Paris (France)

guide featuring 360 degree images, maps, photos, video, hotels and transport.

Paris has so many world famous landmarks to see such as the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde & The Louvre, Notre Dam Cathedral, Montmarte (Moulin Rouge & the Sacre Coeur Basilica), Versailles Palace and even Disneyland. I also went rollerblading through central Paris with thousands others if you're looking for something pretty special to do.

I took these photos, 360° images and videos while on holiday with my wife for a few days in May 2012. Refer to my customised Paris Google map for where we saw the main points of interest.

This is part of a 6 week adventure that my wife and I took in the middle of 2012 that includes:

Paris video

  about 7 minutes, full HD available (1080p) which is best viewed in full screen.

Arc de Triomphe

[3 on the map]
One of the best locations to see Paris because you can see so many features from here including the huge roundabout below that has no specific rules so the traffic just works itself out...most of the time. Be sure to take the underground passage to get here - don't even think about trying to walk across the roundabout! We stayed at Hotel Cecilia with a view to the Arc de Triomphe so it was the easiest place to get to, but more importantly, a major subway terminal (Charles de Gaulle - not the airport with the same name!) is loacted here for easy access anywhere.

Eiffel Tower

[5 on the map]
Only one of the lifts were working when we were there but you could also walk up too. The lines were huge but a bit shorter for the walk up as you might expect. We noticed there were 2 entrances for the walk up - one with a huge line of people and one empty. We asked the staff why one was empty and they shrugged their shoulders and said "People are like sheep, they just line up behind one another without question." So we just went straight in and up the tower immediately without no waiting time! It's 347 steps to the first level, 674 steps to the second platform and 1710 steps to the top - sounds like a lot but it's not that bad because it's an exciting place to be. We didn't bother going to the top because the weather wasn't that great and the view was fine from level 1 and 2.

Place de la Concorde & The Louvre

[8, 9 & 10 on the map]
A crazy huge place where we got lost in the maze of levels in the Louvre. I like the sculptures the best hence the many photos of them :) The Louvre is open till 5:30pm except Wednesday and Fridays when it closes at 9:45pm so our strategy was to go Friday at the middle of the day and stay till late which seemed to work great avoiding super large crowds, especially the package tour people. It didn't get dark till 10pm in June while we were there anyway.

Notre Dame Cathedral

[12 on the map]
You can take a tour up to the top of the cathedral for some nice views over Paris. It was one of the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). This French Gothic architecture styled building also contains some very large and impressive stained glass windows.


[17 & 18 on the map]
The highest place in Paris and famous for Moulin Rouge and the Sacre Coeur Basilica. We had a dinner and show package for Moulin Rouge at a ridiculous price of A$460 for the two us. I was surprised to see so many families with young children, women and gay men it made me think it's gone from a men's porno show to now the complete opposite of just a cliched dance show with fancy outfits :P


[24 on the map]
Rollerblading 30km through central Paris with a few thousand others doing the same on a Sunday afternoon felt a bit like a protest march with some people cheering you on and others angry at you for blocking their way. Very cool way to see Paris but they go fast and I was one of the slowest even though I was working hard. I didn't know how to stop properly and fell over scraping my hand on the road. Someone noticed my bloody hand so I had a temporary ride in the ambulance who fixed me up so I could continue - fantastic support and well organised so I bought a shirt and donated money at the end :)
See skate club for the event and for rollerblade and protective equipment hire at the start/finish of the course.

Versailles Palace

[19 on the map]
Located 20km SW of the centre Paris, this is another immense European landmark. It's just insane how big and ornate the palace is and then you see the gardens that literally go all the way to the horizon. Then adding to all that there is the Grand Trianon buildings and the Estate of Marie Antoinette down the back!


[19 on the map]
Located just outside Paris, not in America! Even people from London can visit here quickly and easily via the Eurostar train that travels under the English channel.


The best way to travel around France (and Europe) is by train because they are very fast, frequent, safe, reliable, cheap and the stations are in the middle of the city. I prefer to book the routes individually (point to point ticket) instead of buying a pass (like Eurail or Swiss pass) because it's usually cheaper unless you are frequently travelling long distances which I don't do anyway because I want to spend more time enjoying the location than travelling to and from it. The catch with a Eurail pass is that you still need to book and pay extra for a seat reservation, whereas buying just a normal point to point ticket includes the reservation, saving time and confusion. I always buy first class tickets too because they aren't much more expensive than the normal ticket, they usually include more seating space and I feel a little more safer considering that the train company gives a little more attention to first class passengers.

The main concern was for the storage and security of our luggage, having heard too many stories about bags being stolen. Many trains have a rack above the seats (so it's safe) that can easily hold a large suitcase (like those allowed for checked luggage on planes). My bag (35cm [14in] x 45cm [18in] x 70cm [27.5in]) was just below the maximum size limit for planes which was fine on all the trains during our holiday through Europe. It weighed about 19kg and you must lift your bag up on to these high racks which was fine for a tall, strong, dashing, handsome, sexy and modest young man like me, otherwise you will probably need another passenger to help you. Some trains only have storage at the end of each carriage which makes it easier to get in and out but also makes it easier for someone to steal your bags too. We took a wire cable bike combination lock to attach our bags to the rack in these cases but only used it twice and both times it probably wasn't really necessary, but gives you peace of mind so you don't need to worry about it. We also used small combination padlocks on the zippers. Having locks on your bags can draw attention because being so secure then there is probably something valuable in it worth stealing, but most criminals are just opportunistic and simply take the next bag that is easier to remove.

