Overview:

Only if a city fulfils a number of specific qualities can it consider itself great. Its culture must be unique and easily identifiable; it must have inspiring geography and iconic buildings; it must have a triumphant and torrid history and it must be the birthplace of people who have changed the world.

Each of these qualities is present in Paris. Its atmosphere is unique – best described as formal and intellectual in equal measure, attributes that can be seen in the café culture of coffee and debate, and by night in any one of the many restaurants that line the silvery path of the River Seine.

Few cities contain more landmarks than Paris. The Sacré-Cœur and Notre Dame are just two of a fistful that could be mentioned, the latter of which can be found amid the bustling Montmartre an elevated area of the city which is filled with artists and bohemian hang outs – from bars to cafés and clubs.

Paris has always been a creative city. Dumas, Proust and Monet were all born there and Van Gogh, Orwell and Picasso were all drawn there in later life. Orwell memorably described the artists’ life in Paris as living ‘in the suburbs of poverty.’

Visitors interested in the history of the city should head to the Place de la Concorde at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées, the site of the grisliest moments of the French Revolution where King Louis XVI was guillotined along with many other members of the French aristocracy.

Others can head for the shops, the parks, the cafes or the museums. Paris cannot be defined in one way, but it is certainly a city that should be visited – and enjoyed.