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Fly to Paris for some romance in the spring

The ‘City of Romance’ rewards a visit at any time of year, but in the fresh clear spring light it is at its most charming and beautiful. Plane trees throw out new leaves over wide boulevards and parks burst into colour as countless bulbs emerge and flower. Chestnut groves blossom over the Seine as the Parisians themselves emerge from their winter homes and throng the streets. Café terraces buzz with the energy of a whole new year and the city is at its best.

There’s never a shortage of things to do and see in Paris. There’s the Eiffel Tower, an iconic landmark now fitted with new glass flooring on the 1st level. Or head mid-river to the city’s famous islands: the Île del la Cité and the Île St-Louis are both traffic-free, packed with boutiques and havens of peace.

For an overview of the city there’s perhaps no better starting point than the Cathédrale Notre Dame, its massive scale softened by exuberant gargoyles, set amongst small streets and alleys filled with markets and artists’ stalls. For a deeper blast of culture head to the Louvre, perhaps the world’s finest art gallery, with iconic artwork collected from every era as the visual arts developed across Europe. And contemporary graphics are further explored in the Centre Pompidou, a striking modern structure set amongst somewhat startled terraces of traditional period homes.

The capital of France also has its sunnier side, with clowns, mime artists, musicians and street entertainers adding a whole range of diversions to the daily life of café terrace lounging. Hot spots include the Place du Tertre in Montmartre, the Place Georges Pompidou, and Place Joachim du Bellay. Head out on a bateaumouche to get a river’s-eye view of the city or settle down to an al fresco meal in a shady open square: there’s always a perfect venue to suit every mood.

Best of all, it’s all so close. The flight from London to Paris takes just one hour and thirty-five minutes, while the Manchester Paris flight is even quicker, shading the journey down to one hour twenty-five minutes. Choose the national carrier, Air France, to ensure a trustworthy service that will bring you within easy range of the endless attractions of Paris.

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