Why I Love Paris: A Travel Itinerary- Part 1
Bonjour mes amis,
Paris had always been my dream destination ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always loved traveling and always tried to find a way to “get away”, even though at a younger age I couldn’t afford traveling to Europe and settled for cruises to the Caribbean, I knew one day I would make my dream come true and visit Paris. And that day came, for our honeymoon I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I’ve had my passport since I first possibly could, and couldn’t wait for that European stamp. I knew that Paris was going to be everything I had ever dreamt of, even if some people advised me against it because of Parisian mannerism, behaviorism and because of terrorism. I did not listen to the negatives of the place and decided to give it a go myself. And boy, am I glad I did. Because I can tell you with absolute certainty that PARIS IS MY FAVORITE PLACE EVER. Actually, I hope to visit every city in France one day. I need to learn French; I did try for my honeymoon but was only successful with the basics. In a nutshell, I LOVE PARIS because of 3 main reasons:
- The food: French cuisine is exquisite, beautifully presented and delicious.
Don’t leave Paris without having…
Paris is the number one place in this world with the highest density of top-notch, artisanal baguettes. Just grab a baguette, some cheese, a bottle of wine and you’re ready for a picnic next to the Seine River. We always had a baguette handy for an on the spot picnic. I love bread, and I don’t want to say I’m a bread connoisseur, but Parisian bread is the best bread I’ve ever had.
This amazing and delicate pastry consists of two almond meringue shells and in between holding them together is yummy buttercream or ganache. You can get flavors to your liking from vanilla to lavender. A few of my favorites are coconut, rose, passion fruit, and pistachio. Although macaroons have become popular lately, its birthplace is none other than Paris. We decided to go to Pierre Hermé for our macaroons and watch the Eiffel tower light show in yes you guessed it, another picnic at Champ de Mars. We also went to Laduree for our last stop of the trip and enjoyed more macarons. Delicious and unforgettable.
As you walk around this beautiful and charming city you will notice a lot of stands that sell crêpes. Do not pass them up, I guarantee you will never have a more delicious one. Crêpes are native street foods to Paris, and it’s a great treat to indulge as a snack when you get hungry from all the sightseeing. Try all the variations, or stick to beurre-sucre (butter and sugar) for the true, unadulterated crêpe experience. We love Nutella, so undoubtedly the Nutella crêpe was our snack of choice. So delicious that it was our first fight as a married couple, because he didn’t want to share, or was it me?
Try this delicacy at a Parisian bistro. Nothing like a delicious duck, with a side of garlic potatoes, sautéed in duck fat. Just make sure you do extra walking after this.
You wake up early to see the sunrise. Don’t be alarmed as you walk past a bakery and the smell of soft, fluffy, and buttery croissant awakens your soul. These fresh croissants just melt in your mouth and give meaning to life. Make sure to ask the bakery if they make theirs from scratch and baked fresh (not frozen). Also, choose a croissant that is made with pure butter (au beurre) and is long in shape, and stay away from the ones made with other fats (ordinare) and are curved in shape. Also, try a quiche at any bakery, well if you’re like me you’ll have 3 quiches in one sitting (goat cheese and tomato).
2. The architecture: Paris, with its royal buildings, majestic museums, bright neighborhoods and elegant boulevards, is often recognized as the most beautiful city on earth. The symmetrical beauty and extravagant detail in the buildings of Paris will make you fall in love with the city. Not only this, but the cafes, the flower shops, the markets, everything just flows together like a perfect summer day. I never get tired of reminiscing , the smell, the view, and the people. I love you, Paris.
Don’t leave Paris without seeing…..
-The Eiffel Tower
The most world-renowned structure that represents Paris. And without a doubt one of the greatest sights to visit in Paris. Nothing can really prepare you for the moment you first cast eyes on this monument that has come to symbolize Paris, the surreal feeling is unexplainable. There are many spots in the city from where to get great photos of the tower (Trocadero, Pont de Bir-Hakeim, the top of Arc de Triumph, Tour Montparnasse, and many more). Make sure to either purchase skip the line tickets in advance or avoid the hours between 11-5pm. The views of the city from the summit (top floor of the tower) are grand, and shouldn’t be missed, especially at sunset if you can make it. There are 2 restaurants in the tower and a gift shop, make reservations at least a month in advance to request the best seating. At night the tower lights up like a beautiful Christmas tree, one of the most amazing sights I’ve ever seen. The Eiffel Tower lights up at sunset and twinkles on the hour for around five minutes. One of my favorite moments in Paris, sitting in front of the tower as it twinkles, savoring macaroons and wine, with my forever lover. Nothing is more romantic, nothing is more exhilarating, in my book of life. I could repeat and relive this moment forever.
