Paris and Surroundings

Paris is naturally divided into two halves by the river Seine called Rive Gauche  – the southern bank – and Rive Droite – the northern bank and administratively into 20 municipal districts, called Arrondissements, organized in a clockwise spiral shape. Each district has its soul, history, and cultural influences typical of a wide multi-ethnic metropolis.

The core of Paris is in the area of Île Saint-Louis and Île de la Cité, where the cathedral of Notre Dame is placed. A few steps close, to the Louvre Museum we can admire the majesty of the boulevards conceived by the urbanist Haussmann during the second half of the 19th century. Staying to the north, we discover the vibrant and fascinating neighborhoods of the Marais, Bastille, and République, until we reach the top of Montmartre hill for a breathtaking view of the city.

Moving to the south side, the most iconic symbol of Paris, the Eiffel Tower rises, lighting up and shining at night. The Latin Quarter is the place to breathe authentic Parisian air, with its typical cafés, bookshops, and universities such as the Sorbonne. It is more pleasant than strolling from the winding lanes that lead to the suggestive Pantheon to end with some shopping in the dynamic district of Montparnasse.

Tasting the wonderful French cuisine in a brasserie is an incomparable experience, but it is not over yet, in every corner of the city you can find excellent restaurants or spots cooking dishes from all over the world, satisfying all your cravings!

Due to its proximity to the ocean, Paris is characterized by an extremely variable climate, a cross between oceanic and continental.

Things to Do Around Paris

1) Notre Dame Cathedral

Located on the eastern part of the Île de la Cité, it is one of the most popular Gothic buildings in the world and one of the most visited monuments in Paris. The cathedral is a sight with its portals surrounded by many sculptures and gargoyles that adorn the roof.

It has been a historical monument of France since 1862 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. From the beginning, the cathedral has been the venue of crucial national events, including many religious ceremonies linked to the kings of France and political meetings.

On 15 April 2019, it was severely damaged by a devastating fire that led to the collapse of the roof. Despite its closure for restoration work, the basilica remains the seat of the chair of the Archbishop of Paris.

2) Eiffel Tower

The symbol of Paris is undoubtedly the Eiffel Tower. Made of metal, it is 300 meters high and weighs 8000 tonnes. It was built thanks to the funding of the engineer Gustav Eiffel on the Champs de Mars for the Universal Exhibition in 1889. It was supposed to be dismantled after the Universal Exhibition but was finally spared since it could be used as an excellent antenna for the transmission of radio signals.

The tower was the tallest monument in the world until 1930, later surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York. The twinkling of the Eiffel Tower at night is the result of 20,000 light bulbs flashing in rapid succession; the monument lights up for five minutes every hour, from sunset to one in the morning. It is possible to climb to the top of the tower by lift or stop on the second floor where you can visit the tower museum, dine in the restaurants and enjoy a stunning view of the city.

3) Les Champs-Élysées and The Arc de Triomphe

The Avenue des Champs-Élysées is one of the widest and most majestic avenues in Paris, that delimit the so-called Golden Triangle of Paris. The name refers to the Elysian Fields of Greek and Roman mythology, a place where souls dwell after death.

Nearly 2 kilometers in length, this historic thoroughfare runs from Place de la Concorde to the majestic Arc de Triomphe, wanted by Napoleon after the Battle of Austerlitz to celebrate the army’s victories. Strolling along the avenue is a glamouring must-do: indeed, thanks to its cinemas, cafés, and luxury shops, it attracts thousands of tourists every year.

4) Louvre Museum

The Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world. The building was originally part of a medieval fortress, the remains of which can be found at the foundation level and are now part of the exhibition. After structural changes, it turned into the palace of the kings of France.

