I’ve been to Paris twice so far and though no plans to visit soon are in sight, I am reminded of this popular capital several times a month. Blame it on fashion week, or style guides by fashion greats such as Caroline de Maigret and Garance Dore both of whom have now published a book, or on the fact we constantly try to emulate the French from everything to food or style.
Paris is also where it all started – my travel story and wanderlust that is, so it is most apropos that I’d kick off this section with it. I’m not going to go into details of what to do when in Paris, because that would be too clichéd. There are far too many sights to get lost in and you’d need multiple trips to ever see them all.
Suffice to say that you can always count on something to do in the streets and corners of this sometimes hyped- up city, though it is fair to say it lives up to its reputation. If you have been already and are going again but have already done the major sights, why not discover something different? Such as the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery – sounds morbid I know, but here you get to play a game called find the famous tombstones of many well-known figures in the arts, from history, and other areas. Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Maria Callas are three names that come to mind.
What about the discreet Sainte-Chapelle with one of the most beautiful stained glass facades ever seen? Take a boat ride on the Seine or a train to Versailles, which seems obvious but not until you walk to the further point for the Marie Antoinette village, which is akin to a British idyllic one. Spend an afternoon at Saint-Germain-des-Prés to go window gazing at the designers wares and then lay back in one of the bookstores or cafes like Cafe des Flores or Les Deux Magots; apparently the latter is has been associated with former patrons like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. If you want something more high street, then alight on the metro at Châtelet, where major brands are found on around the neighbourhood.
If you are going to Paris for the first time, plan your visits to the museums or attractions according to the areas, invest in a Paris card (with major attractions and discounts on the list; available from the airports) and be selective. Visit important museums like Musée d’Orsay, the Musée de l’Orangerie (for Monet’s Water Lilies), and the Louvre first thing to avoid crowds (sounds like a given, but try to precede the throng of tour groups). If you have the Paris card then you may skip the queue (that’s the bonus!). One final thing: do read Caroline de Maigret’s book How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are for some tips on style, because if you are in Paris then where else but there is it best to try be Parisian?
Above are my flashback moments, though not necessarily of the places above (for those, why not go see and live in person?)