Paris: Do It

I. Love. Paris.  The food, the neighborhoods, the museums, the art, the architecture.  I’m all in when it comes to Paris.  I am also pretty ridiculous in that I’ve never spent more than a weekend there (and have flown there from SF JUST FOR THE WEEKEND).  You have to have pretty big love for a city if you’re willing to cram yourself in coach for 12 hours for just a weekend.

This is Paris. Do the Touristy Things.

I can’t possibly do the city justice on a weekend, or, frankly, in this blog.  There’s always a lot going on and about a million places to eat and see.  This won’t be thorough, but it’ll give some ideas and suggestions.  I was there for one day between trips recently, and managed to cram in a good walk, some touristy things, and a few tasty bites.

 

See it:

Eiffel Tower:  Yes, it’s touristy.  Meander up the champ de mars and take a selfie.  It’s PARIS.  You must.

Arc de Triomphe:  Not far from the Eiffel Tower, make your way over to the Arc and watch traffic get crazy.  Then walk down the Champs Elysees and window shop.  You could walk straight down to the Place de la Concorde and a little further down, you’ll hit the Musee du Louvre.

When you go in winter, sometimes you get clouds.

Musee du Louvre:  The crowds are maddening and if you actually like to look at and enjoy art, it’s just going to piss you off.   But hey, there’s the Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Code of Hammurabi, numerous da Vinci’s, Michelangelos, Caravaggio, Vermeer, and the list goes on.  It’s your art history book come to life, so grit your teeth and go enjoy it.  Hit up the Musee d’Orsay as well for additional goodies.

There are other great things in the Louvre besides the Mona Lisa!

Notre Dame: Just south of the Louvre on Ile de la Cite, is Notre Dame, the quintessential example of gothic architecture.  Business in the front with the 2 columns and party in the back with the flying buttresses.

The back side of Notre Dame–also beautiful!

Sacre-Coeur & Moulin Rouge:  Close to each other in the north 9th Arr., the Montmartre neighborhood is great–artsy, a bit gritty, but the view from the steps of the Sacre-Coeur is glorious.  Climb the stairs and go for the big views.

The city view from Sacre Coeur

Versailles:  If you have a little extra time, make your way out to the Palace of Versailles, an easy train ride out of the city.  The gardens are spectacular and the Chateau is crazy.

The understated opulence of the Palace of Versailles.

 

Shop it:

Galleries Lafayette:  The flagship store is in the 9th Arr., but there are others around town (the main one is now open on Sundays!).

Le Marais: Wander the boutiques in this neighborhood (and pick up a good falafel, below).  Charming shops and tiny streets, as well as small cafes line the neighborhood.

St-Germain des Pres: Also a great neighborhood for shopping and finding food, there are tiny alleyways to explore.

 

Eat it:

I’m realizing all of these are sweets or casual spots, nothing for an actual meal.  I stuffed myself with sweets and pastry.  That’s a bit embarrassing.  I had every intention of going to L’Avant Comptoir and I didn’t (I filled up on falafel).  So you go there and enjoy it.  I’ll go next time.

L’As du Falafel:  Legendary falafel in Le Marias.  Don’t be fooled by the chumps across the street.  This is where you want to get your falafel.  Great toppings–get them all.  Skip the fries.

Berthillon:  Post-falafel, you can meander down to Ile-Saint-Louis and get some of the most amazing ice cream here.  There will be a line, even in winter.  Wait.

Ice cream in winter? Yes.

Laduree:  Perhaps you’ve had a macaron at one of Laduree’s outposts around the world.  Ok, fine.  But you’re in Paris.  Eat one there.  I often find myself trying other brands just to compare (using Chocolate as the taste test).  Laduree is the best.

Laduree FTW

Sleep it:

M hotel NH:  I wanted to stay in St-Germain and this spot was great.  Close to the metro.  Modern, if tiny rooms.  Breakfast seemed very overpriced, so we meandered outside for it (plenty of spots for a croissant and coffee).

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