During the XVII century, Louis XIV moved the royal palace to Versailles, therefore the Louvre was destined to store the Royal family treasures, and to officially become a museum in 1793. As part of the Grand Louvre Museum expansion project started in 1983, J. M. Pei inserted a glass pyramid in the Cour Napoléon. Nowadays, the collection is divided into several sections: Egyptian antiquities, Oriental antiquities, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman; Islamic Art, Sculptures of the Middle Ages; Renaissance and Modern Times, Objects of art, Paintings, and Graphic art.

5) The Sainte Chapelle

The Sainte-Chapelle, also known as the Sainte-Chapelle du Palais, is a palatial chapel built in the XIII Century on the Ile de la Cité in Paris at the behest of King Saint Louis to house the Holy Crown of Thorns, a piece of the True Cross, and various other relics of the Passion.

It is the first of the Holy Chapels to be built, designed as a vast shrine almost entirely glazed, and is distinguished by the elegance and boldness of its Gothic architecture, which is manifested in a significant elevation. The Sainte Chapelle consists of the lower chapel, originally dedicated to officers, and the upper chapel, dedicated to the king and his family. Its stained-glass windows are incredibly brilliant and colorful, among the most magnificent in the world.

6) Sacré-Cœur of Montmartre

The Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur of Montmartre, known as the Basilica of the National Vow, is located at the top of the Montmartre hill. The cathedral was built at the end of the 19th century to a design by architect Paul Abadie. The eclectic architectural style of the building chosen was inspired by Romanesque architecture, Byzantine architecture, and particularly the cathedral of Saint-Front in Périgueux, the basilicas of Saint-Sophia in Constantinople, and Saint-Marc in Venice. From the Basilica you can admire the whole panorama of Paris stretching as far as the eye can see: enjoying the sunset up there, and possibly tasting a delicious crepe, is certainly not to be missed.

7) The Pantheon

Close to La Sorbonne University and the Luxembourg Gardens, the Pantheon in Paris is an example of neoclassical art and the first monument in the French capital. Originally planned in the 18th century as a church to house the shrine of Saint Genevieve – the patron of the city – since the French Revolution, this monument has been used to honor great figures who have marked the history of France, except for the military careers, normally dedicated to the Panthéon Militaire des Invalides. The façade, the interior, the dome, the crypt, and the Foucault pendulum are the masterpieces of the monument, which deserves to be admired from the outside and visited in its entirety.

8) Le Centre Pompidou

The “Centre Pompidou”, or more familiarly “Beaubourg”, is a multidisciplinary establishment born out of the wish of President Georges Pompidou – a great passionate of modern art – to create in the heart of Paris an innovative cultural institution entirely devoted to modern and contemporary creation, where the visual arts would be combined with books, drawing, music, the performing arts, activities for young people and the cinema. Nowadays it holds one of the two most important collections of modern and contemporary art in the world and the first in Europe.

9) Musée d’Orsay

The museum, as well as all the buildings that precede it on this site, takes its name from the adjacent quay: the Quai d’Orsay. This was named after Charles Boucher d’Orsay, the merchant provost who financed the construction. The museum of 19th-century art opened its doors in the converted station on 9 December 1986, after a huge intervention that refurbished and redesigned all the interior. It displayed the largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. Temporary monographic or thematic exhibitions concerning the work of an artist, a trend, or an art historical issue are often set up.

10) Palace of Versailles

Versailles is famous for its stunning royal palace constructed by the great king Louis XIV, as well as its huge park which features one of the most accomplished French gardens ever created. Versailles remained the seat of the political power of the kingdom of France from 1682 until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 at the dawn of the French Revolution. In a way, exploring the palace is like stepping into a thrilling novel, where you meet kings, emperors, revolutionaries, and Republican leaders.

Our Cultural Activities

A guided tour of the city is included in the price of each one-week course in Paris.

Two-week courses include an additional guided tour of the city.

Further information on our activities will be provided after the confirmation of the course.

About the Training Centre in Paris

All our teacher training courses in Paris will take place either in the Morning (9.00-13.45) or in the Afternoon (14.00-18.45) depending on classroom and trainer availability.