Blog

Gatwick destination guide - Paris

This month, France's national day will be celebrated on 14 July, to mark the Storming of the Bastille. We decided to turn our attention to its capital to help you plan a trip to the city of love.

What is Bastille Day and why is it celebrated?

First things first. What exactly is Bastille Day? And why - and how - is it celebrated in France?

The national day of France, Bastille Day marks the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1790. This event was a turning point in the French Revolution, as the Bastille - a medieval fortress and prison - represented the monarchy's abuse of power and corruption. Shortly after the storming, feudalism was abolished and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was proclaimed.

On 14 July every year, there is a huge military parade (the oldest and biggest in Europe) held on Paris's famous Champs-Elysées. Elsewhere in France, the party generally starts the day before, and there are celebrations and fireworks to be found up and down the country.

The biggest fireworks display takes place at the Champ de Mars in Paris, so if you find yourself in the city on this date, this is the place to be.

What to see in Paris

Of course, the first stop for many is the Eiffel Tower which is one of the most iconic structures in France. Build in 1889, it has steps and lifts to different observation decks if you fancy embarking up the famous tower. If not, you can settle for a selfie from ground level.

The Louvre is a former historic palace turned art museum. Home to the Mona Lisa and much, much more, this is a must-visit for culture vultures visiting the French capital.

Fans of the movie Amelie love to flock to Montmartre, Paris's 18th arrondissement, to revel in its charming cobbled streets and pavement cafés.

The Tuileries is a huge 17th-century garden full of statues and incredible scenery - the ideal spot for a romantic walk in this most romantic of cities.

The Moulin Rouge emerged in the 19th-century as a popular (not to mention risqué) cabaret venue. If you're looking for entertainment, this is well worth a visit when planning your Paris sightseeing schedule.

What to eat in Paris

France is famous for its cheese, so a visit to Paris wouldn't be complete without sampling some serious fromage. 

You'll find sweet treats a-plenty throughout Paris, so if you have a sweet tooth, make sure you check out all of the incredible macarons, crepes and waffles.

Carnivores love to dine on steak frites when visiting Paris - there's even a popular restaurant which has this as its only dish!

However, you may not realise that Paris is actually pretty famous for its falafel, thanks to the huge North African populus in the capital. So while it may not be the most obvious Parisian delicacy, if you're a fan of falafel this is definitely one to check out during your trip to Paris.

Croissants are available pretty much everywhere nowadays - but you really can't beat one fresh from the bakery when you're staying in the home of the crescent-shaped pastry itself.

Where to shop in Paris

Get ready to flex your credit card, as Paris is the home of fashion after all. But where is the best place to shop in Paris?

Boulevard Saint Germain is a good place to start. This Instagrammable street is full of amazing buildings where you can snap up stylish clothes, home decor and delicious food.

The Place de la Madeleine is a gorgeous part of town where you'll find department stores selling everything you could possibly wish to purchase.

The Triangle D'Or (translated as The Gold Triangle) is a fashion mecca, so if you're a fashionista with a big budget, make sure you check out the heart of Parisian couture.

Where to park your car ahead of your trip to Paris

Looking for an airport parking solution with a certain je ne sais quoi? Start your French adventure in style by picking a meet and greet parking service from Help Me Park, your Park Mark approved valet parking provider. Book now here.