I challenge anyone to find someone who has been to Paris and did not immediately fall in love with this this stunning city or someone who has never been that does not have it on their travel bucket list. Paris is without question one of the most magical cities in the world and this is not just my opinion but of that of everyone I know who has ever been there.
This most recent adventure to the City of Lights with my family was my longest stretch of time spent in Paris so it gave me the opportunity to really experience the city almost as a local. We rented an apartment (from a friend of a family member) in the 7th Arrondissement (the districts are numbered in a loop around the city) in between the Eiffel Tower and Saint Germain De Pres which is my favorite part of the city. Calling something in Paris my favorite is very difficult as all districts in Paris are interesting, fabulous, historic, charming etc. all on their own.
Saint Germain is on the Left Bank, the city is split by the river, and feels less overrun by tourists. There are many high end shops and historic cafes, one night we stumbled upon Café Le Flore where we found The director Quentin Tarantino enjoying a glass of wine. I later found that this is one of the oldest coffee bars in the city where many famous writers, artists and designers have spent time over the decades. YSL & Chanel have even held fashion shows in this beloved spot. I am also a huge lover of Le Quartier Latin which is just off of Rue Saint Germain, it is a culturally artistic neighborhood with narrow winding roads packed with bistros and bars. It has a very youthful vibe due to its proximity to several higher learning centers.
Le Marais is the latest trendy area on the right bank of Paris which we spent some time in two years ago but really felt we got the true essence of why Le Marais is so loved. All of the cool French designers have shops here like The Kooples, Maje & BA&SH Its also full of wonderful art galleries; we popped into David Zwirner Gallery for the Raymond Pettibon (LA street artist) exhibit and then had dinner with friends at Portuguese tapas bar Restaurant Au Passage which I highly recommend trying if you can get a reservation.
I have to point out when we were traveling with our (then 10 year old) son in the summer it was much easier to keep him occupied. During this time of year (late fall/winter) I would recommend taking a child of this age to the amazing Christmas market at Jardin Tuileries by the Louvre, Jardin Luxembourg is a beautiful park which our son loved sailing toy boats in the summer but there’s not as much to do in the fall but walking around this iconic park is in and of itself a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
The taxidermy store Deyrolle is an amazing experience for children and adults as well, It consists of several floors of exotic taxidermied creatures. A trip to the top level of the Eiffel Tower and ice skating on the rooftop of legendary department store Galeries Lafayette were also favorite ways to keep our boy happy.
After several trips to France we finally took the tour of Palace de Versailles on this visit which was a really incredible experience and I definitely recommend spending the extra money on doing a private tour with Paris City Tours, they pick you up from your hotel and give you a private guided tour where you bypass the lines, so worth the money.
I could really go on and on about what to do in Paris but I’ll end here and hope the main highlights of my recent trip will suffice. In a city like Paris you really can just wander the streets pop into a random café, check out any museum and you will have an incredible time visiting this remarkable city!