Happy New Year to all of our readers! Since we know you’re all travel lovers like us, we can’t wait to see where your 2015 travels take you. We’re kicking of our 2015 City Spotlight blog with a city I hope to revisit this year; Paris. I last visited while in college, so I'm excited to go back while not on a shoe string budget. I'm also eager to go with my husband this time around and enjoy the romantic side of Paris.
My last trip to Paris, France in 2007
The “City of Lights” is a treasure box of twinkling jewels, large and small, with surprises around every corner. Long consider the heart of culture and romance, Paris is the capital and most populated city in France. Take a walk along the Seine River, listen to the melodic language around you as you sit at a sidewalk café or enjoy the art and famous architecture that envelops the city, and it will quickly become clear why this beautiful destination is considered the City of Love.
Paris has SO MANY NICKNAMES, another being the “international capital of style,” ranking alongside Milan, London and New York as a leading city in the fashion industry. Since it is famous for being a global fashion hub, Paris is a dream for shoppers!
Just around the corner from the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find one of Paris’ best shopping streets, rue du Commerce, hidden in the 15th “Arrondissement” (fancy French speak for a district). As you walk along this lovely tree-lined street, you’ll quickly realize it is one of the best hidden shopping streets in the city.
There are unique boutiques, upscale fashion retailers and plenty of places to stop for a café or a picnic in the park. You’ll feel like a true Parisian shopping where the locals go! Take a walk across the street and venture into the neighborhood around the Champs de Mars Gardens to experience a true Parisian village.
After you've gotten your fill of shopping, take a trip to the 1st Arrondissement. This district is in the heart of Paris, and includes iconic landmarks and stunning views. This is the Paris that makes an appearance in film, TV and print (think Chanel advertisements), so you might recognize some of the scenery as you stroll along.
So, let's get to my Parisian Must See and Must Eat while visiting.
Visit the Louvre. While there are hundreds of museums in Paris, this one should be at the top of your list! It is probably the most-visited museum in the world. Be sure to keep an eye out for famous historic works like the Venus de Milo statue and the Mona Lisa, and take your time browsing the shops in the underground mall.
Take a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower. This historical monument celebrated its 125th year in 2014 with many renovations, including a glass floor situated 187 feet above the ground. Don’t look down…or DO! If you position yourself just right on the glass floor, it creates the illusion that you’re falling. Be sure to bring your camera for some great photo ops! This classic icon will take your breath away with its spectacular views!
Explore the Palace of Versailles. Catch a train outside the city and you’ll come across this magical sight-seeing opportunity. You can spend the day exploring the chateau, getting lost in the gardens and visiting Marie Antoinette’s estate. Most people explore the grounds in that order, so try doing everything in reverse to avoid the crowds. If you want to save some money, visit the grounds on the weekdays and you won’t have to pay!
Café de la Paix. Located right by the Opera in Paris, this restaurant offers a stunning view from the terrace tables. The experience, history and tradition of this location will make your time here a memorable part of your Parisian adventure! Take a break from exploring the streets of Paris with the Mediterranean platter. You’ve never tasted such heavenly hummus and the antipasti is scrumptious.
Caféothèque – Coffee Bean Aficionados. Whether you’re trying to get some work done while you’re in Paris or looking for a comfy spot to enjoy a warm drink, this coffee bar has plenty of space and you’re sure to find a perfect spot! Caféothèque roasts beans in the store, sells coffee beans from all over the world and offers coffee tastings and classes. The cappuccino and tarts are incomparable!
The Calife Boat. Are you looking for something a little different, with a view? Book a dinner cruise aboard the Calife boat. Few things top the view of Paris at night from the Siene. The relaxed, intimate atmosphere and wonderful staff make this an experience you will want to go back to. Begin with the Ayurvedic salad or the homemade fois gras. Try the duck breast with honey sauce or the lamb shoulder. The entire experience of the Calife makes it one of the most amazing dinner cruises you could ever book.
So, what's on your travel bucket list for 2015? Will you be heading to Paris, like me? Comment below!