Paris is a magnificent city, no matter the season. Imagine a beautiful city with incredible cuisine, wine, museums, parks, monuments, shopping, book stores and the most unique ambiance. Let me share some memories of when I traveled with friends or solo to this favorite city and working for an international airline I was able to indulge my love of travel and visit Paris many times.
Before my first journey to Paris, I bought a terrific guidebook (Paris Access) which was a good idea as Paris has so much to see and experience. The book arranged Paris by neighborhood (Latin Quarter, St -Germain, Louvre & Chamos-Elysees, etc) making it easy to walk about and explore this fascinating city.
I usually started my day by visiting a local boulangerie and choosing a fabulous croissant or pain au chocolat or pain aux raisins (my favorite) or … your choice is quite extensive. Later in the day, take a break from exploring and enjoy a visit to one of the marvelous patisseries. The creations are memorable and mouth watering.
Several times I stayed in the 5th Arrondissment. It’s a terrific area for restaurants and an easy walk (or Metro ride) to the main sightseeing areas. The Mouffetard Market, on Rue Mouffetard, has a splendid selection of food to buy (cheese, bread and wine, as a start) and cute, local places to dine. I recall a marvelous French-Vietnamese bistro with the most incredible quiche and tartes. Voila!
I have spent numerous hours exploring the superb Louvre and enjoying their restaurants (one had the most delicious brownie). It does require several visits. Other favorite museums include the D’Orsay and The Centre Pompidou. For Monet, nothing beats the incredible Marmottan Museum which has the largest collection of his works; more than three hundred paintings. And should you decide to climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, don’t do it immediately after lunch.
LOL, I can still recall doing that, carrying my winter coat, as it was getting warmer and warmer, as I walked up the narrow circular stairs. I heard people ahead of me groaning and laughing and shouted to them “are we almost there?” They laughingly replied, “no — still a ways to go.” And yes, the view is worth the memorable climb.
Close by short trips that I fondly recall and highly recommend include Versailles and yes, it is magnificent. On a smaller scale, take a forty minute train ride from Paris to the Fontainbleau Chateau. At both places, you will feel the France of a by-gone era. Marvel at the royal lavishness and breath-taking gardens.
There are English language bookstores including Shakespeare and Company. The department stores are well worth a visit. And Parisians do like it when travelers speak even a few words of French. Be prepared to have your pronunciation corrected, but that’s how we learn, isn’t it?
I usually traveled to Paris off-season which I prefer as there are fewer lines than in the peak summer months. And while the Luxembourg and Tuileries Gardens may not be in bloom, you will be able to walk about without the crowds.
Paris is a state of mind with memories that last a lifetime. C’est magnifique!
Travel well and often!