A friend recently asked me about my recommendations for his first trip to Paris, and so I spent a day remembering all of the things I love about the City of Light, and looking through all of the restaurant cards I have collected from my many stays there…
Here were my recommendations:
1. This city is best discovered by walking. Pack some comfortable shoes, and avoid taxis (although I just discovered that Uber is available in Paris, on the same account as you might use in the US… this may make walking a bit harder).
2. As an alternative, a boat tour on the “bateau mouche” is the best way to see the most beautiful sights without getting exhausted.
3. As a third alternative to take the city all in, the Tour Montparnasse gives you the best view of the city… if the sun is shining.
4. You must eat at least one croissant in a different café or “boulangerie” every day. A great resource in terms of food is: www.lefooding.com (used and trusted by Parisians themselves, rather than Trip Advisor).
5. If you can’t decide on which café to go to first, here are two must-sees: Les Deux Magots in St Germain Des Prés and Café Flore, my favorite. Here is a great link to discovering others.
6. As important as café and croissant are wine and cheese, or, this time of year, wine and foie gras. Here is a link to get you started on wine bars.
7. In addition to epicurean pleasures, artistic and historical pleasures abound. There are enough museums to keep you busy for a month, here is a list to help you start if you can’t decide:
- Musée Carnavalet: this is a fabulous great museum on the history of Paris, ideally visited with a guide, on your first day in the city
- Le Louvre, of course, including a café or cocktail at Café Marly
- The Musée D’Orsay
- The Musée of Modern Art at the Centre Pompidou
- And last but not least, the Musée Rodin, my favorite museum in the world
8. Finally, for some shopping. Buy yourself something characteristically French. Buy gifts for everyone on your list for next Christmas. The shopping here is fabulous. Go to Boulevard Haussman, to Le Printemps, to Les Galeries Lafayette, to any of the boutiques in the quartier of Saint Germain, and read this for more ideas: .
9. And in case you still have some time, here are 10 more treasures to discover.
Ironically, as I write this, I am in Paris. I cannot imagine a better place to start 2014. I haven’t been here in a few years… and will let you know how many of my own recommendations I follow. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post in a couple of days. And Happy New Year!