Destination Spotlight: Paris
The City of Love and the City of Lights lives up to its reputation as one of the most romantic cities - and one of the most highly visited destinations in the world.
Paris is a must-see, with over 30 million tourists visiting each year! It is filled with beautiful landmarks and monuments, picturesque gardens, high fashion, charming boulevards for strolling that are lined with romantic cafés - the French cuisine in Paris is to die for!
Over 50,000 street lights shine a beautiful glow on Paris, creating a truly magical setting.
So, cross Paris off your bucket-list. You won’t want to miss a thing!
Top 5 Sightseeing Things To Do
River Seine Cruise: A round trip river cruise along the Seine is relaxing and romantic - something you won’t soon forget. Sail under bridges and see iconic Parisian sights from a unique perspective with panoramic views. The audio guided tours (through your smartphone) allow you to discover things about the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral, Les Invalides, Musée d'Orsay, Louvre Museum, Place de la Concorde, Grand Palais, and more. For a romantic spin, take the river cruise at night! The City of Light will shine, illuminating iconic sights as you leisurely pass by. There are many available (and relatively affordable!) cruise times, but be sure to reserve ahead of time.
Arc de Triomphe and Rooftop: Cast your eyes on all of Paris! The Arc de Triomphe was commissioned in 1806 to remember the soldiers whose lives were lost during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. The treasured names are inscribed, and a vault underneath commemorates a soldier from WW1 - the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is a significant site, annually celebrated by the Bastille Day military parade and the Tour de France race. While showing respect, observe stunning views from the roof. It is fantastic, and worth the climb! You will see all of Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Champs-Élysées, etc.
Palace of Versailles & Gardens: Take a day trip and view incredible opulence and stunning gardens at Versailles. It is truly majestic - the greatest achievement in French 17th century art. A World Heritage sight, Louis XIII's home is something you can not miss! Several reigns of kings embellished the Palace through the French Revolution. There are over 2k rooms in the palace, and the vast gardens are simply breathtaking, with hundreds of statues, fountains and water features. Thousands of plants and trees have been beautifully maintained over the years for your viewing pleasure. It’s a day not to miss!
Louvre Museum: Did you know that the Louvre is the most visited museum in the entire world? View a myriad of incredible artifacts and true artistic masterpieces, from prehistory to modern-day. The Louvre itself used to be a palace, and is now home to the world's most famous and recognizable masterpieces, like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, the Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, and the Vénus de Milo. Create a plan of what you’d like to see. There are tours available and visitor trails. Be sure to also take a moment to rest in the lovely gardens on site.
Musée d’Orsay: Paris is art! This special museum contains the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art in the entire world! See masterpieces you probably studied in school, by the likes of Monet, Seurat, Manet and more. You will also see stunning art by Degas, Gauguin, and Renoir. Can you imagine seeing these up close? And all in the beautiful, relaxing Orsay. Restaurants and cafés on site.Truly a lovely day.
Top 5 Hidden Gems Of Paris
Secret Covered Passages of Paris: These hidden passages are a bit less touristy, and perfect exploration spots in Paris - and a perfect rainy day activity! They date way back to the 18th and 19th centuries, but today you will find unique restaurants, book shops and shopping arcades there. Some favs: The Passage du Grand Cerf in rue Saint Denis boasts a stunning glass roof. The famous Galerie Vivienne has glittery lights and a stunning mosaic flooring, with upscale shops. The Passage des Panoramas is the oldest, with shops selling postcards, beautiful stamps, and more. The Galerie Vero-Dodat, was the first to witness gas lighting! It is filled with lovely antique shops. The Passage des Princes by the Opera Palais Garnier Opera House is filled with video games and toys, and is part of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Celebrate the night away at the Andy Wahloo on rue des Gravilliers to enjoy creative cocktails & champagne in a cobbled outdoor courtyard.
Paris Catacombs: Looking for something a bit different and a touch spooky to do? Underground Paris is home to a veritable labyrinth of tunnels that house the Catacombs in what were once quarries. This amazing underground gravesite was created in the late 17th century when Paris' cemeteries were too overcrowded. It is something unique to be experienced during your visit to Paris. Keep in mind that you will be underground in somewhat dark, cave-like tunnels, and up close to hundreds of skeletons. There are approximately six million skeletons throughout the tunnels.
Le Marais Gardens and Mansion Houses: For something historically Parisian, spend time at the Marais. The area is rich in history, filled with 17th century private mansions that were built with white freestone, with large entrances for the old horse-drawn carriages to pass through. They were once the homes of powerful nobles, bankers, lawyers, and more. Walk through the vaults of the Place des Vosges - the oldest planned square in Paris. It was built in 1605 by Henry IV. Venture off the square to less-traveled side streets, too. There, you will find quirky galleries and charming restaurants throughout the area. A perfect place to explore, dine and shop.
Rue Cremieux: For even more Parisian charm, visit the most colorful and picture-worthy street in Paris! This warm street is lined with pretty brightly colored homes along cobble stones. It's “Instagrammable”, they say. You can find it in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. These were once the homes of construction workers, and are now very desirable properties. The quaint painted house fronts have made the street a hugely popular spot for filming, too.
Promenade Plantee: This beautiful walkway was built on an unused viaduct, and is the inspiration behind the Highline in New York! Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the first elevated park in the world. The promenade is about 3 miles long, and travels from the Opéra Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes, passing above the avenue Daumesnil to the Jardin de Reuilly and finishes at Porte Dorée near the Bois de Vincennes. This scenic walk is a bit of a secret that even many Parisians are unaware of. The walk is also completely free to enjoy, and a perfect escape from busy Paris - right in the heart of the city.
Top 5 Must-Try Foods
Croissants: When in Paris, do as the Parisians do! Enjoy delicious, cheap, unforgettable croissants! Start your day off French style, with an all-butter croissant for breakfast. In Paris, these perfectly flaky pastries are baked to sheer perfection. Enjoy with a nice hot coffee, sweet orange juice, or rich tea at a cafe. Croissants are a quick on-the-go meal, too. Be sure to visit a fresh boulangerie.
Cheese: Cheese, please! France is known for their fine cheeses paired with delicious wines. Offering more than 300 varieties of cheese, you can find everything from a creamy brie to munster to blue in Paris. Cheese is traditionally served as its own course, right between the main dish and the dessert. Paris truly is a cheese lover’s dream!
Escargots: Another delicious treat that is not to be missed while in Paris is escargots. They say they are the national symbol, and they are not kidding around. These delicious snails are cooked in a wide variety of styles in Paris. They are often prepared in butter with white wine, or even a roquefort or truffle sauce. In Paris, escargots à la Bourguignonne is a real favorite. For this dish, a dozen are oven-roasted in their shells and served stuffed with delicious, creamy garlic herb butter. Escargots are delicious, and good for you!
Jambon-beurre: Sandwiches are always a great idea, but in Paris they are magical. They are on-the-go street food at its finest, and perfect for busy tourists, too. The Parisians keep this snack high quality, affordable, and simple. There are three key parts: fine Parisian ham, French butter, and perfectly crispy baguette. The quality of these three ingredients is always devine - the ham is just not like your standard ham elsewhere. The Parisians do this to perfection. While you are sightseeing, be sure to grab one to go, or if you have time, enjoy this perfect snack/lunch at an open air cafe with a crispy green salad and glass of wine.
Macarons: Have a sweet tooth? Well, French sweets are quite possibly the finest in the world. Macarons are the most popular food in Paris. Some say they were originally created in the 18th century at a convent in France. They have just the right touch of sweetness and richness. They are delicate rounds filled with a creamy and rich interior jam-type filling. Flavors include chocolate, pistachio, carmel, vanilla and strawberry. Within Paris, you will find shops that specialize in making macarons of the highest - most delicious - quality!
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