Destination Guide: Paris

It feels that this year is all about Paris - while I made another trip there myself it seems like everyone else is as well, as there were photographs everywhere - at Laudree, La Tour Eiffel, the flower markets... And if you have been reading for a while you will know that no matter how many times one visits the City of Lights, it is impossible to resist its romance and so a small destination guide for those with an appetite to discover and perhaps lose themselves forever in this remarkable city.

Eiffel Tower
St. Michel Fountain

What To See:

01 | Arc de Triomphe {monument} : Built to honour men who fought in the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars. This is one of the most famous monuments in Paris.  

02 | Basilique Sacré Coeur {church} : This lovely Catholic church is the highest point in Paris. It is located in one of my favourite neighbourhoods, Montmartre, a bohemian neighbourhood full of lovely boutiques, restaurants and street art.

03 | Eiffel Tower {monument} : The most iconic landmark in Paris. Start at Trocadero to enjoy the best view of the tower and walk down the stairs until you arrive beneath it. After you have admired it up close, walk further down Champ de Mars and pause for a drink in the lawns or a romantic walk.        

04 | Le Panthéon {monument} : Set in the latin quarters, the Pantheon is a mausoleum for the likes of Victor Hugo, Voltaire and Jean Moulin. It is also famous for the Foucault pendulum which demonstrates the rotation of Earth. 

05 | Jardin du Luxembourg {public park} : Next to the Pantheon are the Luxembourg gardens, always a lovely spot to visit in any season. Wander around, enjoy a picnic, try some water sports or simply admire the beautifully maintained gardens. This is the perfect place for some down time in Paris. 

06 | Louvre {museum} : Although I have never been inside the museum, Louvre is pretty fascinating from the outside as well. Keep aside a minimum of 5 hours in case you intend to go inside and make sure you get there early to avoid the long lines. 

07 | Musée D’Orsay {museum} : This is definitely a must visit (even if you are not a museum person) in Paris. Housed in an old railway station it is home to the works of Monet, Rodin and many other French impressionist painters and is totally spectacular. 

08 | Notre Dame {church} : A French Gothic architectural marvel, famous for its gargoyles and beautiful stained glass and well worth the long queues to get inside. 

09 | Versailles {palace, gardens, museum +} : Tour the magnificent Versailles Palace or walk through the expansive gardens and watch the musical fountain show. This is the most popular day trip from Paris, as the Grandeur of Versailles is still considered a benchmark for elegance. 

Versailles Gardens
Palace Of Versailles

What To Do:

* Indulge in a wonderful new haircut at the famous salon Alexandre de Paris. * In the evening, attend a ballet performance at Opera Bastille or Palais Garnier or if you are feeling particularly brave visit the extravagant cabaret spectacle at Moulin Rouge. * Take a walk through Parc Monceau (make sure your camera is by your side). * Wander up and down the fabulously chic Champs-Elysées. * Visit the local markets for fresh food and flowers. * If you are feeling young at heart, visit Disneyland Paris, be sure to stop by at the designer shopping outlet La Vallee Village, right next to Disney.  * Take a whimsical ride on the sweetly adorned carousels in Montmartre. * Enjoy a mid afternoon croissant or chocolate-topped waffle.  * Get lost in the large Artcurial bookshop, with over 18,000 fascinating titles in stock. *Plan a romantic picnic and enjoy lunch at the Parc du Champ de Mars. *Spend an unforgettable day in Versailles, immersed in history.  * Rent a bicycle and enjoy the city as locals do.

Versailles Gardens
Lover's Bridge

Where To Eat:

01| Gerard Mulot {patisserie} : With window displays to rival any jeweller, this place has the best quiches, baguettes, croissants and tarts in Paris, not to forget the most heavenly creme brullee that I have ever eaten.

02| Fauchon {tea-shop} : Love the prepared tea-sandwiches and salads here. They say the Foi Gras and Caviar are excellent as well.

 03| Ferdi {bar, restaurant} 32 Rue du Mont Thabor 75001  : Delicious burgers, mushroom risotto and good old mac and cheese.        

04| Laudree {macarons & pastries} : You can't leave Paris without visiting Laudree. Ask to be seated upstairs and feel like royalty in the velvet rooms. Not only the macarons but also the other pastries here like Eclairs, Brioche and Canele are excellent.    

05| L'As du Falafel {take-out} 34, rue des Rosiers, 75004: If you love falafels as much as I do, you will definitely be making multiple visits to this eatery.

River Seine

Where To Shop:

01| Galeries Lafayette {department store} : Here you can find everything from Longchamp to Laudree under one (magnificently domed) roof. It is indeed a feast for the senses.  

02| Le Marais {neighbourhood} : With its cobbled streets and chic boutiques, this part of Paris is unmissable if shopping is your agenda. Be sure to check out concept stores like Merci and Fleux or get your fix of quirk at Les Petits Hauts.                      

 03| Vanessa Bruno {french designer} :  100 rue vielle du temple 75003.          

04| Issabel Marant {french fashion house} : 47 rue de saintonge 75003.

05| Paul & Joe {fashion house}.        

06| Mis en Demure {home decor, accessories}.    

07| Shakespeare & Company {bookstore} : A legend among bibliophiles, this is a one-stop shop for any bookworm.            

08| Saint-Ouen Flea Markets: You will find just about everything at this sprawling flee market from vinyl records to antique tables and everything in between. 


What To Take Home:

It is always fun to bring home a few souvenirs to remind you of your Parisian adventure, whether handmade laces, a new favourite scent or treasures found at a flea market. The possibilities are endless. Additionally (like me), while walking down the Seine you may fall in love with the watercolour paintings being sold by budding artists or postcards and other such fun snippets collected throughout the trip, that trigger wonderful memories for years to come.

{Follow me on Instagram to see more of Paris. All images taken by Persis for At First Blink. Please do not use without permission.}