a dome of gold at the end
Serendipitous light on a September afternoon--a rainbow arcing over the Eiffel Tower and ending at the gold dome of L'Église des Invalides in central Paris. (Under that dome, emperor worship continues--Napoléon I lies buried in a crypt in the church's floor; to see it you must bow your head.) I had only been in Paris a few days when I went around the corner from where I was staying to buy a few groceries one rainy afternoon. As I walked back, though, I caught a glimpse of the clearing sky in between the buildings--a glimpse of the rainbow. I ran up the six flights of stairs with my shopping bags and then flung open my window just in time to get this view: 'my' Paris.
By Joseph Cyr, AFAR Local Expert
Modern graffiti meets an old door on a street in St Paul.
By Lara Dalinsky, AFAR Local Expert
There's no where like Paris for delicious goat cheese and fig jam.
By Allison Murray, AFAR Contributor
5000 riders started the 2007 PBP. Plagued by bad weather on top of the customary challenges of distance and sleep deprivation, 1200 failed to finish. I finished the Paris Brest in just under the time limit. Another hallmark of randonneuring is that no prizes are given out to the fastest. it is simply enough to finish. I have many other stories to tell ... ones that may or may not include photos. You can read more at (http://cris.livejournal.com/tag/paris). All of the other randonneuring stories are at (http://cris.livejournal.com/tag/brevets)
Paris France Too much noise
The street fare in Paris near Montmartre was in full swing. Looking up away from the loud music I caught a glimpse of this long time resident, silently voicing her displeasure with the event. She diapered the moment after I got the picture.
We have all had those off moments or days. The scowl on the face of this Parisian Waiter was perfect. Near Notre dam he was tired of the tourists and it just reflected his mood of spoke to us of so much more.
Naughty Window Display - Paris, France
Where else but Paris would this naughty toy display be shown next to shelves of kids toys as well. I love this as people who view this ask me right off, "Is this Paris?" The city is still magical and simply splendid, a joy to be in and experience.
Walking and Wining
Paris in the Fall is heaven. Paris in the fall during the Beaujolais Nouveau season is REALLY heaven.
Art and artists are all around you.
Trapped in Paris with only a Hasselblad (an old medium format film camera) and it began to snow.
Rue du Cloitre Notre Dame
a shovel waiting where it began to fall
There must be a genius thinking about something.
Not Exactly A Highlight
One of the less appealing things about Paris is the shockingly common problem of public urination. After three weeks there we, sadly, became accustomed to seeing men urinating against walls (day and night). In an attempt to reduce this activity the city has installed these anti-urination poles which keep men from getting close to the building (and assumedly being less obvious). The ground is sloped to ensure that one will provide themselves with an unwanted shower.
Nothing is as calming or colorful as enjoying the standard wine, bread and cheese pairing at any given corner cafe in fabulous Paris. There is definitely a fog-like energy of love hovering in the air. Love, Paris.
After more than 20 years without riding a wooden horse, I decided to accept my gf invitation. I had forgotten how amazing it was riding a carousel!! It's very easy to have fun, isn't it?
I sometimes do these little photo projects or “photo safaris” if you will. While in Paris I kept noticing all these brilliantly colored and textured doorways that really caught my eye. I started shooting everyone I saw and came up with a bit of a theme of doorways. I had a few interspersed in my previous post about Paris – but I singled out a few other ones and here they are – just a few. I encourage everyone to do this type of mini project – it helps see the world in new ways and thread together commonalities as well as appreciate differences.
By Tara Sharma
Le Grand Magasin
Paris is full of beauty. But shopping plus a beautiful building? Yes, please. (It just feels right purchasing Dior in Paris, doesn't it??) This building had balconies like an old opera house and a stunning glass dome that just makes your jaw drop (so did the prices....yyeeooowww!)
By Zoa Nielsen
The only way to experience Paris is on foot...walking through the streets, you can see how different life is, loved walking past all the bakeries, fruit markets and cheese shops. Just amazing!
