Downtown Cairo is the commercial heart of the modern city of Cairo. In addition to hosting the Egyptian Museum, Downtown is the convenient location of many smaller hotels, retail outlets, travel agencies and restaurants. Its central location makes it a natural "jumping off point" for exploration of the city.
Downtown Cairo's wide boulevards and streets were laid out in the late 19th century on the orders of Ismail the Magnificent, the Paris of Baron Hausmann being the obvious model for a ruler wishing to Europeanise his capital and his country. The architecture of many buildings is clearly redolent of Paris in the 1870s, if now somewhat run down from neglect and dusty from the Cairene climate.