop for visitors. Top designers of the day created an ornate complex of gardens, lakes, stables and guest houses to complement the luxuriously...  Read More


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige