The City of Light is one of the most visited cities in the world - not suprising when you consider what's packed into its 40 square miles. There are, of course, the world-famous sites that grace millions of postcards: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay. There are its ornate parks and gardens: the Jardin du Luxemboug, the Tuileries, the Jardin des Plantes. There are its tree-lined avenues, Haussmannian buildings, and churches. The Seine divides the city, and its newly pedestrianized banks are lined with cafes, kiosks and gardens.
And for those who wish to explore more deeply, there is a Paris beyond its monuments. It's a city of tucked-away passages, of sudden staircases and views of gray rooftops and chimneys. Of hidden squares, of markets, of bakeries where the pastries are mediocre, but the croissants are spectacular, or vice-versa. There is the one spot on the Pont d'Alma at 7 am in March, where the rising sun is reflected in the river water not yet disturbed by the barges and tourist boats. In short, whether you're here for a one-day conference or a one-year sabbatical, it's worth taking some time to explore.