– The Louvre
One of the most visited museums in the world: almost 9.5 million people come to its doors every year. It is also one of those museums that amaze you just through its magnitude. If you were curious: yep, it’s actually impossible to see it all in one day. But I urge you to try it; in the least, you’ll have fun in the journey. Please give careful thought to what you want to see before you start your visit and artistically plan your way through the museum, if you don’t you will be disappointed and get easily lost. Choose your priority pieces and after you’ve seen those, if time allows, you can peruse the other works. The Louvre is open from 9 am to 6 pm every day of the week except Tuesday, when it is closed all day. However, it stays open until 9:45 pm on Wednesday and Friday. We went at 3pm on a day when the museum closed at 6 pm, the lines were short and there weren’t many people, we had a map and the pieces we wanted to see. Some of our favorites were Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, The Turkish Bath, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Michelangelo’s Dying Slave, Venus de Milo, Great Sphinx of Tanis, and the Crown of Louis XV and Charlemagne. You will be more than inspired when you depart this museum.
-Palace of Versailles
Versailles is best known for the massive royal palace and expansive gardens built by King Louis XIV. It was home to three generations of French kings and queens from 1682 until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Each one added improvements to make it more and more lavish and beautiful. As a result, the Palace of Versailles is considered one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art. We took a tour from Paris to Versailles that included bike rental, picnic, and Marie Antoinette’s Estate. The Palace is unbelievably beautiful and its grandeur can be seen just outside its golden gated doors. We spent the whole day riding around on the palace grounds and exploring the palace. The train will take you from Paris to Versailles in 30 minutes, so do not miss this opportunity.
-Notre Dame Cathedral
One prime example of French Gothic architecture is this beautiful cathedral. The Holy Crown of Thorns is housed here, and it will give you the chills once you see it. Note that you must wear clothing that is respectful and covers shoulders. Entrance is free of charge and many mass services are held weekly.
-Arc De Triomphe
This is one of Paris’ most distinctive landmarks. You can walk around the base and under the arches of the Arc de Triomphe, just be careful of the traffic. For a marvelous city view, climb about 280 stairs to the top of the Arc. After you’ve had some fun at the Arc de Triomphe, walk around Champ Elysses or maybe purchase something at the many shops.
-Honorable mentions: Alexandre III Bridge, The Pantheon, Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Luxembourg Gardens, and Les Invalides. (Many others are also architecturally outstanding such as Pont du Neuf. We spent a whole day biking in Paris and rode through each bridge top and bottom, it was magically romantic and yes we kissed under each bridge. There are so many beautiful bridges in Paris)
3. The little things: There is so much charm and beauty in this city. Even the bums asking for money look like art, they are clean and well dressed. Everything is just….perfect.
Don’t leave Paris without….
– Purchasing flowers from a local market.
– Having a picnic.
– Drinking 3 wine bottles with dinner, the Parisian way (red, white, and dessert).
– Find a book someone left behind for you. Read it, and leave a book for someone else to find.
– Take a dinner cruise along the Seine River on one of the beautiful boats.
– Lock your love at the “love bridge”.
– Watch the Bastille Day (July 14th) fireworks, they are utterly enchanting and the best I have ever seen. I wish I would have recorded them, but I had lost my phone that day and was feeling down. I have to visit Paris again for Bastille day.
– Walk until your feet can’t bare one more step and you sit down at the first café you see, savor the blessings of your life.
4. Ok, I lied, it’s really 4 reasons. The romance:
Leave Paris full of….
-LOVE! You will never be the same. At least for me, Paris gave me eyes to see the world in a different way. It opened my heart to things I didn’t know existed within me. The French culture is one of my favorites to date, and I definitely learned a thing or 2 from them. If you go to Paris, forget what they say about people being rude, maybe it’s us who expect a different kind of treatment, like it’s owed to us, and consider them not to be of our liking. To me, everyone was respectful and cordial. Maybe I am biased, but give me Paris.
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.” –Thomas Jefferson
In my next Paris Blog, Part 2, I’ll let you know more in detail about my itinerary, how to get around, where to stay, challenges in Paris, what to pack, travel tips, and budget details on flights, hotels, and activities. Stay tuned, and don’t be afraid to ask me any questions, or give me any feedback/comments.
Disclaimer: Travel bug may be contracted and trip results may vary.
Adieu pour l’instant je vous laisse avec mon amour pour Paris,