Paris is located in the north-centre of France in a low-lying, bowl-shaped basin. The Seine River flows through the city for about 8 miles before it flows into the English Channel. 250 miles south of London, Paris is within one to two days’ drive of many European capitals. It is one of the world’s most crowded cities with approximately 53,000 people per square mile! This ranks it as the fourth most populated city in the world after Manila, Shanghai and Cairo.
The climate is not very extreme and best described as moderate. The temperatures average about 66 degrees Fahrenheit with average annual rain amounting to 23 inches, being evenly distributed over the year.
Paris is the capital of France which is the largest country of Western Europe with 550 000km squared and 2.3 million inhabitants. It has a 2000 year history which dates back to the Romans during which period many beautiful monuments were commissioned by many French Kings such as Versailles Palace and the Louvre Museum. Many great churches were also build including Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle.
If it’s shopping and world city activities you’re looking for, Paris has Chanel, Dior, Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent which are just a few among many other top French fashion brands. Every year 44 million tourists visit Paris and the surrounding Ile de France region. It is, year after year, the most visited city in the world.
As far as the cuisine in Paris goes, the Ile de France and Paris are central regions where almost anything from the country is available. Over 9,000 restaurants exist in Paris and almost any cuisine can be found here. French food is refined, delicious and varied. It is said that the French culture is a cornucopia of everything that satisfies the mind and the senses and embraces everything from literature, architecture, art and design, engineering, crafts, science, fashion, performing arts and sports.
When in France it is important to say ‘bonjour’ upon entering a store or before you buy a bus ticket and also when meeting people. ‘Bonjour madame/monsieur’ is even better as the French are considerably formal in business and everyday life. Never arrive early for dinner. If anything, a little late is preferable… around fifteen minutes or so. Always shake hands upon meeting and kissing if important, from woman to men and women and from men to women, both cheeks (no ‘mwu mwu’ sounds!).
If you want to take a gift to an occasion, avoid wine and chocolates and rather opt for a plant (not flowers as this distracts the occasion by making the host leave the room to put them in water). Make sure you get the plant from a florist who can dress them up and label them with a sticker. If you do decide to go with flowers, there should be an odd number of them. It is believed that an odd number always looks more attractive. Adhering to French etiquette could mean that your life continues as normal in the capital but not doing so may mean that you leave a disgruntled local in your wake.