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The city of Paris: Home of Vincennes Zoo


Paris, affectionately known as the City of Lights, is the epitome of charm, elegance, and culture. A city steeped in rich history dating back to the 3rd century BC, Paris is now home to a thriving population of over 2 million residents, each contributing to the city’s vibrant cultural diversity. The French capital’s awe-inspiring architecture, world-renowned landmarks, and exquisite culinary scene set it apart as a must-visit destination for travellers worldwide.

This guide aims to take you on a journey through the heart of Paris, spotlighting not only its iconic attractions but also the hidden treasures that contribute to the city’s unique charm, including the enchanting Vincennes Zoo. Prepare to immerse yourself in the magic that is Paris.

Attractions in Paris

Paris’ architectural splendour provides an awe-inspiring backdrop to its bustling city life. Its most iconic monument, the Eiffel Tower, stands tall as a symbol of innovation and elegance, drawing millions of visitors each year.

The Louvre Museum, another must-visit landmark, houses a vast collection of art and antiquities, including the famed Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. Not to forget Notre-Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of French Gothic architecture with its intricate carvings, towering spires and stunning stained glass windows that narrate biblical stories.

Beyond these well-known landmarks, the city of Paris unfolds in its vibrant neighbourhoods and artistic nooks. Montmartre, with its bohemian spirit, cobbled streets, and the dazzling white dome of the Sacré-Cœur, provides panoramic views of Paris.

The city’s gastronomic scene is another major attraction, from traditional French cuisine in cosy bistros to the tantalising array of pastries in delightful patisseries.

The charm of Paris extends to its open spaces and parks, such as the quintessential French-style gardens of Tuileries and Luxembourg. Perfect for leisurely strolls, picnics or simply absorbing the vibrant Parisian life. Last but not least, Paris’ nightlife offers an eclectic blend of bars, jazz clubs and night tours that provide a different perspective of this enchanting city after dark.

A group of baboons at the zoo.

The Paris Zoo (Vincennes Zoo)

Nestled in the heart of the 12th arrondissement, the Paris Zoo, or the Parc Zoologique de Paris, more commonly known as the Vincennes Zoo, is a haven for animal lovers. Established in 1934, the zoo stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to wildlife conservation and education, housing an impressive collection of over 1,000 animals across 180 species.

The zoo is divided into five biozones, replicating the natural habitats of the animals and allowing visitors to journey from the savannahs of Africa to Patagonian landscapes without leaving Paris.

The Vincennes Zoo is lauded for its innovative approach to animal enclosures, featuring large, open spaces where animals can roam freely, resulting in a more authentic wildlife experience for visitors.

The zoo’s highlight is the 16-hectare ‘Grand Rocher’, a massive artificial mountain that serves as a backdrop to the zoo and home to a variety of primate species. The Vincennes Zoo, with its commitment to education and preservation, offers not only an entertaining outing but also a deeper insight into global wildlife conservation efforts.

History of the city of Paris

Paris, the cosmopolitan capital of France, boasts a rich, intricate history that spans over two millennia. The city’s origins can be traced back to the Celts in the third century BC, who established a fishing village on the Île de la Cité, the island located centrally in the River Seine. By 52 BC, Julius Caesar’s Roman troops conquered the village, transforming it into a thriving settlement known as Lutetia.

Throughout the Middle Ages, Paris grew significantly in political and cultural importance. It was during this time that iconic landmarks such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral and the University of Paris were constructed, further establishing the city’s global significance.

The Renaissance period, spanning the 15th to 17th centuries, saw Paris evolve into a global hub for art and intellect, adding to its already rich cultural tapestry.

The period of the French Revolution in the late 18th century marked a tumultuous time for Paris, leading to a period of extensive urban reconstruction under Napoleon III in the 19th century. Iconic boulevards and architectural landmarks, including the completion of the Louvre Museum, were introduced during this time.

Twentieth-century Paris witnessed two World Wars, the city managing to preserve its cultural heritage and recover, becoming the vibrant and romantic city recognised globally today. Indeed, the history of Paris is a testament to its resilience, evolution, and enduring charm.

The vivid culture of Paris

Parisian culture is a vibrant tapestry of art, fashion, gastronomy, and music, making the city a cultural epicentre of the world. The city’s rich artistic heritage is reflected in its abundance of museums and galleries, such as the Musee d’Orsay and Centre Pompidou, as well as its renowned art festivals and fairs. Paris is, without a doubt, the birthplace of many an artistic movement, including Impressionism and Cubism, which have shaped the global art scene.

