This sentence definitely captures everything about Paris, for indeed stepping inside would immeasurably enrich your life. It is a feast for all the senses and is sure to remain a part of you, no matter where you are.
Paris is fashion, history, art and culture rolled together in one. This city may be famous for being romantic and for its wealth of art treasures; but the greatest work of art is the city itself.
As Paris is a top destination, finding a flight is easy. The question should be “when to go?” You do not want to be there in the summer when it is full of tourist and everything is even more expensive than how it already is; and not in the winter when weather will not allow you to enjoy the sights. I personally suggest you go sometime in September when the city of lights comes to life again after summer vacation mode. With the tourist season winding down, air and hotel fares take a dip, and the weather is just right.
What to expect
My first and most important tip to enjoy the Parisian cobbled streets is wear comfortable shoes. Never sacrifice comfort over fashion and remember, Paris is a city made for walking. You’ll be on your feet more than you can imagine – it is not a place to break in new stilettos.
There is so much to see and do in Paris, so it is best to plan your itinerary well. With your days agenda in place, getting around would be a breeze using the Metro. Go get yourself a ‘week pass’ (or more depending on your length of stay), which will give you unlimited access this efficient mode of transport. This will save you from lining up for single journey tickets and costs less too. Just don’t get stranded after the Metro has closed; late-night taxis can be very hard to find.
Paris is one of the most sophisticated cities I have ever traveled to. French women of all ages know the art of dressing elegantly. So if you want to blend in, you will have to dress up. Don’t over pack with too many outfits. Bring basics that you can mix and match. Accessorize with necklaces, earrings and scarves. Have fun and make a statement.
The city of Paris is known for having many pickpockets in tourist areas and on the metro. Beware of people trying to get your attention unnecessarily. Find a purse that’s large enough to hold your wallet, passport, camera, and travel-sized umbrella without the purse being too big and feeling too heavy. Just be sure to guard your purse carefully – by exercising caution, you won’t have any problems.
Must See and Do
First stop, the Eiffel Tower. Pride of Paris, France, La Tour Eiffel is one of the best known monuments in the world. Feel the privilege of being one of the seven million visitors who throng to the tower each year. Conquer your fear of heights by taking on the challenge of going to the top where you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city. And after you’ve captured your most beautiful Parisian memory, come down and watch as the Eiffel tower lights up the night sky
Experience how the French kings and queens lived at the Chateau de Versailles – the official residence of the Kings of France from 1682 until 1790. Carry along an audio guide and learn about French history as you walk along the palace corridors to her majesty’s private quarters, the hall of mirrors and picturesque gardens. This castle is simply a work of art! My personal favorite is Marie Antoinette’s lovely house in the village specially built for her inside Versailles.
Take a stroll at the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, known as one of the world’s most famous and expensive streets – from the east at the Place de la Concorde in the east (one of the major public squares in Paris), towards the Arc de Triomphe (the famous monument honoring those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars). Don’t forget to have your picture taken in what is touted as the most beautiful avenue of the world.
When in Paris, you also must enjoy your drink otherwise known as aperitif set against gorgeous backdrops – an aperitif with a view! Hop aboard a riverboat and enjoy a lunch cruise along the river Seine. During the cruise you will be able to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, the Institut de France, the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris City Hall, the Conciergerie, the Statue of Liberty, the French National Library, and many more Paris landmarks.
Fall in love with Paris’ architectural wonders. Step back in time when you visit gothic, medieval, baroque, byzantine influenced churches and cathedrals that stand today as breathtaking testimonials to a complex heritage of Christianity that dominated in Paris from the fall of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution. We went to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, La Sainte-Chapelle, Church of Saint-Sulpice, L’église de la Madeleine – all equally breathtaking.
One more place you should not miss is the Paris Opera House also called The Palais Garnier. Like the Notre Dame cathedral, Louvre, Sacré Coeur basilica, The Palais Garnier is a symbol of Paris. It is also the setting for Gaston Leroux’s 1911 novel The Phantom of the Opera. Simply being inside the opera house and seeing the beauty of its interior is a memorable experience on its own.
Finally, have a super night out beginning with a delicious dinner before settling down to enjoy an extraordinary musical masterpiece at the Moulin Rouge. “Féerie” is a spellbinding show that brings together a troupe of a hundred artists including 60 Doris Girls that are recruited worldwide. The show also has about a thousand costumes all adorned with feathers, sequins and glitter – French cabaret at its finest!
For sure, souvenir shopping is on your list. Food always makes a great gift and Paris has no shortage of gourmet shops to find yummy treasures. Try French macarons, pastries and our favorite soussou (similar to chorizo).
You can go shop at department stores like Galleries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché or even Carrefour. If vintage art or books are more your style, shop at the bouquinistes – the large green stalls that line the walls on both banks of the Seine, near the city center.
Traveling is an exciting experience. You enrich your mind and soul… and your life as a whole because you widen your understanding about the world and the people that surround you. So whenever you get the chance, go ahead! There’s a big big universe waiting to be discovered.
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