5 Must Travel Tips for Your Next Paris Vacation
There are different types of vacationers in Paris. Some go go go from one museum to the next, and others wish to relax and take in the Parisian culture. This makes Paris special: it will deliver whatever type of vacation you wish. The City of Light is full of endless activities, sights, cultural events, and of course, my favorite thing, endless amounts of fantastic food and drink. Living in Paris is a dream come true, and I wanted to share a few ways I enjoy the city as a local while also seeing through the eyes of a tourist.
Picnic at your favorite architectural wonder
When you think of France, I hope you think of wine, cheese, and baguettes first and foremost–at least, I do! (Yes, my life revolves around food and drink!) Nothing is more relaxing than grabbing a blanket and choosing your favorite historical landmark for an afternoon chilling on the grass with a loved one and a few Parisian delicacies. No matter where you are staying, there is a street every few blocks where you will find all the necessities for the perfect picnic. I love strolling to the local fromagerie, boulangerie, wine shop, and of course, don’t forget the patisserie to top it all off with some specialty pastries and sweets. My favorite picnic spots are Park Place des Vosges, Le Palais Royal and Park Place des Vosges, Le Palais Royal, and Luxembourg Gardens. With the sights and sounds of Paris around you and the addition of an abundance of delicacies with that particular loved one or family member, you will be relaxing like a Parisian in no time.
Take a day trip
The choice is yours, but I will, of course, try to sway you here. Two things are accomplished on this adventure. One, the number of destinations for a short day trip outside of Paris is endless, and I will list a few of my favorites. But, two, I am encouraging you to take this adventure by train, which is part of the experience. By venturing outside the city, if only for a few hours, you get a glimpse of the countryside, without which no trip to France is complete. There are close choices, such as a 30-minute metro ride away like Versailles and the renowned Château, or destinations like Lyon, a culinary mecca, and the gastronomic capital of France, only 2 hours away. If you have more time to spare, maybe visit the historical region of Normandy, or if time permits, why not picturesque Bordeaux, also only 2 hours away. And, of course, my favorite day trip: a simple 1 hour 15 minute TGV train and you are in the famous Champagne Region of France, one of the most leisurely day trips from Paris. Nicolas Feuillatte is one of my favorites to visit. As magical as Paris is, its surrounding areas are just as enchanting and only a quick train ride away.
Pass the day in a Café
Yep, I am telling you to come to Paris and do nothing, at least for a few hours. Parisians can spend hours relaxing in a café, and I have adapted quite well to this cultural lifestyle. As an American, this was hard to do initially. I would order my roasted chicken and rosé, enjoy my coffee (espresso), look around (only 30 minutes later), and wonder where the waiter was with the check! Nope, that’s not me anymore, and I encourage you to adopt this laissez-faire attitude when in Paris. Maybe a leisurely lunch with a Kir Royale to start before even looking at the menu. Read a few chapters of your murder mystery, chat with your spouse about that fantastic dinner the night before, or have some good laughs while people-watching along the Seine. Bring a crossword puzzle or maybe a deck of cards. Sit back and relax. Period. Do not check your watch, and do not expect your meal in 5 minutes. Relax and enjoy, with nothing urgent on your schedule, so you can slowly take time to devour that crème brûlée dessert. (Ok, eating that slow would be challenging even for me!)
River Seine Cruise
When you live in Paris and constantly visit guests, a good host knows you must, once again, for the 15th time, see, stroll, or tour the same sites over and over again. And if I love you, I am happy to. But when it comes to a cruise on the Seine, I am just as excited as my exhausting–I mean loving–guests. There are numerous boats to choose from, but for me, there is only one choice, maybe because it includes food and drink. If I can soak in the sights of Paris while floating down the majestic river with a glass of champagne and a steak on the way, I am happy to be your gracious host. I have enjoyed the lunch and dinner cruises with Bateaux Parisiens, and I genuinely love them both. Choose whatever type of cruise is best for you; make sure this is in the top 5 for your next visit to the city of love.
Professional photography session
Photo by Stephanie of Bulles de Joie
OK, let me preface this by saying that I hate having my photo taken. And what’s ironic is that most of what I do around blogging and social media is pictures of me, so how could that be? I’m that person who says, “hurry and take the picture,” so I can go back to my glass of Bordeaux. Well, one of the first friends I met when I moved to Paris was Stephanie, who (go figure) is a professional photographer. Over a few glasses of wine one evening, I caved in, and a photo shoot was booked. We had no plan, the sun was shining, and she promised me a few hours of fun, and that it was! Paris is the most visited city in the world, and an iPhone photo taken by your best friend doesn’t do you or the fantastic scenery of Paris justice. Stephanie knew I loved luxury hotels, and she knew just where to take me. She had previously done a photo session for an engagement at The Ritz Paris, and I was so pleased with her great ideas and suggestions for the hotel’s beautiful gardens. Whether a vacation with your lover, a family getaway, or a honeymoon in Paris, a professional photographer like Stephanie will give you the memories of a magical trip that will last a lifetime. Check out her website here.
Photo by Stephanie of Bulles de Joie
A few of the above may be obvious, but this article reminds you to enjoy the simple things when visiting this magical city. Slow down in the café or take a chance on a photo session, and remember to enjoy a picnic. These few things can send you back home from Paris relaxed and with a new sense of enjoyment. A simple memorable picture to a reminder that life goes fast and to cherish your time off. Hope to see you back in Paris soon!