“Paris is always a good idea” – Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina Fairchild in Sabrina.
And I couldn’t agree more! And so, without further ado, my list of top ten things to do in Paris. Just in case you needed inspiration to go.
1. On Top of the Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is THE symbol of Paris. And for good reason – in the evenings, when it’s bedecked in twinkling lights, it’s pure magic. And the views from the top are literally breathtaking. So book online in advance, go up to watch the sunset and wait till the lights come on across the city, and it will be an experience you aren’t going to forget.
2. The Louvre: You needn’t be a museum buff to enjoy the Louvre and the amazing works on display here. The sheer variety of the display alone ensures that you find something or the other to interest you – be it history, art, lifestyle, or aesthetics. And its the best place to tick off your list of world famous art works.
3. Guided Walks: The guided walks were one of the highlights of our trip. They are like an insiders guide to pockets of Paris – and it’s much more enjoyable than just walking around the neighbourhood, pretty though the neighbourhood may be. Just pick a neighbourhood/theme that interests you and put on your walking shoes! We used Discover Walks – they are free, though tipping in encouraged, the guides are enthusiastic and interesting, and they have a whole range of walks to choose from.
4. Picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg: Pack a picnic lunch and head to the Jardin du Luxembourg. These beautiful gardens, right in the heart of Paris, are the perfect way to enjoy a warm, sunny afternoon in the outdoors. In autumn, the leaves turn into various shades of red, orange, yellow, and give the gardens an enchanting look. Spring, summer or autumn, this is the perfect place for a quiet break from the big city.
5. Ice-cream by the River Seine: There is nothing quite as lovely as strolling around the banks of the River Seine, with an ice-cream from the legendary Berthillion in hand. Watch the artists at work, cross all the bridges and just soak in the views of the beautiful old buildings lining the river bank on either side.
6. Cycling along the Champs-Élysées: Riding the Velib along the Champs-Élysées is a fantastic way of combining two iconic Parisian experiences. Imagine cycling along one of the worlds most famous boulevards – if you’re looking at unusual ways to experience a new city, this is it!
7. Chateau de Versailles: This fairytale like castle, bedecked in gilt and gold, is a must visit. The beautifully landscaped gardens are a stark (and much needed) contrast to the over-the-top grandeur of the palace interiors. Visit early to escape the lines, visit the palace using the audio guide, and then head out to the garden for a stroll and a picnic.
8. The food: Oh my god, the food! I would have put the food on top of this list, but I didn’t want readers to think I’m a glutton. But the incredible array of breads, the irresistible desserts, the fantastic range of wines – this is a city that worships food and drink, and with good reason!
9. Wander around the Latin Quarter and St.Michel: The Latin Quarter is where all the hip student hang outs are – jazz bars, art movie houses, live music lounges, stand up shows et al. Unfortunately, you need to know a local (or do a lot of research) to know which ones are authentic and which are for the tourists. It doesn’t matter even otherwise – St.Michel close by has some fantastic food and drink options. Don’t forget to end the night on a sweet note with crepes from a street vendor!
10. Cathedral du Notre Dame: This gorgeous piece of gothic architecture cannot fail to impress. It also has some of the most intricate stained glass window work you can find – enough to keep your head titled at weird angles for hours and end up with a right royal ache in the neck (true story!).
So what are you waiting for? Paris is calling!