I’ve written about my beloved adopted home, Paris, but I have yet to actually cover my favorite parts of the city. It’s easy to pick up a guide book to walk around Louvre and the Eiffel Tower and how to rush through the city in three days, but then there’s that exceedingly crucial part of Paris that Parisians capture so well – sitting and enjoying the moment. Whether in a cafe, or a park, or a garden, they do it so well and every visitor should learn to adopt this practice to get the full effect of This is Paris. I have now sent my list of Parisian favorites to two friends who are Paris-bound this month. It was also two years ago that I landed at Charles de Gaulle with two suitcases and a key to my very own French flat to begin what may be one of the best times of my entire life. So, voila – here is a list of my favorite Parisian moments. (It helps to wear your most debonair outfit to feel the full effect, and a great hat helps.)
Montmartre. Way up on top of Paris in the 18th arrondisement, this is a quaint little neighborhood of Paris that gives fantastic views of the city, especially from the heavenly white Sacre-Coeur. A bottle of red wine and a seat on the stairs by the cathedral makes for a memorable moment overlooking the city lights at evening. I happened there one evening while some musicians performed. They were not the best band, but it didn’t matter.
La Seine. La Seine, la plus belle Seine! This river makes Paris so moody and blissful as its architecture glistens in its waters like a Renaissance painting. My favorite was walking along this river back and forth across all its bridges. The best bridge is the Pont des Arts (photo left), a wooden walkway that leads to the Louvre. This is a great place to sit on a bench and read a book or people-watch. Another fantastic place to watch the Seine is on the Ile St. Louis. My friends and I would sit along the southern side facing the Latin Quarter with a bottle of red wine and watch the tourist boats go by. (Yes, open alcohol containers are legal).
Places des Vosges. This little courtyard is surrounded by historic buildings, now holding art galleries and restaurants, and is such a great place to take a rest in between your shopping in the Marais and to sigh a happy sigh because, after all, you’re in Paris. If you have little ones like my niece here), there is a small playground here. I liked to bring a falafel-and-pita from L’as du Falafel on Rue de Rosiers in the Jewish quarter, and sit on one of the benches here with it. Mmmmmm. Even Lenny Kravitz apparently agreed, it is the best falafel place in the whole world. Especially if eaten in the Places des Vosges.
Jardin de Tuileries. Another favorite. This garden stretches from the Louvre across the heart of Paris towards the ferris wheel, where you can catch a view of the Eiffel Tower. There is a lot to see in Tuileries, from sculptures of women hiding in the bushes, a shrubbery maze, the mini-arc (if you look at through that Arc to the actual Arc de Triomphe, both line up with the modernized arc at La Defense), duck ponds with fountains and chairs, flower gardens, and the small Orangerie gallery featuring Monet’s Water Lilies (left)and other impressionist art at the other end. Again, another great place to sit by a fountain with a book or a falafel and sigh happily. There is also a clean bathroom at the end of the jardin near the ferris wheel.
(*note: if you don’t want falafel, you can substitute with a Nutella crepe).