Morning stroll... The Eiffel Tower
When in Paris it really pays to do as the French do - take your time. Go for lazy walks along the Seine and through its maze of streets, from district to district - it is the best way of soaking up that special Paris atmosphere. Make your way to the Marais district, which hugs the river on the Right Bank.
Home to a long-established Jewish community, it has emerged as one of the city's trendiest areas; stroll its narrow lanes, lined with art galleries, boutiques and stylish cafés. Head westwards, past the Les Halles district, and you'll come to the Champs-Elysées, the most prestigious avenue in Paris. Wander past its array of sparkling designer shops, such as Louis Vuitton, towards the iconic Arc de Triomphe, which stands proudly at the western end.
Café for refreshment...
No visit to Paris is complete without a spot of people watching and Les Deux Magots, on the Left Bank's bustling St-Germain-des-Prés, is the place to do it. The café was famed in the Thirties as a rendezvous of the city's literary elite. Take a seat on the terrace, where at one time Hemingway may have sat working over his manuscripts, and order a hot chocolate; made by melting bars of chocolate in milk, it is brought to the table piping hot in porcelain pots.
Elsewhere, Le Cochon a L'Oreille in Les Halles is a classic little café-bar and a relic from the district's heyday at Paris' legendary food market; inside you'll find intimate wooden booths and scenes of the old market on ceramic tiles.
Spot of sightseeing...
From the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris is sightseeing heaven. The Ile de la Cité - one of two natural islands in the Seine - is where Paris was born, around 250BC. Here you'll find the Notre Dame. Its Gothic loftiness is enchanting; while outside you can admire its striking flying buttresses, inside you'll find lofty vaults, an enchanting nave and stunning 13th century stained glass window.
There's one other place you must visit - the Eiffel Tower, of course. Go early evening, as the sun is starting to set. Stepping out on to the viewing platform, 460ft from the ground, can be initially unnerving but that is soon replaced by an incredible sense of awe. The 360-degree panoramic views take some beating.
Auvers-sur-Oise, a charming rural retreat in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, makes for a lovely visit. Vincent van Vogh spent his final weeks here and many of his best known works are displayed on illustrated panels around the village. Visit the artist's tiny attic room above the Auberge Ravoux restaurant - it's open to the public and gives you an evocative sense of his stay.
For grandeur visit the nearby Palace of Versailles, a magnificent château surrounded by lavish gardens. Step inside to see the dazzling Hall of Mirrors, with its 357 gold-coated stucco mirrors, ornate paintings and crystal chandeliers.
Le Comptoir du Relais, on the Left Bank, is an art deco delight. While from the outside it might look like an ordinary French bistro, inside its food (brasserie fare on weekend nights, five-course feast on weekday evenings) has gained it cult status as one of Paris' finest eateries. Expect dishes such as saddle of lamb with vegetable stuffed Basque ravioli.
For one of the best views in town, head to Alain Ducasse's recently revamped restaurant Jules Verne, located on the second level of the Eiffel Tower. The multi-Michelin starred chef whips up all manner of mouthwatering dishes, such as pan-seared beef tournedos and duck foie gras with souffled potatoes and Perigueux sauce. Delicious.