Trace the steps of Van Gogh, Renoir and Picasso by climbing the fabled streets of Montmartre, one of the highest landscapes in the city. Although the famed Sacre Coeur basilica remains one of Montmartre's most iconic sights, plentiful destinations off the beaten path can be explored by foot in this historic hilltop village of cobbled byways and panoramic views. Among the sights include the venerable cabaret Au Lapin Agile, where singer Edith Piaf once performed, as well as historic gardens, courtyards, churches and homes, including Vincent Van Gogh's residence on rue Lepic.
If you are lucky enough to be visiting Paris in the first week of June, you will not want to miss the French Open tennis tournament held at Roland Garros Stadium. This spectacular clay-court facility plays host once a year to the world's top players, including 2009 winner Roger Federer. During the off-season, the facility is open for guided tours into areas where the only the players are usually allowed, including locker rooms, the media center and the landmark Philippe Chatrier Court. Additionally, the site includes a not-to-be-missed tennis museum, Tenniseum, featuring permanent and temporary exhibitions. Here, a tennis library provides patrons with access to more than 3,000 printed documents, as well as a computer-based catalog.
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When in Paris, stroll the legendary Champs-Elysees and imagine yourself on top of a bicycle racing to the finish of the Tour de France. Every year since 1975, the Champs-Elysees showcases the exciting finish of the last stage of the race. When riders reach Paris, they enter the Champs-Elysees via rue de Rivoli to the Place de la Concorde. Lined with cheering crowds, the route heads toward the Arc de Triomphe and winds around les Tuileries and the Musee du Louvre, then back to the Champs-Elysees. The boulevard has been the site of many historic and dramatic finishes, including Greg LeMond's legendary win in 1989. If you are fortunate enough to be in France during the month of July, you will not want to miss this exciting event.
Jardin des Tuileries
The City of Light's central garden unfolds in stunning beauty, connecting the Musee du Louvre with the Place de la Concorde along the banks of the Seine. The garden's formal grounds showcase ornate statues and bronze works, several fountains, numerous sculptures, colorful flowerbeds and more. Spread over more than 60 acres, the park offers an idyllic setting for strolling, biking, picnicking and more.
Paris by Bicycle
Parisians have really taken to the new Velib "bike hire" system, which provides thousands of bikes for rent 24 hours a day at locations throughout the city. Multiple bike stations allow you to pick a bike from one service point and drop it off at another. Each bike is equipped with a basket for toting supplies, as well as bike lights that illuminate as soon as you start riding. Rent a bike and explore the famed streets of Paris, where legendary monuments, museums, architecture and landmarks await, including the famous Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame.