For me, the new year is set to bring European travel and I am fortunate enough to be in the planning stages of one or two trips, with a return to some of my favourite cities guaranteed. One of them will be Paris, a city that tops the wish list of many travellers who are yet to visit, and a cherished destination for those who have. Its beauty doesn’t only lie in its Avante-Garde museums, iconic monuments and dreamlike castles, but also in its busy neighbourhoods and buzzing sidewalk cafés, colourful street markets and hidden historical treasures. So, when you think of exploring true Paris, think of all the classic must-dos but also don’t make the mistake of overlooking some of these lesser-known gems.
Here is how to fall in love with Paris. Things to do in the city of light and romance.
Visit the Eiffel tower for a view to remember
When in Paris, you simply have to visit the Eiffel tower, take a walk towards it, stand beneath it and climb up to it’s top. You’ll then know why it has been the ultimate setting for movies to be shot at and for wedding proposals for decades. But if you’re looking for a more beautiful view of the tower with a little bit of landscape in it, head instead to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the Montparnasse Tower, or climb the Tour Saint Jacques. You’re guaranteed to get some breathtaking views, ones you’ll never forget.
Explore the Parisian Museums where art meets culture
Paris is not just for the lovebirds. It’s also a haven for the connoisseurs of art and culture. Here the old stands amidst the new and the contemporary flourishes alongside the classics. Visit the magnificent Louvre Museum where you can find masterpieces by world-famous artists like Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt. If that isn’t enough, head to the smaller museums like Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée Marmottan, and the Musée Rodin to see some equally ethereal paintings and crafts. Some of the other museums also bring fine culture and art together in more intimate and relaxed gallery settings.
Take a River Cruise
The city of lights looks the most beautiful from a cruise on the river Seine, as you pass through all the top attractions of the city. Enjoy a ride full of little adventures as you glide from under the bridges, taste the best of wines and take in the views of Paris’s greatest monuments. It’s even more exciting in the evenings when the lamplit bridges, surreal reflections and picturesque architectural heritage are lit up. It just can’t get more romantic than this.
Shop at the street markets of Marais
Sometimes the simplest things in life give us the biggest pleasures, just like hopping on some of the best Paris Taxis like Piyo Cab and Top Paris Transfer and heading down to a local neighbourhood. Although Paris is known to be at the forefront of global trends, haute couture, and those high-end busy fashion boulevards, the best authentic designer and unique fashion can be found in the markets of Marais. Simply stroll through its streets to shop like the locals and discover some uber-hip stores, quirky homeware shops, art boutiques, vintage shops and atmospheric bookshops.
Brunch on Sundays, just like Parisians
Paris is not just a shopper’s paradise, it’s also a foodie’s delight. Here you find it all, from laid-back bistros serving delicious dinners to triple-Michelin-starred kitchens bringing you exquisite dishes. But I recommend a Sunday brunch, Parisian style. Whatever you have, don’t forget to strike a balance between the sweet and savoury elements. Some of the must-haves here include mouth-watering crepes, pastries, croissants and the ultimate one – hot chocolate from Angelina.
Explore History; from Catacombs to Cemeteries
Are you as intrigued as I am by the history of the places you visit? Do you like going back in time and witnessing the realities of a world that existed before us? If yes, then the experience at the Catacombs and cemeteries of Paris is something you should consider. It’s extremely thrilling as it brings back the darker mysteries of the city and its glorious past. It’s advisable to take the audio guides and tour guides along with you if you wish to visit these places.
There are also a few other things to do when you’re in Paris, including a visit to the world-famous Notre-Dame Cathedral, going for serene walks in the Luxembourg gardens or attending the opera at the Palais Garnier. There’s no way you’ll get to do it all because the list just goes on and on. Here’s the best thing to do, do your own research, plan your own itinerary and finally, follow your heart to see the city you always heard so much about.
Hopefully, this post will inspire you to add Paris to your 2018 travel list. I know I’m adding it to mine.
NOTE: All photographs sourced.