Love, Lock and throw the key
Walking on my birthday, we stumbled upon the love/lock bridge...what a beautiful memory...I still carry one of the keys on my key chain. Maybe I will go back some day and open up the lock!
Vin chaud and roasted chestnuts
We visited Paris in Novemeber and stayed on Rue di rivoli. There was a fair on the streets with lots of vendors selling vin chaud or hot wine, food and lots of roasted chestnuts. The evenings were cool but the warm chestnuts with the hot spiced wine was enough to keep us warm. This was an experience I will not soon forget!
Words and pictures cannot describe the masssiveness of this gorgeous structure. I have so many pictures of it! Everyone must go to the top and have a glass of champagne from the bar while enjoying the sites. Breathtaking! Oh and it twinkles every hour........ :)
Tie dyed roses
Most gorgeous roses in the world!
Getting around in Paris
When my plane landed finally at the Charles de Gaulle airport, I really didn’t know what to expect. Ever since I was little, Paris had always been the one place I had always dreamed about visiting. I'd close my eyes at night and imagine myself walking the dark Parisian streets at night, making myself warm with a cup of coffee in the cold and crisp Paris air. For the past few years now I had felt like I related to the literary character 'Madame Bovary’, only in the sense that like Emma Bovary, I too craved going to Paris. My holy grail, Paris, was not finally under my feet (technically the plane) and for the first time ever my mind was utterly blank as to what I would do once in Paris, even though I had already prepared and revised a complete list with even minor details regarding all the places I'd visit in Paris. As soon as I got out of the plane the first thing I noticed was that even the air was quite different than what I was accustomed to and even the very people that were my travel companions, suddenly seemed very exotic and foreign to me. In my star-struck planning for Paris I had completely forgotten to plan how I would travel in the city. Instead of renting out a fancy car from an agency, I decided to get the complete feel of the city and hailed an airport taxi. Not only was the ride enthralling but due to the fact that the airport taxi driver was a local, he ended up showing me places which didn’t show up on google and weren’t even famous. I felt like these less crowded and hidden street cafes were what actually truly reflected the true essence of Paris. With my experience with the airport taxi, I decided to travel around the city using public transportation. Not only did that help me in seeing places that were extremely beautiful despite being unsubstantial, but using public transportation also helped me in visiting all the famous places that I had always imagined going to like the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame de Paris, The Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. The driver of my airport taxi later on stayed in touch with me during my stay in the city and he helped me with a few of his friends, in truly and wonderfully enjoying Paris, as it truly is. Using public transportation also helped me in meeting some of the most amazing Parisian people. I now think that if I stayed in a fancy hotel and travelled by uber throughout my stay in the city I would never have been able to enjoy Paris as much as I did. Using public transportation like most other Parisians do, made Paris seem real and alive to me. I’m sure that even if I travelled the city on my own I still would have enjoyed, but meeting those few people that I did and using public transportation is what added life and beauty to my trip.
By AFAR Traveler
Trésors de Paris- Unique Souvenirs from Paris
If you are looking for unique souvenirs from Paris, made in France created by young emerging artists and designers, you will love Trésors de Paris curated boxes. Trésors de Paris boxes are hand-picked and carefully curated by the La Vie Locale team. Inside, you will find unique, local products that are Made in Paris that showcase the wide ranging local brands, artists and creatives here. Box contents: 1 Black and White Film photography print shot by La Vie Locale or other Paris based Photographers 1 Product from a local brand 1 Surprise gift
By Maya Dorsey
Cook'N with Class in Paris
There is nothing better than taking a cooking class from all places but in Paris. In my recent visit to Paris, I was invited to participate in a market cooking class. We went shopping for the ingredients in a local outdoor market and then got back to the school to cook everything. For someone who hardly cooks in her tiny NY apartment, this experience was a great one. If you are visiting Paris, don't skip Cooking With Class More images in the link attached
By Sivan Askayo, AFAR Local Expert
Food Market in Montmartre
Yes I know. This little piggy looks cute and for some he might look cuter on their plate. I was part of a cooking class in Paris and this photo was taken in a morning market stroll in one of Montmartre's outdoor markets. Check out Cook'N with Class in Paris
By Sivan Askayo, AFAR Local Expert
Postcard From Paris
I never get tired of Paris. And I'm certain I'll live there someday. Until then, I'll have to be satisfied with frequent visits and images of the most beautiful city in the world. I love to stroll along the Seine and brows the green lockers of the booksellers, "les bouquanistes," who sell antique books, souvenirs, and yes, these lovely black and white postcards. I heart Paris!
By Kimberley Lovato, AFAR Local Expert
The Latin Quarter
The Latin Quarter aka Foodie Paradise is located in the heart of Paris right near the Seine. Strolling through the narrow Parisian streets you can find just about any ethnicity of food or pastry your happy little heart desires. Food is good basically everywhere in Paris, but for the most diversity I'd head here. Try the coconut macaroons you'll likely see passing a bakery window-they are amazing!...
By Alyssa Jean Laird, AFAR Local Expert
The best crepes in Paris
Paris is just a short train ride away from London, so we hop over to Paris almost every month. We've had our fair share of soggy crepes or bog standard crepes smothered with Nutella (because Nutella makes everything ok doesn't it?!). But it was this year that we discovered crepe heaven aka Rue de Montparnasse. A Parisian friend first told us about this street is lined with authentic French creperies. La Petit Josselin is the most famous one, so expect a queue. However our favourite one is La Creperie Bretonne, a tiny creperie close to La Petit Josselin. Their savoury crepes and buckwheat galettes are scrumptious but it is the crêpe au caramel au beurre salé (salted butter caramel crepe), which is irresistible. It'll make you want to dance, serious!!
By Savi and Vid, AFAR Local Expert
Cheers to first times
My very first time trying escargot, a delicacy in Europe, and I am embarrassed to say that everyone in the restaurant were cheering on our entire table as we one-by-one tried this garlic experience for our very first times. Such entertainment for everyone else that even the amazing waiters brought us jugs of water with smiles (getting a waiter in France to smile is something to definitely get bragging rights for). If you ever find yourself in the Latin quarter of Paris, across the river from Notre Dame and right down the street from Shakespeare & Co. this quaint delicious outside restaurant will not disappoint. Bon appetite!
The Real Hot Chocolate - Paris, France
I ordered a cup of hot chocolate in Paris and waited...waited...with an empty cup in front of me about 8-10 minutes. The waitress brought out a hot kettle (the old fashion kind), and pour the thick chocolate into my cup. After the first sip, I realized that why it took so long to make - it's just like a huge chunk of chocolate in liquid form. Very rich. It is a dessert by itself.
By Shan Shan
Paris Bus Stop, Parisian in Pink Shoes
Could not have arranged this photo, perfect spring day, waiting in traffic this woman walks by in her pink shoes! I was inspired to purchase some pink shoes.
Oh, la-la Mandarin Oriental, Paris
PARIS, France -- Located in the heart of one of the world's most beautiful cities, Mandarin Oriental, Paris is the ultimate in luxury. The hotel combines chic modern style with Oriental touches and decor. The hotel lobby bar is one of the most popular places in town during cocktail hour.
By ANN WEEKS
View of Sacre Coeur on our walk
I celebrated my 40th birthday in Paris and we decided to spend the week on foot with no real agenda....it was amazing to walk the streets of Paris. The views were breathtaking. Visiting Sacre Coeur was one of my favorites, people watching and listening to a man playing the violin was priceless...definately my favorite trip ever!
The flowers in Paris are amazing! Stop and buy some...they are so fragrant and pretty!
Raindrops over Paris
If you were to play a word association game with the word Paris, most people would say Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, maybe even the Seine. I would say "raindrops". After spending a month in Paris this past summer and often experiencing the weather change instantly, I learned that the most beautiful things can be the most simple. Watch the raindrops over Paris! Sit at a cafe under an awning with a hot espresso or in the largest window you can find. Watch as the people around you dance through the rain with their patterned and polka-dotted umbrellas. Rain should never be a burden in Paris. Paris makes rain fashionable. Try it. You'll see.
Nighthawk at a Paris cafe
Could it get any more French than this? Solo man sitting at a cafe in Paris, smoking his Gitanes, writing in his journal, accompanied by a taciturn waiter serving him a beer. Classic!
A lock on your heart
We came across a few of these bridges in Paris, covered with locks of all sizes and shapes. Apparently, visitors place them on the fence-like railings, throwing the keys into the Seine, symbolizing their everlasting love for each other. But according to Agnes Poirier, as published in the NY Times, the French are perturbed by this idea of love. True love, according to the French, embraces liberty. My eternal and undying love is for the city itself.
Village on the Country Side
We traveled to a small village for the day, about a 45 minute drive from the city of Paris. The village is famous for the artist that used to frequent the area, like Jean Francois Millet.
An incredible view of the Eiffel Tower
The French, I've heard, regard the Eiffel tower as a monstrosity, that they would rather not have to see everyday, especially if they're in Paris. Up close, the tower is even more raw with its iron lattice work. But this view taken from the top of the Arc Di Triomphe shows a view of the Eiffel Tower that I find soothing! Climb up the Arc Di Triomphe and enjoy the fabulous views. Stay until 10pm and you can see the Eiffel Tower in all its glittering glory when the lights blink on and off.
Catacombs of Paris, Part one
As I was cycling towards Paris, visiting it for the first time, I was thinking about all the things I have to see there. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Élysées, Notre Dame, it was a long list! And then my host added another item to the list - the Catacombs of Paris. Unofficial ones! That sounded forbidden enough for me to agree to a full-day excursion to dark, dank, underground tunnels. We quickly jumped into the tunnel through a manhole in the middle of a street and my host started telling me the history of the catacombs. The catacombs used to be underground quarries in the 18th century. At the end of that century the problem of overcrowded cemeteries came up and the inappropriate placing of dead bodies in churchyards caused the spread of various infectious diseases. So the people decided to remove the bones discretely to the abandoned underground halls. Today, only a small section of the catacombs is open to the public. The rest is strictly forbidden and the French police regularly patrols the halls in search of offenders who pay a fine if they get caught. In spite of that, the unofficial section of the catacombs is very ‘’lively’’. Squeezing through the halls, in some parts so narrow that we had to crawl and in other covered with deep water, I saw a very active subculture that had developed 20 meters beneath Paris. People who go there are called cataphiles.
Catacombs of Paris, Part two
Some halls lead to widenings which have been turned into small rooms, with stone benches and desks and candles placed all around.One of such rooms was converted into a cinema, with movie characters painted all over the walls. You can see Charlie Chaplin, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Dirty Harry and many others. Another one was converted into a library. You can find various books, take them to read and leave your own. However, it is a bit empty now, because humidity has destroyed many books. One spacious section consisting of several rooms is made into ‘’The Beach’’ a place where parties are held every weekend. Although it is impressive, I liked this part the least because of the smell of urine, cigarettes and alcohol. Cataphiles are also inclined to redecorating the catacombs by stone-carving or masonry so in one place they have built a regular little castle. That castle was the end of my sightseeing tour and I have to admit, after a whole day spent underground, I couldn’t wait to get out into the sun. And the bones? Yes, I’ve seen them too. Hundreds, thousands of bones lying in piles on the floor and several skulls arranged on a stone shelf. Allegedly there are bones of several French Revolution leading figures. Whether a leading figure or an ordinary man, seeing their bones cast away, all mixed, exposed for others to touch and destroy them, made me feel anxious and brought up that eternal question - what happens with us when we close our eyes for the last time?’’
Roaming around Paris on a beautiful night
I spent one week in Paris this past May during what was an uncharacteristically wet month. On my last night in Paris, I decided to do a walking tour of the city with Hidden Paris (www.hiddenparis.fr), a lovely up-and-coming tour group started by four very lovely young and vibrant women (I've met three of the four, so I would assume the fourth is also quite nice!). As luck would have it, I was the only person signed up for that evening (it was a Sunday). Nevertheless, my wonderful guide, Servane, and I set off on what turned out to be a fantastic walk around the Notre Dame/Ile de la Cite area of Paris. Servane shared some wonderful, interesting and quirky stories about Paris that you wouldn't get from your typical tour guide and time things absolutely perfectly so that we would end up on the Pont des Arts at 10pm, when the sun was setting and the Eiffel Tower was twinkling in the background. While en route to the bridge, I snapped this picture, which turned out to be one of my favourites from the trip.
By Chrissy S.
“—and it didn’t matter that the sun was burning, that you didn’t know yourself where you’d run to from the village, you’d get all scratched on bushes, tear your dress —you’d be scolded at home afterwards, but that was nothing to me.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky, "Poor People" Steps away from a rendezvous that would change my life and a fleeting love that I will not soon forget.
Friends having an innocent chat? Perhaps. But what about those shoes? And who wore them? Make up your own story in this most enchanting city.
By George R
Paris, the city for all the senses
Even though I have traveled much of the world I still have an affinity for Paris. The history, architecture, public gardens, food, neighborhoods, museums, way of life, language, art, shopping, it's all done on the highest level. To stay in an apartment in Paris and choose your regular pastry shop, bread shop, fruit shop, wine shop, breakfast place, local park, and to take in everything the city has to offer, on a daily basis, it's intoxicating for me. I absolutely love the language. The food is astoundingly good. The art and architecture actually bring me to tears. Their public parks are second to none. Public transportation is efficient and easy. The people are kind, yes, kind. I can spend days visiting the myriad of museums but for me the true joy is visiting neighborhoods and looking at the buildings, the streets, the shops, the little corner gardens/greens, and seeing the daily life that happens. Each one unique and something to savor, like its food and wine. And these are my favorite places, so far: The Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, The Pont Des Arts bridge, The Pantheon, Musee Rodin (all I can say is "hands"), My favorite bridge in the world, the Pont Alexandre III. Le Petit and Le Grande Palais, The bird and flower market on Sundays, Notre Dame, Ile Saint Louis and Ile de la Cite, Invalides and the Musee D'Orsay. I always need Paris! My blog on Paris: http://www.anothergayday.blogspot.com/2008/07/paris.html
Sometimes it pays to look up! We're always in a rush, even when on vacation, as we have The List of what we want to see and sometimes we miss some of the most beautiful things because we don't take the time to look around, or up! One other thing I always tell people when sightseeing whether on vacation or even at home, turn around. It's funny that people will walk down a street, a path, or in a building or place of worship and always look ahead, or to the sides, or even up but never think to turn around and the new perspective might just give you new rewards. So don't always look ahead. Look up and look back, you might just see something completely new!
Paris for insiders: foodie tour of Saint Germain
Paris can be overwhelming if you don't know it. Check out this foodie guide to the city's premier foodie destination Saint Germain, a veritable foodie heaven.
La Grand Epicerie, Parisian gastronomy by LVMH
Stepping into this gastronomy palace in Paris takes your breath away and stops you in your track.
Paris for insiders: foodie tour of Saint Germain Part 2
Any foodie worth their salt knows that Saint Germain is the place to be for foodies in Paris. Check out these highlight from my recent stay in Paris.
Val d'Europe: largest outlet mall in europe
Disney for shoppers, caters to all your shopaholic needs.
What Parisian line up for
Parisians line up for things they consider worthwhile, and do so patiently. Here are their secrets.
A colourful dining experience
In November 2013 I was lucky enough to be asked to work for FOAM Magazine at the Paris Photo Fair, where hundreds of well known and up-and-coming photographers from around the world exhibit their finest imagery. With dreams of one day exhibiting there myself, I thought I'd make a start by creating some work whist I had a bit of spare time to explore the beautiful city and learn about the culture of Paris.
