I love Paris for more reasons than I could ever communicate in one or two blogs but I am going to try to give you a window into what I love about the City of Light, and why you should consider planning a visit. For my first blog, I am going to give you a quick overview of what I love and some ideas for planning a visit.
- The People -- I love the Parisian people. They are warm and friendly. What? Yes, it's true. Contrary to old stereotypes about the French being cold and aloof, I have always found the French to be friendly, helpful and pleasant. If you try and learn even a little of the language, you will enjoy your visit that much more, and you will bring a smile to the people you will meet. I studied French in high school, college and later in refresher courses and it is truly a beautiful language.
- Quick Tips -- Good morning, good evening, please, thank you, excuse me -- they are all easy to learn and gives you an instant connection to the people you interact with. The French are measured and thoughtful, so leave your impatience at home, their pace is going to be different than yours. Food will arrive when it is ready, security is going to be tighter than what you might be used to -- bags are searched, attractions are protected, this is the new reality for international travel and you should incorporate it into your planned excursions. Most people in Paris speak English but not everyone, write down addresses for places you want to go before getting in a taxi, always have Euro on hand in case credit cards are not accepted, and make sure your phone allows international data so you can use your GPS if needed.
- Where to Stay, Visit & Eat -- The best way to experience Paris for moi is to go small -- stay in a boutique hotel, visit a small museum, a quaint wine bar, this is where you will interact with the people of Paris and enjoy a unique experience. It doesn't mean you can't visit all of the famous attractions, by all means go the Louvre, but incorporate smaller places as well. The thing I hate the most about international travel is when you ask a concierge to make a reservation or recommendation for you, and they send to a place where every person there is American.
- Art, Fashion, History & Culture -- Paris has been, and continues to be the center of so much beauty. Choosing what to visit can be overwhelming. Pick two or three places that interest you and spend time there. One museum, one shopping area, one place of history -- each choice can fill a whole day. Savor it, soak it in, Paris is a place to study and feel. The beauty of the city is stunning but it is no accident, in fact it's complete design is to be beautiful from every angle. Stand on any bridge, in the middle of any square and you will see vistas that are unhindered by high rise buildings and are breathtaking.
- Best People Watching/Small Hipster Hotel -- Hotel Costes; Best Small Impressionist Museum -- L'Orangerie; Best Wine Bar -- there are so many great wine bars I'm not going to pick just one -- this list is fantastic, give any of them a whirl -- https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/sep/16/top-10-paris-wine-bars.
- New favorite small restaurant -- Allard by Alain Ducasse in Saint Germaine -- you will be hard pressed to find a better culinary experience anywhere, it's that good.
- My favorite places? For shopping -- Rue Saint Honore (home of the famous store Colette), Saint Germaine de Pres (similiar to Soho in New York, there are antiques, fashion, textiles, books, restaurants and more), the Marias (like the East Village, this is where emerging art, fashion and food lives), wander up and down for hours, have lunch, buy something special. For walking -- the Tuileries Garden -- my favorite garden with views from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe; the Eiffel Tower -- of course, there is no more iconic place -- stand beside it, under it or take the elevator up; no matter where you are in relation to it, it is spectacular. Enjoy it. My favorite restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower -- Monsieur Bleu, wonderful food, great atmosphere, chic and lively.
- Before You Go -- there are so many wonderful books on Paris, pick one or two and read up before you go. Your experience will be so much richer for it. For decades, Paris has been the center of so much but when you read more in depth about why, it is gripping. Some of my favorite books -- Paris by Edward Rutherford -- this book is enormous, fact based fiction but gives so much color and history, you will feel and live Paris. We have a vast amount of books about Paris from cookbooks to fiction and non fiction, design, art and even coloring books. We invite you to visit our store or simply search Paris for our assortment online.
That's it for now...more to follow soon. Salut, lisa