an American in Paris

For many years, my traveling has been ever growing and expanding into new countries, new areas across the globe.  Though I must say I’ve always had a love for France, even before ever arriving for the first time.  And yet, it’s a constant theme that comes up in my life.   Then once I decided to “move to Paris” for a while, the signs continued to be more apparent and consistent.  Signs of Paris were everywhere.  Perhaps I’ve succumb to subliminal messaging that lead me to Paris for my 3 month sojourn, and however it ended up happening, it will by far be one of the best gifts I’ve even given myself.  The time and freedom to LIVE.  And to live it up in one of my favorite places on earth, Paris.

After booking a one way ticket to Paris, not knowing anyone or even knowing how long I would truly stay, I boarded an American flight to CDG knowing I was about to embark on a life changing adventure.  And at the time I simply thought of it as time to enjoy life, no expectations, no goals needing to be fulfilled- other than taking in all that his incredible city had to offer.  And that’s exactly what I did!

Upon my return, I’ve had many ask me for an itinerary around the city of Lights.  Though in reality, Paris has so much to offer that it’s a bit of a tough question to answer without giving a little bit of all of it.

From the world famous museums and world class cuisine, to the art of simply sitting street side in a cozy cafe watching this bustling city, overwhelming you with it’s beauty and history.

However, there are many musts in Paris.  Although I absolutely love wandering around aimlessly to be sure not to miss a thing (Clearly I’ve got some FOMO when it comes to this place) you must ride the metro.  It’s so convenient and fairly simple to make your way from neighborhood (arrondissements) to another.  And considering this city has so much to offer, you want to be sure to maximize your trip by letting the efficient metro system guide you around Paris’s underground.  A few MUSTS on my list:

  1. An afternoon spent leisurely winding your way up and down the historic hills of Montmartre.
  2. Tea at the Grand Mosque….along with a sweet treat.  A heavenly way to relax and enjoy your day in the Latin Quarter.
  3. This goes without saying…a jaunt up the Tour Eiffel.  I mean…you ARE in Paris after all.
  4. Rent a Velib bike.  It’s such a fun and exciting way to see the city.  At times a bit sketchy, riding along the traffic of the city….though a great adventure, just the same!
  5. A cocktail at sunset at the stunningly beautiful, Peninsula Hotel- gorgeous views and if there’s a chill in the air, they offer cozy warm throws to ensure your experience is truly top notch.
  6. If time allows for a day excursion out of Paris:  Versailles and Giverny.  At Versailles you can explore Napoleon’s former home, gardens, and more.  You could spend an entire day simply within the grounds at Versaille alone.  Touring the palace is another day in itself. Or head off to the incredibly small and charming place of Giverny where Claude Monet called home and painted some of his most noteworthy and visually stimulating masterpieces.
  7. Jazz Night in Paris.  Take a step back in time to enjoy one of the best neighborhoods to listen to some jazz at any of the numerous clubs located at Chatelet.  Around this area you will find a slew of jazz clubs and plenty of bars to keep you entertained ’til the wee hours of the morning.
  8. The Catacombs….although rather creepy and bizarre and oddly a site I was eager to explore.  This estuary is the burial site for over 6 million.  It is said that more people are buried underneath Paris that live above it.  Going down in the depths of the catacombs is an experience within itself.
  9. Although it sounds so cliche, simply sitting at a cafe for hours is still one of my favorite “things to do” in Paris.  You get to see the diversity, the excitement, the style of the city walk by while you sip away on some delicious rose?  Not a bad way to enjoy life in general, I’d say.
  10. Museums, Museums, Museums.  Paris is home to some of the most sensational art collections around the globe.  Save yourself the agony of the insane lines that tend to be a part of the museum experience.  Book your ticket in advance on-line.  Trust me.  Pre-planing makes for maximization of your time…and your sanity.
  11. And since it’s not my style to only give the minimum…one more is necessary.  A visit to Parc des Buttes Chaumont is a beautiful treat.  A simply gorgeous park that also plays home to Rosa Bonheur, a quaint little bar in the heart of the park.  Perfect way to spend an evening in the park, with a delicious bottle of rose.  Incredible date spot or a memorable night out with friends.  Highly recommend.

Above and beyond a few highlights, simply take a few moments to let yourself get caught up in the music of the underground.  Some of the most talented and gifted musicians play throughout the stations to further inspire you along on your adventure.  There is so much to savor in Paris- from the flavors, to the sights, to feeling the history as you stroll past the architecture that seems to be untouched after all this time.  The reality is that Paris is there to offer you whatever you want…it’s up to you to dive in with reckless abandon and let the city show you all you seek.  Enjoy the adventure, mes amies!!

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Francine

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