By Karl Child
The Eiffel Tower Experience
In November 2013 I was lucky enough to be asked to work for FOAM Magazine at the Paris Photo Fair, where hundreds of well known and up-and-coming photographers from around the world exhibit their finest imagery. Whist I had a bit of spare time, I thought I'd explore the beautiful city and learn about the culture of Paris. I was lucky enough to have a few days to myself whist staying in the city, so I made the most of my time by visiting the typical tourist places, including the Eiffel Tower. It was my first time visiting Paris and I'd only ever seen the tower in photographs. Even though the gigantic structure was standing there, right in front of me, because of the millions of images available on-line (some which are incredible, others very generic) I couldn't help but find myself more interested in the people visiting, rather than the tower. This image is my representation of the current generation's view on travel. People don't take enough time to really observe and interact with a place. A quick pose in front of that big popular metal thing, stick it on Facebook or twitter to boast to people about where you are, and on you go with your day. It would have been far too easy for me to have turned up and taken my best shot at photographing the tower which will more than likely have been produced previously anyway. Instead, I'm more than happy with my photograph of the tower, even if it is't in the frame.
By Karl Child
Spending a perfect day in Paris
How can you not end up not having a wonderful experience in Paris especially during springtime when I visited this amazing city. There are so many options, neighborhoods and activities to explore and enjoy in Paris, but let me tell you how I ended spending a perfect day in Paris. (At least my version and how I discovered a few favorite things to do in the city of light). http://travelphotodiscovery.com/spending-a-perfect-day-in-paris/
One of the best ways to experience the City of Light is by taking the Metro. Individual tickets are easy to purchase at each station, but if you're planning on being in the city for a few days, the best option is purchasing a five-day pass. The pass costs about 60 Euros, and it covers transportation to de Gaulle Airport and Versailles. Take a ride on the Metro and explore some of Paris' lesser known neighborhoods. Get on and off to gaze at the artwork and design of each station. With over 300 metro stations and 16 colored lines in Paris, there's plenty to see whether it's for an hour or an entire afternoon.
By Joshua Kozak
Paris, the land of cheese...oh yah and that tall thing
Paris! it is magical. Just because people may say it is overrated...it's not. Watching the eiffel tower twinkle in the dark night sky is just as magical as you could imagine it to be. Paris is however, very busy! So make sure you have plenty of time to walk around and get lost. Although the train system is quite easy, it gets very packed like a sardine can so it's not always the best option, walk a few blocks - it's good for you (plus you will likely stumble upon historic landmark one after another.)
I have had this idea of what Paris was like since I was a little kid. Having had an exchange student from Paris live with me for a year, I felt that I had somewhat of an idea of what it must be like. But that was far from the truth. Looking out of the window on my 8 pm flight that Thursday night, I saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up for the first time and it was beautiful. It it something that I have seen so much in movies, TV, replicated in Vegas and more, but nothing sufficed till I got to actually see the real thing with my own eyes. Staying at a hostel nearby, we started off the trip with a classic walking city tour done by Sandeman’s, it was a 3 hour tour that took us around some of the main attractions in Paris. A few that we visited were St. Michel fountain, the Love Lock Bridge, Louvre Museum, and the Tuileries Garden. After the tour we came across the Musee de l’Orangerie and saw the beautiful Water Lilies paintings done by Claude Monet and a few other famous painters works such as Picasso and Matisse. Working up quite an appetite we grabbed a bottle of champagne and some macaroons from the famous Laduree, and trekked over to the Eiffel Tower to see it, this time, up close and personal.The Eiffel Tower, if you are not aware of already, was built in 1889 as the entrance arch for the World Fair. It was only supposed to be up for 20 years until one man (who also happens to be the architect for the tower), Gustave Eiffel, persuaded France to keep it up. It is something I would recommend everyone to see (especially if you are into architecture). It was a fabulous night and one I will not forget. The second day we took the train to the beautiful and historical Versailles and strolled through the gardens and castle just as Marie Antoinette and King Louis XV once did. The gardens were very beautiful but the castle… it was absolutely spectacular! I don’t think I have ever seen such elegance and wealth portrayed in a living quarter in my life. The most sensational rooms of all, for me, was the Hall of Mirrors and Marie’s bedroom. The attention to detail that is used in each room is astounding and nothing you would see now in the 21st century. The third and final day was a sad one at that. After falling hopelessly in love with this breathtaking city, it was time for me to part ways and that was something I just did not want to do. We woke up that morning and went to the local boulangerie for a delicious chocolate croissant and then went on our way to finish the rest of our site-seeing adventures. Starting off our Sunday morning right, we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral and to our surprise there was a service being held. It was pretty amazing to see a traditional mass in such a historical and well known place. After that we wandered to the Louvre and went to visit the Mona Lisa, which personally, was not as fascinating as I expected, but still pretty cool to see. Fun fact about France is that the first Sunday of every month there are no entrance fees to the churches and museums, so you can explore all of them without spending a dime. We ended the night in the famous Montmartre area where we shopped around the streets and tried some delicious local French food. It was an end to another perfect day. Paris was a place that I just did not want to leave, there was something about it that made me feel a sense of curiosity. And from that, I felt like I did not have enough time to really enrich myself in the culture that is Paris. From the history, beauty, lifestyle that many Parisians live, I was so intrigued to explore the city and see firsthand, all these place that I have seen in the movies and heard about in history books. There is so much to do in this magical city and I hope to go back one day soon to finish my amazing adventure.
