Paris is a city everyone is familiar with even if they have never been there. The Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognized structures on earth. Berets, baguettes, and croissants. The city conjures so many images. I’m lucky to have visited Paris on numerous occasions starting since my 6th birthday. My family was on an Adventures by Disney trip and after touring London we hopped on the Chunnel and rode a train under the English Channel to France.
Paris holds endless wonder for lovers of fashion, architecture, food, and history. Every building we passed seemed to be adorned with scrolling embellishments. The wrought iron balconies were lovingly tended to with colorful flower boxes. Even at 6, I knew I was somewhere special.
I’ve visited Paris on several occasions since. We usually rent a beautiful apartment from Paris Perfect with Eiffel Tower views. I’ve also stayed at the modern Renaissance Arc du Triomphe and The Regina right across from the Louvre. But Paris is full of iconic luxury hotels like The Ritz, Plaza Athenee, and the Hotel de Crillon. I recommend staying anywhere that has Parisian charm as regular chain hotels look exactly the same everywhere.
The main tourist attraction in Paris is the Eiffel Tower. In years past it was open to walk under but now it’s barricaded and the lines to get in can be hours long. A trick to skip the lines is to way in advanced make reservations at Tour Eiffel 58 and eat lunch or dinner on the first platform. Or, if you want to splurge, eat at the Jules Verne at the top. But be prepared to pay, dress up, and sit for a multi-course meal at Jules Verne. But at Tour Eiffel 58, you can come more casual. If you want to go to the top after eating, you can purchase a ticket at a kiosk and ride in an elevator to the top.
Other must see sights are the Louvre (where you can’t miss the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, or Venus de Milo), Arc du Triomphe, Musee Rodin, and Notre Dame. Macarons at Laduree, and shopping at Printemps and Galleries Layfayette are also a must. My favorite authentic restaurant is Café Constant on Rue St. Dominique near the Champs de Mars by the Eiffel Tower. Small, charming, and owned by it’s chef, Café Constant serves fresh, homemade French food including my favorite broiled scallops right in the shell.
A fun way to see the city and get around Paris is by taking the Hop On Hop Off bus. Buy your ticket with a Batobus pass and enjoy the boat on the Seine as well. Notre Dame looks prettiest from the water. After the heartbreaking fire last month, Notre Dame is closed to tourists but thankfully the walls are still intact and the exterior is still beautiful. I also recommend buying a ParisPass and travel card. It will prepay most entrance fees to every tourist attraction except the Eiffel Tower. The travel card will be your subway (Metro) pass.
There is no bad time to see Paris. I’ve been there every season and as long as you’ve packed the right gear you’ll enjoy this walkable city. Paris is expensive so bring your euros! The city is beautiful at night so take a dinner cruise and see the Eiffel Tower sparkle with lights every hour. Another fun thing to do is check out Lost in Frenchlation, an organization that plans current French films to be shown in real Parisian Cinemas but with English subtitles. http://www.facebook.com/lostinfrenchlation/events.
If you want a day trip out of the city, Paris City Vision offers great optional group tours to Versailles, Normandy, and even Bruges, Belgium. Or contact Lisa at YourParisExperience.com and have her plan an amazing adventure for you.
Open the Map! Find Paris and plan to go. You’ll always be enchanted by Paris and never see it all no matter how many times you visit. La Vie en Rose is true in Paris. The light is pink and so is your life while there.