L. Golender, Paris, 2003
Parts of Paris, of course, don't sit easily in either category. Montmartre, rising up to the north of the centre, has managed to retain a village-like, almost rural atmosphere with its colourful mixture of locals and artists despite the daily influx of tourists. Undisturbed by tourism, the dilapidated working-class quarters of eastern Paris offer a rich ethnic slice of Parisian street life and in direct contrast, technological wonder is paraded at the ground-breaking science museum constructed in the recently renovated Parc de La Villette. If you're planning to visit any museums, it's worth knowing that many have reduced fees for under-25s, are often free for children and reduce their fees by up to half on Sunday. They are often closed on Mondays or Tuesdays and, if you plan to see more than a few during your stay, it's a good idea to invest in a museum pass (one day F80, three consecutive days F160, five consecutive days F240). You can get them from participating museums, some tourist offices, the larger metro stations and FNAC ticket offices (there's one in Les Halles) and they'll certainly encourage you to be more adventurous with the vast choice of museums and monuments in Paris.
Like most Parisians, you may find there's enough in Paris to keep you from ever thinking about the world beyond. However, like any large city, Paris can get claustrophobic, and if it does there are one or two places in the countryside around that are worth making the trip out for. The most visited of these is undoubtedly Versailles, the most hyped currently Disneyland Paris, and the most rewarding is without question the cathedral at Chartres.