“Paris is always a good idea” Audrey Hepburn
I couldn’t agree more! So, last summer, planning for the Europe trip, Paris was my top pick. Holidaying in a city like Paris might sound too dramatic and chaotic for those wanting a slow countryside vacation but it’s a must to experience this celebrated city. Paris has a timeless charm to it, the city synonymous with love, fashion, food, art and architecture left me starry eyed.
I was in Paris in June, busy summer time with travellers thronging from across the globe and that year was Euro cup! Paris being a host for a few matches, the city seemed to be in high spirits literally with an unparalleled excitement and contagious energy seen on the streets. Glad to be visiting that time, it made my Paris experience memorable.
So, here goes some of my recommendations in no particular order to truly experience this French capital.
I am always attracted towards water bodies be it lakes, river or oceans alike and if you are too this makes for an ideal site. There is a sense of calm that I feel as I gaze at the water under clear blue skies. Seine flows through the city and pretty much everything surrounds this river. You will see as many as 32 bridges on the river across the city and each one more impressive than the other. Some of these bridges are hubs for artists and painters. There are river cruises both during day and night which are very popular with tourists. The bridges are also a great spot to watch the boats and marvel the city architecture around you. I skipped taking the cruise and preferred to just walk along the river bank on a quiet evening with a glass of wine.
If you plan to walk, evening is a perfect time as the sun goes down. It gets quieter, less tourists making it a serene experience.
One of the most monumental structure that defines the essence of Paris. Not a fan of museums? Don’t worry this is no ordinary museum – known to be one of the largest in the world, Louvre totally deserves that one trip when in Paris. While the highlight remains to be Mona Lisa, you must see Louvre beyond Mona Lisa, some spectacular sculptures will leave you amazed. Dedicate a day for Louvre, if not possible then half a day will definitely be needed as it is huge. I spent almost a day in there and since it was raining, the time was fantastic to be indoors. The long walk inside never seemed painful as I looked at ancient art collections from Egypt, Greek, Rome to Islam.
Being a popular destination, you will find long lines to enter. To avoid the rush come in early morning or late evening for some pleasant night time views of the glass canopy that covers the courtyard.
A popular sacred destination of Paris, I was told that this sees more tourists than the Eiffel tour. This magnificent cathedral left me in awe as I stood there waiting in line admiring the Gothic French architecture. As much touristy as it may sound, you must visit Notre dame for its sheer grandeur. There is a rich history behind this cathedral and it is also an active church. When inside, look around at the beautiful stained-glass windows and the old sculptures. It is photographers delight wherever permitted inside and you will find it difficult to stop clicking.
Jardin du Luxembourg, the beautiful French gardens are a complete delight. Initially, this did not fall into my itinerary but I happen to be sitting at a café in Latin Quarter and was told to visit. I am glad I did even though it was raining and cold and had to walk for a bit. It has a beautiful setting, the lush greens, the colors of the flowers, the fountains will leave you enchanted. Unfortunately, we could not stay for long due to the rains but you can have a true French experience by sitting there with a glass of wine.
This was one of the places that was not crowded but seemed like a destination that could attract a lot of people on a clear sunny day.
One of the most colourful and bustling neighbourhood in the city, known to be a working paradise for artists like Picasso. I explored the cobbled streets on foot, it has a collection of upscale cafes and shops that exudes the old village French charm. Do stop by for a fine glass of wine and soak up the authentic experience. I also took the uphill walk to the Basilica, it gives you a fantastic view of the city.
Spend some quality time here, look around, explore, walk along, you will find streets filled with colourful artists stalls, relish this rural neighbourhood.
I don’t think the trip to the city is complete without going for one of the greatest shows of France. Moulin Rouge is a dazzling spectacle of dance, drama and music. The cabaret color, performances, ambience will blow you off your feet. Though, it’s an expensive proposition, but I felt it to be worth it for a unique experience. There are options such as dinner and drinks or just a bottle of champagne at your table or simply sit and enjoy. Tables are on a sharing basis, in case you are happy to indulge book yourself for an exclusive seating. I shared a table with fellow Asians and it made for some interesting conversations over champagne. Photography was forbidden here, so got nothing to showcase.
Book the tickets online to save yourself from standing in the long lines and wear jackets and tie, formal dressing for entry.
This iconic structure is mostly visible from a large part of the city and is the most popular destination. It’s a huge iron tower and I kind of cracked my neck trying to look up. Needless, to say the place was packed with people. There are restaurants and viewpoints if you decide to go up the tower, we skipped it owing to the rush and instead decided to just walk around nearby streets. Check this out since it is the symbol of Paris, but there are more enchanting experiences the city has to offer.
Visit Eiffel at night, looks beautiful when lit up.