Monday, February 15, 2016

Postcard from Paris: 7 Must-Dos for an Unforgettable Visit

I arrived back in Paris last winter to a city as beautiful and as charming as ever, even on the heels of the tragic shooting that riddled the French capital only a week before.  From my very first visit many years before until now, Paris has always captivated my heart.  And I wouldn't let my date with her be deterred.

From the moment my feet touched the ground, it was a love affair reborn--with sights, scenes and tastes that created lasting memories and made for a most unforgettable time.  Below are seven of my favorite ways to take it all in.

Rent an Apartment
The view from my balcony
During my previous jaunts to Paris, my stays always entailed hotel accommodations, like this treasure, that left nothing wanting.  But this time around my heart turned to fuller immersion in my Parisian surroundings and the dream of renting an apartment in Paris became reality.  The now uber-popular Airbnb rental service made finding the perfect place (replete with an elevator for luggage and a balcony for taking in the gorgeous views) a cinch.  

Take a Cooking Class
Can you barely think Paris without thinking food? Not for long, I'm sure.  If you have the slightest 'foodie' sensibility, then you'll find that a morning or afternoon (or both, like, ahem, someone has been known to do), cooking class is the perfect indulgence.  My last two visits included cuisine and patissiere courses that left me more inspired than ever, with a few extra skills to boot.  Most recently, I went for macaron lessons at Le Cordon Bleu (dream class, right?) and the time before that I did double duty with morning cuisine (cooking) and afternoon patissiere (baking) classes at The Lenotre Cooking School.

Day Trip to Versailles
The Fabulous Hall of Mirrors

What would you think if I told you that a short train ride outside of the French capital could land you squarely in the lap of luxury?  That is exactly what a day trip to Le Chateau de Versailles delivers--and more. Revealing glimpses into old-world, French royalty and unbridled opulence, Versailles is a not-to-be-missed jewel.

Brunch at LADUREE
My passion for macarons began during my first visit to Paris over a decade and a half ago--and has never relented.  Especially when you consider the famed macaron house that frequently leaves me traipsing state-side for its delicacies.  But macarons aren't the only thing Laduree does well.  Brunch at the flagship location in the heart of Champs-Elysees is obsession-worthy. 

A Day (or more) at the Museum
Pyramide du Louvre
The Louvre aglow at night

Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay
Musee d'Orsay
Paris and its art scene are synonymous with museum life at its best.  A stay isn't complete without a visit to the iconic Musee du Louvre.  But there's so. much. more.  I couldn't fit in every museum I dreamed of seeing during my last visit, but I did manage to take in the exquisite Musee d'Orsay, along with an exterior-only viewing of the Louis Vuitton Foundation Museum (it was closed when I arrived!).

Night Views atop the Arc de Triomphe
Rooftop Vibes
I've always been drawn to the Arc de Triomphe situated at the helm of the Avenue des Champs-Elysees.  But its full charm comes alive when you make your way to the rooftop (it's a climb, for sure) to take in sweeping, panoramic views of the city.  And when done at night, amidst the twinkle and glow and beauty of Paris, there are few things that compare.

An Evening at the Opera
A few snaps at the apartment before heading out to the opera
Taking in the opera is one of my favorite travel indulgences and with Paris boasting both historic and modern opera houses, I couldn't leave before indulging.  Taking in the production of Don Giovanni at the modern Opera Bastille house couldn't have made for a more perfect final evening in my favorite city.

I hope this inspires you to take in Paris--and make unforgettable memories of your very own.  

Happy Travels!


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