I come to you today as a self-proclaimed “Francophile” — lover of all things French! I’m in love with France — its architecture, people, culture, etc! I think this admiration is partly due to my growing up in Louisiana, so rich in French heritage and influence. Plus, after delving into family geneaology, I have discovered that some of my maternal ancestors immigrated from Dieppe, France — now on my Bucket List!
But today, I introduce you to my favorite city in the World — Paris! I can hardly wait until I have the opportunity to return to “La Ville – Lumiere,” or The City of Light!
Grab a cup of Cafe Au Lait as I share with you a few of my Favorite Things To Do In Paris!
1. The Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is a “must,” but don’t feel like you have to go all the way to the top! The view is actually better from the 1st and 2nd levels since Paris flat. Reservations can (and should) be made at www.tour-eiffel.fr. On the 1st level, there is a nice restaurant for lunch, and you can walk around the perimeter that is marked with signs explaining what you are viewing — and if you have a reservation for the restuarant, you can bypass the massive line for the elevator. It is a great way to get the layout of the whole city without the crushing crowds at the top.
2. The Louve: The Louve is perfect for you if you are a serious artist or history buff. If you must see the Mona Lisa, arrive early, and visit her first!
If you really love art, be sure to purchase a Museum Pass that will act as your ticket to most of the major museums in Paris — and, the card lets you bypass most of the lines! (CLOSED TUESDAY)
3. The Musee d’Orsay: My favorite museum in Paris, the Musee d’Orsay, houses mainly French art and contains the largest collection of impressionist masterpieces in the World. Prepare to be awed by Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Surat, Sisley, and many other French Impressionists. ( CLOSED MONDAY)
4. The Bateaux Mouche: This happens to be one of the highlight’s of my trip to Paris! These open excursion boats provide visitors a chance to get a view of the city from along the River Seine. Make sure to take the night tour!
5. Parisian Cafes and Restuarants: It is hard to go wrong with Parisian cafes and restaurants. Look for places with locals who seem to be enjoying themselves — most have English-translated meus if you ask. Remember that slow service is good service, so do not be in a rush. Politely ask for the check when you are ready to leave — relax and enjoy the experience! Or, buy the “fixings” for a great picnic at a local market and eat “al fresco” for lunch in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame Cathedral!
7. Paris Cathedrals:
Why not visit the stunning Notre Dame de Paris,
Or my personal favorite, La Basillica du Sacre-Couer de Montmartre! After strolling through the artist lined streets of Montmartre, the climb to Sacre-Couer, “the white castle in the sky,” seemed like we were ascending into Heaven. Our reward was the singing of an angelic choir surrounded by the giant, golden mosiac high above — how cool is that!
7. The Champ-Elysees: This bustling avenue in the 8th Arrondissement is home to many theatres, cafes, and luxury shops. For additional excitement, the Champs Elysees is the location of the Bastile Day military parade, as well as the Finish of the Tour de France. Make sure you reserve time in you day to just wander down the Champs-Elysees — the sights, sounds, and smells will surely capture you!
As you can see, Paris holds a place in my heart — I could go on and on about its charm and intoxicating beauty, but to visit Paris, is to know Paris! Paris is a wonderful place to begin or end a river cruise in France or a great location to add to a visit to London. But for the full French experience, combining a trip to Paris with a visit to the French Riviera really is the “je ne sais quoi!” (something that can not be adequately described or expressed!) So, start packing!