Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paris, France: A Travel Recommendation

After 4 visits to 'La Ville-Lumiere' (the City of Light), I can officially give a well-rounded travel recommendation. Paris is one of my very favorite big (and I mean huge) cities. There is so much to see that one trip to Paris simply isn't enough. If you try to cram in all the tourist attractions in one visit, you may wind up getting frazzled, tired, and not enjoying the city. I suggest simply relaxing, taking in the atmosphere, people watch, and hitting SOME (NOT ALL) of the major sites - Paris is simply too beautiful to be rushed.

Where to Stay: In my past 4 visits, I've stayed all around the city. The Latin Quarter is one of my favorite places to stay - lots to do, lots of people, and a big selection of hotels. No, the Latin Quarter is no longer Bohemian central, but it does offer a good atmosphere for the weekend traveler. Rue de Rivoli is another fabulous area/street to stay, lined with lots of local cafes, restaurants, and boutiques - a perfect, picturesque street - my favorite.

Must Eat: snails, croissants, baguette, cheese, wine, crepes, and more croissants. The bread (any/all kinds - we do not discriminate) are fresh and fantastic. It may sound cliche, but I highly recommend buying some wine, cheese, a baguette, and have a picnic overlooking the Eiffel Tower - take your book, although the people watching is fabulous.

Must Do: double-decker bus tours (the best way to see all the major sites - if you try to walk the city, you'll tire quickly), Seine River Cruise at Dark (my favorite! the attractions of Paris are even more beautiful lit up at night + you get to see the Eiffel sparkle! how romantic!), picnic & people watch.

Must-See: the Arc, the Eiffel, Notre Dame (from the front & back.. inside? eh..), le Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, Trocadero Square, Rue de Rivoli, Champs-Elysees Avenue, Catacombs, Versaille, Hotel de Invalides (only outside is necessary) & the Opera Garnier (only from the outside). Do you have time for all? Maybe. If not, see them all from the outside on your double-decker bus tour!

Not a Must-See: the Bastille (the jail/fortress itself no longer exists), Pantheon (does NOT compare to Rome), La Madeleine church

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