5 musts on your next visit to Paris
There are different types of vacationers in Paris. Some just go go go from one museum to the next, and others wish to relax and take in the Parisian culture. This is what makes Paris special: it will deliver whatever type of vacation you wish for. The City of Light is full of endless activities, sights, cultural events, and of course, my favorite thing, endless amounts of amazing food and drink. Living in Paris is a dream come true, and I wanted to share a few of the 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 that grabbing a blanket and choosing your favorite historical landmark for an afternoon of 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. A few of my favorite picnic spots are Park Place des Vosges, Le Palais Royal and of course, Luxembourg Gardens. With the sights and sounds of Paris around you, and the addition of an abundant of delicacies with that special 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 amount of destinations for a short day trip outside of Paris are 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, which no trip to France is complete without. 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 easiest 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, then enjoy my coffee (espresso) then 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 adapt 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, or chat with your spouse about that amazing dinner the night before or 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 agenda so you can slowly take your time to devour that crème brûlée dessert. (Ok, eating that slow would be hard even for me!)
River Seine Cruise
When you live in Paris and constantly have guests visiting, a good host knows, you must, once again, for the 15th time, visit, 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 types of boats to choose from, but for me, there is only one choice, and maybe that is 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 both the lunch and dinner cruises with Bateaux Parisiens, and I truly love them both. Choose whatever type of cruise is best for you, just 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 that says, “hurry and take the picture” so then 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 agenda, 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 bestie just doesn’t do you or the amazing 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 at the great ideas and suggestions she had in 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 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 is to remind 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, from 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!