The city’s fashion scene is equally influential; Paris is widely recognised as the world’s fashion capital, hosting prestigious events like Paris Fashion Week. The city is home to globally acclaimed fashion houses such as Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton, as well as countless boutiques and vintage stores. Parisians have a distinct, effortlessly elegant style that sets them apart and influences global fashion trends.

Apart from art and fashion, Parisian culture is profoundly shaped by its culinary heritage. The city is synonymous with culinary excellence, boasting a multitude of Michelin-starred restaurants, charming cafés, and patisseries. French cuisine, known for its quality ingredients and skilled preparation, plays a significant role in social gatherings and daily life in Paris. In addition, the city’s music scene, particularly jazz and classical music, adds another layer to its rich cultural landscape.

Food and drink in the city of Paris

Paris is a gastronomic paradise, a city world-renowned for its exceptional culinary scene. The city’s bistros and brasseries serve quintessential French dishes such as escargot (snails), coq au vin (chicken in wine sauce), and the famed croissant, each dish a testament to the city’s rich culinary heritage. Michelin-starred establishments, helmed by renowned chefs, offer gourmet experiences that embrace innovation while honouring tradition. Parisian patisseries, with their spectacular array of pastries and sweets, are destinations unto themselves, offering delights such as macarons, éclairs, and the quintessential Paris-Brest.

Moreover, Paris is synonymous with exceptional wine. The city’s wine bars and caves à vin offer a wide variety of French wines, from the lush vineyards of Bordeaux to the crisp white wines of the Loire Valley. The French passion for wine is evident in the city’s rigorous sommelier courses and the annual Beaujolais Nouveau celebration. Paris also boasts a vibrant café culture, with charming cafés dotting its streets, where Parisians sip their café crème or noisette while watching the world go by.

Street food in Paris provides yet another gastronomic delight. Crepe stands are a common sight, flipping out thin pancakes filled with anything from Nutella to ham and cheese. The falafel vendors of the Marais district are a testament to Paris’s multicultural culinary scene. Overall, the food and drink in Paris are a heady mix of tradition and innovation, making it a must-visit destination for any food lover.

Getting around in Paris

Paris boasts an efficient and comprehensive public transportation system, making it convenient to navigate the city. The Paris Metro, operated by the RATP, is the city’s primary transportation network, with 16 lines crisscrossing the city and its suburbs. Running from early morning till late at night, the Metro stations are typically within a 500-metre radius in the city centre, making it a quick and convenient way to get around.

Aside from the Metro, the city has an extensive bus network that offers a more scenic way to travel. The Noctilien night bus service operates when the Metro is closed, ensuring transportation is available throughout the day. Tramways also serve the city’s outer districts and suburbs. For those who prefer a more active form of transportation, the Vélib’ bike-sharing programme offers thousands of bicycles for rent across the city, a popular choice for both locals and tourists.

For water-based travel, the Batobus river shuttle service operates along the River Seine, stopping at several key tourist destinations. And while taxis are readily available, they can be expensive, and traffic in Paris can be heavy, particularly during peak hours. Regardless of your preferred mode of transportation, getting around Paris is relatively straightforward, with various options available to suit different needs and preferences.

Practical information about the city of Paris

When planning a trip to Paris, it’s important to consider the best time to visit. Generally, spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are ideal seasons due to pleasant weather and fewer tourists. However, Paris is truly a city for all seasons, with each bringing its own charm and array of events. If you’re travelling on a budget, consider visiting during the off-peak season (November to April), excluding Christmas and New Year, when hotel rates are lower.

Currency in Paris is the Euro (€). Credit cards are widely accepted in most places, but it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments or tipping. In terms of language, while French is the official language, English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, restaurants, and hotels.

Safety-wise, Paris is generally a safe city. However, like any major city, it’s important to stay vigilant, especially in crowded tourist spots where pickpocketing can occur. Regarding healthcare, pharmacies are widely available, and hospitals provide excellent medical care. Should you need immediate medical attention, dial 112 for emergency services. Similarly, if you require police assistance, you can dial 17. Preparing these practicalities will ensure your visit to the city of lights runs smoothly.


To sum up, Paris is a city that effortlessly blends historic charm with modern sophistication. Its vibrant cultural scene, defined by world-class museums, high fashion, and a rich music tradition, never fails to captivate.

Food enthusiasts will be delighted by Paris’s diverse culinary offerings, from Michelin-starred restaurants and delightful patisseries to street food stalls. Navigating the city is a breeze, thanks to its efficient public transportation system. Although consideration must be given to the best time to visit, currency, language, safety, and healthcare, these aspects are well catered for in this wonderful city. No matter where your interests lie, a visit to the City of Lights promises an unforgettable experience.