Discovering the City of Light and making it your own has always been the most compelling reason to visit Paris. If you're a first-timer, everything, of course, will be new to you. If you've been away for a while, expect changes: Taxi drivers may no longer correct your fractured French but address you in English -- tantamount to a revolution. More Parisians have a rudimentary knowledge of the language, and France, at least at first glance, seems less xenophobic than in past years. Paris, aware of its role within a united Europe, is an international city. Parisians are attracted to foreign music, videos, and films, especially those from America.
Though Paris is in flux culturally and socially, it lures travelers for the same reasons it always has. You'll still find classic sights like the Tour Eiffel, Notre-Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur, and all those atmospheric cafes, as well as daringly futuristic projects like the Grande Arche de La Défense, the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, the Cité de la Musique, and the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand. And don't forget the parks, gardens, and squares; the Champs-Elysées and other grand boulevards; and the river Seine and its quays. Paris's beauty is still overwhelming, especially at night, when it truly is the City of Light.