The city of lights is every romantic’s dream. A cruise on the river Seine, dinner at Le Cinq, a stolen kiss atop the Eiffel – every notion of romance is indulged in this unforgettable place. Paris is c’est magnifique! And if you’re like me, you can’t help but be swept away by the very idea of the city, its fashion, food, art and architecture. Join me as we serenade through this city of love.
You’ll find Paris to be remarkably planned with wide tree lined avenues running to the heart of the city. The architecture is designed harmoniously throughout and there no high rises here. And no matter where you are in the city you’ll come across an iconic building or monument. The Eiffel makes unexpected appearances throughout Paris! So unique don’t you think?
A labour of love: Discovering Paris
I spent 10 days in France, the first half of which was in Paris and the rest in the French Riviera. If Paris was a quiet dinner then the Côte d’Azur was a boisterous party. The French Riviera post will follow but now onto Paree. Exploring the city is a delight as it’s very well connected, walkable and easy to read on the map.
The Eiffel Tower:
It is something else to see it in all its grandeur. It is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and a symbol for the city of love. If you want to experience it fully, visit it in the daytime and do so again at night to get an awe-inspiring view of the Paris skyline. Stellar views above and below, cheer abounds too. Enjoy a gelato; revisit your childhood with a cotton candy or two, in the many stalls there. And don’t forget to take a few spins in an old fashioned carousel, against the backdrop of the Eiffel. For me this is how I believe memories should be made.
It has something in common with the Eiffel tower, in it that they were both controversial when being built. However, they have proved their lasting power and in that have become the city’s most iconic landmarks. It’ll take many visits to take in this titan of a museum. Even if you’re pressed for time I would suggest keeping at least a day aside and reading up before, so you know which works of art you don’t want to miss. Talking about the Louvre you can’t forget its most famous resident, the Mona Lisa, which is a must-see in many people’s books but for me these are my favourites:
- Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love Psyché ranimée par le baiser de l’Amour (Psyche revived by the kiss of Love). Antonio Canova. 1793.
- Death of the Virgin. By Caravaggio. 1601-1605/1606.
- Bacchus by Leonardo da Vinci.
- Winged Victory of Samothrace (190 BC, Ancient Greece), Great Sphinx of Tanis (Old Kingdom, 2600 BC, Old Kingdom).
- Napoleon III Apartments, 1852-57 Gilded and stuccoed second empire interiors at their most lavish. You’ll find them on the first floor of the Louvre, Richlieu rooms 83-89.
Arc de Triomphe:
Napoleon commissioned this captivating monument but he never lived to see it completed. It is a beautiful tribute to the past. You’ll find that the observation deck from up here offers some of the most spectacular views of Paris.
Notre Dame Cathedral:
It is an impressive piece of Gothic architecture and was the inspiration for Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Climb to the top! And don’t forget to buy your – skip the line ticket.
For the lovers of theater and architecture.
Book the ticket in advance and catch the show of a lifetime. The shows are resplendent with breathtaking acrobats, surreal sets and costumes.
Seine River Cruise:
There are so many ways to discover Paris, this is one of them that you shouldn’t miss.
Theme parks, film studios and every character from your childhood everywhere – this place is indeed magical. You need a full day to visit, patience to wait in long queues but it’s all worth it. Its amazing setting, will take you back in time to when you were a child.
As a travel blogger I’d like to fully emerge myself in the city I am in. And that is best done walking, this words hold true even more so in Paris. From the luxurious boulevards of the right bank of the Seine River – to the medieval alleys on the left bank, she lets you in on her secrets with every step. I loved exploring Champs-Élysées, Rue de La Huchette, Rue du Chat qui pêche and the avenue Winston Churchill.
Love builds bridges and the bridges of Paris are testament to that. Those ubiquitous locks on these bridges are so Parisian and lovely. It is special in that, lovers from all over have pledged their love here. When I chanced upon them, I was deeply touched seeing their hopes and dreams.
Tête-à-Tête with Jam
Even in August many larger brasseries, and restaurants in all categories, remain open. I visited the Four Seasons and simply adored it. It has the most remarkable flower display from its legendary artistic director, Jeff Leatham. The grandeur is impeccable in its interior, design and furniture. And to experience its top service, do drop in for a drink at La Galerie Lounge or for dinner at Le Cinq for the authentic French cuisine experience.
French food is, pardon the cliché – divine. And the portions – just right. Here’s a little palette guide when in the capital:
For seafood lovers, Paris is a great place to try moule frites (mussels), oysters, sea snails and other delicacies. If you fancy meat, you have specialties like venison and duck. For a light meal the Soupe à l’oignon (soup made of onion and beef stock) is hearty and delicious.
For a quick bite look out for bakeries – they are the best. Oui, oui, oui! They smell so enticing, they look so quaint – I could go on and on. And don’t forget to try their desserts like macaroons, chocolate soufflé, eclairs – so yummy and they look so good!
Before au revoir:
Read up before you head there, so you don’t waste time on that. And instead you can spend it outdoors in true Parisian style. Stay connected with INSIDR.PARIS (I have a blog post on this already) HERE. Paris cafes are a must, get one of those single tables outside and enjoy people watching. Use hop-on and hop-off, they are useful.
Over the ages Paris has been described as historic, stylish, slightly disheveled, artistic – everything that makes it so rare and charming in my book. And as I end this chapter, I raise a glass to those who have loved her, old and new.
Air France experience:
Had a tiny bad experience in this otherwise flawless trip. Air France lost my luggage in transit but found it and returned it to me after a few days. In the meanwhile, they reimbursed me for some shopping I did while awaiting my luggage.