When I was twelve and began jotting down all the things I knew I’d one day have to do, which would eventually become my Bucket List, “visiting Paris” was one of the highest things on the list.
I’d collect every postcard or painting showcasing Paris and watch Chocolat so often that I could almost recite the film by heart, in French!
Now that I’ve been to Paris, I am not less obsessed. Not only do I know I have to visit Paris again, but during my short day trips away from the city I’ve fallen for France as a whole. So my bucket list item has gotten a lot more extensive.
For those of you who are soon embarking or hope to soon take a trip to the City of Love, here is a list of what I consider the must-do’s/must-see’s/must-visit’s when visiting Paris.
- Buy yourself some sorbet from Berthillon and stroll the Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis. These two mini islands in the center of Paris, are my absolutely favorite part of the whole city. Don’t forget to make stops at Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle and Concierge.
- While you’re in that area, don’t forget to stop into Shakespeare and Company. While some may feel this stop is a tead overrated, for those like me who are lovers of small book stores, this is a must-visit. And the ladders, which guests are free to climb to reach books on higher shelves, scream “Little town, it’s a quiet village”. (Beauty & The Beast reference, for those non Disney fanatics.)
- Try the street food. I know many may not think to try the street food when there are so many five-star bistros along every street of Paris but the street carts, specifically those in the area surrounding the Lourve, ended up being a frequent stop for me during my entire stay. Extra tip: Find the man who makes fresh squeezed orange/lemonade drinks with fresh mint.
- Visit the Catacombs. For those who are worried, they really don’t feel as small or constricted as you may think. Be sure to grab an audio guide, as the history of the morbid, yet exciting attraction is actually pretty fascinating.
- Try the pick of the bunch when it comes to ordering pastries. If you’re free of most allergies, like myself, try walking into a bakery and pointing at the first thing you think looks good. During my first visit to Laduree, I was so overwhelmed that I ended up pointing to the most random assortment of macarons and pastries. One of the croissants I had pointed to ended up being a filled with some kind of nut/apple mixture, and also ended up being my favorite snack of the entire trip.
- Stroll. Be sure to fit in some time to stroll in any which direction while in Paris. I know this can be difficult, especially on shorter trips but my most memorable moments were when I was spending hours walking around with a street crepe in my hand, taking it all in. You’ll begin to feel more a part of the city instead of just a visitor and you may stumble upon something you hadn’t even have thought of.
- Hop on a river cruise. Cliche? yes. Worth it? also yes. This was one of the first things we did on our first day so it made for a very relaxing ride after our long flight, but we also got a chance to see a good amount of popular attractions and Parisian architecture along the way.
- Don’t restrict yourself to French restaurants. France is actually home to brilliant chefs of all cuisines. If you happen to be in the mood for Italian, stop by Enza y Famiglia. Small but absolutely delicious! I’d go as far as to say that it may be in the top three best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, and I’m from New York. I honestly think they sprinkled some magic in their sauce.
- Visit the Tour Montparnasse. Of course you should visit the Eiffel Tower (and pre-book a timed ticket prior to your trip, FYI) but the real view is from Tour Montparnasse, or otherwise known as the middle finger of Paris. Why? Because when atop the Eiffel Tower, you’ll notice the beautiful view of Paris and it’s spectacular architecture but then you’ll notice an obnoxiously tall, plain, jet black, rectangular building sticking out above the skyline. It does make you question who the hell the architect was who thought this was a good look, but the view is stunning.
- Have a hot chocolate at Angelina. And pair it with a delicious, and just as awful or your teeth dessert. If you’re a fan or real hot chocolate or have ever tried Max Brenner’s, you’ll absolutely love this regardless of how hot it is outside.
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