10 THINGS TO DO IN PARIS
My days in Paris were short and sweet, and I am already missing the delicious food, the strolls, the views and the Parisian vibes. The City of Light has always been one of my fave cities in the world, not only because I lived there during my early 20s, but because my experiences have always been lovely. So I was incredibly happy when my sister announced that she would be getting married in France… that meant that I would return to Paris! The day finally arrived and a few weeks ago we took a flight from Miami to Paris, spent the weekend, and then drove on Monday to Dordogne, the southwestern region of France. We returned to Paris the following Friday and stayed six more days. Today I’d love to share with you my 10 things to do in Paris! … and a few photos I took on this trip. 😉
SAINT GERMAIN DES PRÉS
This quarter of the 6th arrondissement of Paris is one of the swankier neighborhoods in Paris’ rive gauch (left bank), filled with brasseries, upscale boutiques, yet not overcrowded with tourists.
Two cafés that I recommend to try are Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, I used to go to the first one with friends for l’aperitif (love this French habit!). The aperitif is a friendly ritual that Parisians do before a meal, they share a drink (nothing too high in alcohol) and something salty like chips. They also do it on regular week nights!
Sit outside, order the croque-monsieur and a Monaco bière with grenadine (my fave!). While the timing of the aperifit may remind you of the American Happy Hour, it is not the same concept. Happy hours celebrate the end of the ‘work-day’ but the aperitif is something else, it is not the end, it is the ‘beginning of the night,’ so the mind set is very different. And while in Paris I used to do the aperitif almost every night, here in Miami, I rarely make my way to any happy hours!
Skip the lines at the Louvre and visit this beautiful museum instead! Musée d’Orsay houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces of the world. Inside are the works of a few of my favorite artists: Pierre Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, and Claude Monet. This museum is housed inside the former Gare d’Orsay, a railway station constructed for the 1900 World Fair. The view from the top level is amazing!!
I have a big admiration for painters and their art, that is one of the reasons why I initially moved to Paris – to focus my studies on Art History. If you are in Paris for a few days, and not sure whether to visit this museum or the Louvre, consider the following: the Louvre exhibits over 35,000 works of art (that’s a lot!), Musée d’Orsay contains 2,000 paintings and 600 sculptures. Back in the day, I visited the Louvre over a dozen times (3-4 hours inside each time), and I still have tons to see! … plus it is overwhelming due to the size of it.
CAFÉ DE L’ESPLANADE
This café (pictured above) is likely my favorite café in Paris, and it has a spectacular view of Les Invalides! I love how cozy the outdoor seating is, the trendy inside decor, their menu, and that it sits in all of its Parisian splendor. Overall, it is a discreet, quiet, and elegant café in the exclusive 7th arrondissement.
I found this café because it was less than half-a-block away from the apartment where I used to live. [Side note: if you walk 50 meters up the street shown on the left side of the photo above, my apartment was there]. I loved going there with a friend who lived nearby, to study for exams while enjoying the peaceful view.
If you are going to splurge and treat yourself, this place can be a nice option, but I suggest that if you go for dinner – make the reservation the day before. Also, the gorgeous Musée Rodin is around the corner, it is dedicated to the works of my favorite French sculptor, Auguste Rodin – go check it out!
PALAIS DE TOKYO
If you want a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower, make your way to Palais de Tokyo located near Trocadero in the 16th arrondissement!
Afterwards you can also enjoy lunch or dinner at two trendy restaurants that I highly recommend (a)