You don't need a reason to go to Paris, only a reason to leave. For centuries no tour of Europe has been complete without the inclusion of Paris. The City of Lights is usually described in superlatives and with good reason; it is the spiritual home to many facets of human cultural, artistic and intellectual pursuit. Paris has a romance all of its own.
The Seine River divides the city and is often used to navigate Paris, with the terms "left bank" (La Rive Gauche) and "right bank" (La Rive Droite) used frequently.
The way to orient yourself is to remember that the left bank is on your left when you are facing down the Seine River. A smartphone with a good map app and data package makes life a lot easier too.
The major Parisian attractions are already etched into our consciousness via the movies and popular culture.
Here are some key attractions as classified by river bank:
La Rive Gauche (Left Bank)
Les Invalides & Napoleon's Tomb
La Rive Droite (Right Bank)
Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Elysees
Moulin Rouge & Montmarte
Sacre Coeur Basilica
Pere Lachaise Cemetery
Located centrally, between the two banks (on the Ile de la Cite) is the Gothic Cathedral Notre Dame. This magnificent 8-century-old cathedral sits on the site where Paris was originally settled, approximately 2300 years ago.
Oh, and in case you were wondering Disneyland Paris is 35 minutes by train from the city centre. http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk
Plan your trip in detail with help from the Paris convention and visitors bureau http://en.parisinfo.com - this is one of the best sites of its kind anywhere - or see http://www.tripadvisor.com.au and http://www.lonelyplanet.com
With so many wonderful things to do and places to go, the main preparation for Paris is to plan how you will navigate the city.
The Paris Metro provides a ready option to navigate the city. It can be crowded at peak hours, but for a mass public transport system it has a lot going for it. Some of the stations can be tricky to navigate and it is very important that you are on the correct platform for your train. There are several Paris Metro apps, any of which will make your route planning significantly easier. Try http://parisbytrain.com/paris-metro/ for general information. The system is widely regarded as safe however as in any major city be aware of pickpockets and stay alert.
The Seine River has 32 bridges crossing it, and there are tour boat services that enable you to step on and off with day passes so that you can see the city from the river and also cover greater distances than you would walking around. The city is very pedestrian friendly with many pedestrian only streets.
Car hire is an option, particularly if you want to go to the outer parts of Paris and beyond. However, for the inner city you will be very restricted in where you can drive and park. The traffic can become seriously congested and it's probably easier and quicker to take public transport.
Paris is relatively flat, although there are some hills like Montmarte which is approximately 100 m higher than the surrounds. Cyclists regard the city as bike friendly and it has over 700 kilometres of bike paths. You can hire bikes from a range of providers to get around.
Use your French, no matter how basic
Please and thank you go a long way in any language. Parisians reward travellers who make an effort to speak French. Regardless as to how broad the Australian accent you introduce to the language and no matter how basic your French language skills may be – you can always learn to say: "S'il vous plait" (please) and "merci beaucoup" (thank you).
As an English speaker, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many everyday words we have appropriated from the French (45% of all English words come from the French language). This makes generally understanding what is being communicated quite straightforward. With some application you will quickly progress to being a basic French speaker!
Participate in Paris
The word 'cuisine' is French. Hopefully, the active days you spend in Paris touring the sights enable some guilt-free freedom for you to savour a wide range of French delicacies, especially cheeses, patisserie treats and desserts.
Something to consider during your stay in Paris is a cooking school. As well as passively enjoying the French food scene – which is always a good idea - there are many opportunities to learn and participate in French cooking classes. From beginner to advanced, Paris offers the traveller the opportunity to roll-up one's sleeves and master some simple yet rewarding recipes.
The budding artist in you may want to undertake an art class. Paris abounds with art and writing workshops ranging from a few hours through to much longer experiences. The quality can be varied, however many are exceptional. Paris has such a strong art history that it is exciting to be part of that tapestry.
Embrace the Romance
Get hitched! Pop the question! Renew your wedding vows! Honeymoon in Paris!
The romance of Paris has made it the host city of many a marriage proposal, elopement and wedding. So much so that there are professional services and photographers to help make sure you get a wedding proposal right and to capture the moment, such as http://www.kissinparis.com/paris-proposal/.
Already hitched? That's okay - you can soak up the romance of Paris and renew your vows.
Try to travel reasonably light. If you are going to use public transport such as the Metro, some stations can be very awkward to navigate with large pieces of luggage. Similarly, some vehicles in Paris are very small with limited boot space.
Paris has a large number of events, concerts, shows and quality tour operators. Once you have planned your travel dates, take a look to see what is on while you are in Paris.
If you are using your Australian mobile to roam, check your telco's data and voice plan before departure to ensure no nasty billing surprises when you get home.
Otherwise, just soak up what Paris has to offer!