The Enduring Allure of Paris
The rise and rise of numerous ultra-hip European cities - Lisbon, Copenhagen and Berlin to name a few - means that to some, Paris has fallen somewhat out of favour in recent times. The truth is, the city of love will always be achingly chic and will forever remain in equal measures undeniably romantic and fiercely edgy. Parisians exude cool, and after the recent devastating fire at Notre Dame, their collective pride in, and love of their beloved city has been reassuringly evident in the saddest of circumstances.
Paris throbs with culture, cuisine and couture, and every visit unearths a new and previously undiscovered gem. Each of my visits to Paris has been reassuringly different, with new secrets unlocked in different arrondissements each time I make the trip across the Channel. Whilst those with deep pockets can enjoy the finer things that Paris can offer, it doesn’t need to be an expensive city for a short break, as there are many varied and interesting ways to while away a few days in one the world’s most beautiful cities:
Stroll along the Seine in Spring // There are many iconic views from the banks for the River Seine, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. Head for the Pont Des Arts, ‘the bridge of locks’, stop for an espresso and a croissant in a café under the trees or browse the vintage book stores south of Saint Chappelle
Experience the Arc de Triomphe at night. By day, the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe is a place to witness chaotic driving like you’ve never seen before, but by night, the top of the Arc offers views down the Champs Elysées to the Eiffel Tower, and across the rooftops of Paris. Perfect.
If it’s nightlife you’re after, head to the Marais district, the former Jewish quarter where Parisians gather in fun, reasonably-priced bars and excellent restaurants. The vibe is somewhat bohemian, with jazz bars, music venues and art galleries open late into the evening – there are hidden gems galore so be bold and explore!
For an unusual and quirky walk through French history, check out the Pere Lachaise cemetery –from Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison, Frederic Chopin and Edith Piaf to Moliere, this place holds numerous secrets and interesting stories. Guided tours are available for a few Euros, and maps are free.
For art-lovers, Paris holds so many jewels that months of your life could be whiled away in galleries and museums. If asked to pick one, for me it would be the Musée d’Orsay every time. Degas’s ballerinas, Monet’s watercolours and Renoir’s genius mean there is something for everyone here, and the building is visually spectacular inside and out.
Eat. Just eat, wherever you can and whatever you can. My advice would be to head off the beaten track, ask advice about small bistros, drink the local wine and enjoy. French cuisine is quite simply phenomenal!