The Best of Paris in a City Break
To celebrate our ten-year friendship, I headed with my two best high school friends for the city of love, jazz and “la bonheur”: Paris. We had five days and many different interests, but after lots of debate over glasses of wine we managed to make an itinerary that I think would suit any first timer in Paris: we visited all the important landmarks, but also got a taste of the Parisian social life, all in less than five days. So I decided to make a short guide about how to make the most of a short Parisian experience. This a 41 square miles city with more than 15 million international visitors per year, so planning ahead is essential. For some museums, you will need a reservation, especially on weekends. One of the great things about visiting museums of Paris is that you can take a stroll through the history of visual art. Start with the Louvre, which exhibits masterpieces of the Ancient world and art from the medieval era, continue with Musee d’Orangerie, home of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces and then immerse yourself in the art of the 20th and 21st centuries at Centre Pompidou. However, plan one museum a day because all of these are gigantic and you will also spend some time admiring the architecture. After the Louvre, I spend half a day laying on the mattress, enjoying French cheeses and pastries. We were lucky to find a cozy affordable apartment in Montparnasse, a quarter with many small parks, street-corner cafes and a buzzy restaurant and bistro area. Here you can enjoy a coffee at La Rotonde or The Dome, the places where Modigliani and Picasso spent their evenings. Renting an apartment is the best option in Paris; it allows you to save a lot of money while being close to the center. As for eating on a budget, you fill find lunch or supper “formule”, which is a three-course menu with prices varying from 10 to 18 euros. You can also search for museums for specific artists, like Rodin, Salvador Dali, and Picasso. Depending on your interests, opt for the French Cinematheque, the European House of Photography, the former houses of Balzac and Victor Hugo or the Curie Museum. Museums are less crowded in the afternoon, as large organized groups usually arrive in the morning. So it's best to plan strolls at the start of the day or in the evenings. You walk along the Champs Elysee Boulevard and window shop the works of international fashion and automobile designers and arrive the Arc de Triomphe, where you can enjoy one of the best panoramas of the city. You can also take a boat cruise on the Seine to admire its historic bridges and all the fabulous landmarks located on both sides and disembark at the Eiffel Tower. A popular thing among Parisians is to take the lunch break by the riverside or in a local park. Locals love outdoor socializing in the warm season, so grab a bottle of wine and share it with friends near the iron footbridges of Canal St. Martin. This area is close to Marais, the medieval quarter home of the famous Moulin Rouge. Around here you will discover bars and bistros, quirky boutiques and cafés and also thriving nightclubs. If you find the time, walk on the twisted streets of Montmartre and visit the imposing Sacre Coeur cathedral, admire contemporary art in the galleries of Bellville, visit the Notre-Dame or rest in The Luxembourg gardens. Paris is often taken into consideration for romantic trips, but it is also a great place to travel to with a group of friends, as you will find suitable activities to fit the taste of the most demanding of tourists.
By AFAR Traveler
17 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris, France
+33 9 54 52 88 57
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