How to book European train tickets:

  1. Go to Rail Europe to search and buy your tickets. Enter your departure and arrival cities to find out if it is possible to catch a train between them. If you get no results for your search it is usually because many trains only allow bookings up to 3 months in advance or even less so just try example dates in the next couple of weeks instead.
  2. To do a cross check and find more detailed information, the best train website I have found is the Swiss SBB train site that has European train details and not just Switzerland. I had a look at other websites like Trenitalia (Italian trains) but they tend to be too difficult to use mainly because the translation into English isn't too good.
I chose to use Rail Europe because it is locally based to me (currency, office, etc) so it's easy to understand with no language problems, it's a single place to buy all your tickets and they do all the communication with the European railways to get the correct tickets. After you order your train tickets on their website, they post you the official paper tickets in the mail. Only trains like Eurostar (eg. London to Paris) use electronic tickets that you can print at home, but for trains in places such as Italy, only the paper tickets are valid so don't lose them!


This is the best way that I know of to find a hotel on the internet. I used this method for every place we stayed at for our entire six week holiday in Europe/UK/Singapore and it worked very well. The basic steps are:
  1. Decide how much you want to pay each night. We budgeted an average of $200 a night for our whole six week Europe/UK/Singapore trip to get quite nice 4 or sometimes 5 star hotels. FYI: Our hotel in Venice was the most expensive (from supply and demand I guess) but the worst condition (old, no lifts, but clean) and Berlin was one the cheapest but best (5 star, middle of city and even had a giant aquarium in the middle!).
  2. Decide on your location. I usually choose the closest hotel to a major transport hub (like a train station) within my budget.
  3. Decide on check-in and check-out dates. Most hotels in Europe/UK seem to have a check-out time of midday and check-in at 2pm. When travelling between cities on a train (like in Europe) I usually booked the train that departs around midday and arrives around 2pm so I check straight in and know my luggage is safely in my room and not have to come back for the rest of the day. It gets dark around 10pm in June so there is plenty of sightseeing time left in the day.
  4. Find a hotel with high ratings and good reviews from people who have actually stayed there.
  5. Book it preferably at least a few months in advance to get cheap prices.

How to actually do it:
  1. See the currently available hotels in Paris. This searches 100+ hotel booking websites at once to find the best price which is why I think it's the best.
  2. Refine your search using as much detail as you can. For example, make up some check in and out dates for a couple of days in a few months time and select 4 stars.
  3. Now click the Show Map link in the top right. I really like this feature because I can instantly see where the closest hotels are to where I want to be. Hover your mouse over the icon to see the hotel name, star rating and price.
  4. Just above the map link in the top right, change the drop down box to your local currency if it didn't do that automatically.
  5. Click on "Sort by: Guest Rating". Scroll down the list of hotels looking at their average rating given by people who actually stayed there and compare that to the price. Naturally the more expensive places usually have higher ratings so the trick is to find a high rating place with a low price.
  6. My priority is actually location so I sort it by Distance, then look for the highest rating, then see if it's in my price range.
  7. Now click on a hotel to see the details about it such as photos, features and most importantly the reviews. Sometimes you come across some amazing features such as the "DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London - Tower of London" actually had a big screen Apple computer with free internet that also works as a TV. We ended up booking this place because this feature made it stand out from the crowd and the room was great.
  8. I like to read people's reviews for their very honest opinions, especially the negative ones because you can find out if the problems are really important or not and if everyone keeps complaining about the same thing. To do this, scroll down to the bottom of the web page and click on a link that says something like "Read all reviews from" then when that website appears, click on the Reviews tab.
  9. After looking through a few hotels and their reviews you can try clicking on the Book Now button but don't worry, you don't actually book anything yet. This shows you a list of all the websites that are selling rooms for this hotel ordered from lowest to highest price so you know you can get the lowest price possible which is why I said in step 1 that this is the best way to find and book hotels on the internet.
  10. Click the Go button to transfer to that website to actually make the booking. I personally don't necessarily select the website with the lowest price. I prefer to book on websites that I am more familiar with such as so I have more confidence in knowing it will actually work properly and can group all my bookings together more easily, especially if the price is only an extra few dollars per night. My ultimate preference is to book with the hotel's own website which is what I did with the DoubleTree hotel (the Hilton website) only because their price matched the best price of and it was a low price too.
I wasn't too sure if my bookings were really passed through to the hotels or not with some strange booking websites I had never heard of before, so I was a bit skeptical. But sure enough, every single one of the 14 hotels I booked on our 6 week holiday through Europe/UK/Singapore had no problems at all and acknowledged my reservation every time.

Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -

About the photos
I've been a keen photographer for over 10 years and have been creating 360° panoramic images for about that long too. I've sold some individually, for web sites, a couple of weddings and projects for clients where I work as a visualisation artist. All the panoramas on this page were taken handheld because you are not allowed to use tripods in most of the places I visited so you may find some strange gaps where the photos are stitched together because of this. The camera used for all of these photos is a Canon 5D MkIII digital SLR with a 24-105mm L series lens. This camera works great in low light situations, has a full frame sensor to get wide angle shots and produces super sharp photos. Unfortuantely it is very big, heavy and expensive so I made the decision to choose quality over comfort. A camera store assistant once told me: A man invited a lady over to his place one night to show her his photos. She said, "Gee, they're great photos. You must have a great camera." She invited the man to her place for dinner the next night and after the meal he said "Gee, that was a great meal. You must have a great oven."

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