A Complete Guide to Paris
If the season to fall in love is spring, then the place to fall in love is Paris. Delectable pastries in every street corner, river boat cruises on the Seine, and soaring castles and cathedrals piercing the skies, Paris has much to boast for its expression of grandeur and culinary extravagance. My infatuation with Paris grows deeper with each visit adding to my collection of cradled nostalgic memories. Prepare to be enchanted because this 'City of Lights' is always full of magic and never-ending surprises.
Before you go...
If you haven't watched the best French romantic comedy of all time, be sure to watch the flick "Amélie" before taking off to Paris.
Let's get warmed up with a few French phrases:
Good evening: Bon soir
Thank you: Merci
Goodbye: Au revoir
I would like: Je voudrais...
Very good!: Très bon!
How's it going?: Ça va?
I'm well! And you?: Ça va bien! Et toi?
I don't know: Je ne sais pas
I love you: Je t'aime
A fascinating way to be welcomed into the wonderful city is taking an evening cruise on The Seine River. Don't be frightened by the amount of people making out along the Seine.
Paris has one of the world's best transportation systems. Taking the "metro", RER or a city bus is fairly easy. Make sure you have a map, which can be viewed by downloading the Paris Metro app on your mobile phone.
How to order a delicious crepe...
My obsession with street crepes is devastatingly incurable. Street crepes can be found all over the city, especially near metro stations. You can choose between sweet (with or without nutella) or salty. I prefer the ham, cheese, and egg crepe. To wrap your hands around this goodness, just use this phrase "Je voudrais une crêpe au jambon et fromage, s'il vous plaît," and you'll be set. Just be careful if you are eating it on the go, since the melted gooey mixture will drip down through the bottom opening, so be sure to have extra napkins on hand.
Best Spots for Panoramic Views of Paris...
Arc de Triomphe
Parc de Saint Cloud
Parc de Belleville
The stretch between Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre Museum is about 3.6 kilometers, or just a little over 2 miles. On this route, is the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Grand Palais, the obelisk at Place de La Concorde, and the beautiful Jardin de Tuileries that leads to the Louvre Museum. The sheer volume and magnitude of the Musée du Louvre is worth seeing and it is home to some of the most iconic and priceless paintings and sculptures in the world, including the mysterious eyes of Mona Lisa. A full tour of the museum could take weeks or months to complete. On the opposite side of the Seine river, you'll find the Musée d'Orsay, a museum that was once a railroad station and now houses a collection of Impressionist art, including pieces by Monet and Van Gogh.
Nearby, you'll find the iconic Tour Eiffel, where you can enjoy stunning views of Paris from the observation deck. Walk across the bridge to Place du Trocadéro for picturesque views of the Tour Eiffel.
After you've visited all the historical museums, take a visit to Le Centre Pompidou for a modern twist, where you can admire the greatest collection of art by cutting edge contemporary artists. Its bold façade looks as if a spaceship landed in the middle of the city. This museum is located in the Les Halles neighborhood, which is pulsating with electric energy. Also dubbed as the "belly" of Paris, this area recently went through a billion-euro refurbishment project and is now emerging as the city's hottest new districts.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame represents the masterpiece of French Gothic architecture and the scene of many major events in the history of France. Walk across the bridge to the opposite bank of the Seine to find the magnificent City Hall, known as Hôtel de Ville. It's a spectacular building with stunning water fountains in the front courtyard. From here, explore the vibrant historic district of Le Marais, which offers old-world charm mixed with chic modern day functionalities on cobblestone streets. Here you'll find a fun and lively atmosphere filled with boutiques, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and plenty of secret "passageways". Also, take a walk along the charming Île Saint-Louis island, where you'll find picturesque spots of the Seine and cozy traditional eateries.
Another trendy neighborhood to explore is Saint-Germain-des-Pres which is filled with plenty of cafes, restaurants, entertainment, and art. Within a few blocks, you'll find the gorgeous gardens of Le Jardin du Luxembourg, a quiet place where you can find tranquility in the midst of a bustling city. Steps away from the garden is the Latin Quarter, which bursts with intellectual life as it is the historic center for learning and artistic achievement that surrounds Sorbonne University. Here, you'll find the beautiful Panthéon, as well as the Saint-Geneviève Library on the opposite side, which is one of the most praised libraries in the world.
Another amazing architectural sight to see is the Palais Garnier, a marvelous performance hall with stunning architecture and home to the Phantom of the Opera.
You must not leave Paris without visiting...
A visit to Montmarte is a must-see in Paris. The steps leading up to the famous Sacré-Coeur basilica is totally worth the climb and views of the city can best be enjoyed during sunset. This unique neighborhood has lots of funky cafes and street artists, and also home to the famous Moulin Rouge. If you're a fan of the movie "Amélie", several scenes from the movie was shot inside the Cafe des Deux Moulins, which is just around the corner from the Moulin Rouge.
Unique Experiences to make your trip extra special...
-Take a french cooking class or a guided food tour
-Hire a Parisian Photographer for a private photoshoot
-Watch a world famous cabaret show at the Moulin Rouge
Day Trips from Paris...
Palace of Versailles - the place of residence for several Kings of France. The captivating courtyard has sculptures, flowers, fountains and greenery arranged in perfect harmony.
Chartes Cathedral - This UNESCO World Heritage site is an architectural gem and masterpiece.