Today it’s rainy and gloomy in Brooklyn. And so, per usual, I am in a state of wanderlust. The place on my mind during this dreary November day? The City of Lights — Paris, France.
I went earlier this summer and have to say, like anyone else I know who has been there, I absolutely fell in love with everything about it. From the historical architecture to the richly decadent food, to the stunning cathedrals and monuments, no sight was short of perfect bliss and harmony.
The romance, the charm… oh, and the food. So much good food.
I booked a Paris Seine River Cruise through Viator which included a three-course meal and came back around just in time to witness the dazzling Eiffel Tower light show surrounded by the stars.
Oh, and the food — so much good food. Not even joking, I got an éclair au chocolat everytime I walked passed a bakery. Every latte I had washed down smooth like a serenade. The mere vicinity of sleeping and walking near the Eiffel Tower seduces you at first sight. The experience of escargot deserves to be a local delicacy because it’s just that delicious and special. As someone who likes to peep the scene and decide if I’d be interested in one day living in Paris — who knows — the affordable grocery store and public transportation prices made it super easy for me to envision recreating my own A Midnight in Paris, embodying Ernest Hemingway’s quote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
Are you thinking of visiting Paris for the first time? Here’s what I learned, and here’s what I loved.
Bring bug spray.
In the summer anyway, it’s pretty humid outside. The humidity made me sticky, which in turn caused gnats and mosquitoes to not only become attracted to my mango-buttered arms and legs but also unable to escape them. I’d say, bring some Off! or make your own natural concoction (a combination of lemongrass, rosemary, and eucalyptus in distilled water and witch hazel does the trick).
Splurge on a nice room with a view.
If you can, do it for at least for one night of your stay! And if you have to limit it to one night, go with the first night that you get in. You will likely be extremely exhausted and mainly care about being in these three things: a clean space, a comfortable bed and a safe neighborhood.
I was so fortunate to stay at Les Ateliers de Montmartre, a luxury Parisian guesthouse just steps away from Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris), where I allowed the charming Dalí Suite to devour my tired body into its warmth of artistic divinity. Paying homage to surrealist painting pioneer Salvador Dalí, this loft suite-style bed and breakfast offered a spiritually serene view of something I will cherish with me forever. The bed was the perfect remedy to readjusting my spine for hours on end in a stuffy airplane seat, and the fans kept the space warm at night and cool during the day.
Give yourself a full day (and night) to enjoy the Eiffel Tower.
I visited around 3pm when the crowds started getting thick. The weather was nice, however, but the amount of people swarming the grass made it hard to play out the original picnic plan that I had thought of before arriving at the scene. Speaking of swarm, also note that you will likely be bombarded by an infestation of tourism traps in that area, so be prepared to never be in total vacation zone-out mode as you will have to constantly watch your belongings and fend off scammers asking you to buy their trinkets or sign their clipboards.
Since some daytime frolicking at the Eiffel Tower turned out to be more unnerving than relaxing, I decided to try going again the next day but instead, wanted to check out the evening scene. Having the most authentic, intimate experience in the historic 7th Arrondissement meant scheduling a cruise on the famous Seine River using TripAdvisor’s Viator attraction and tour finder. I found exactly what I needed by typing ‘Paris’ in the homepage search bar — the cruise provided a sophisticated three-course meal with a complimentary champagne toast accompanied by stunning views of Champs de Mars, Les Invalides, Notre Dame Cathedral, Pont Neuf, and of course, the Eiffel Tower. The ride ends right at the beginning of the famous light show, which is a sight all on its own.
Visit all the museums you’re able to!
Seriously. Hands down, the most beautiful pieces of Paris lie in its art and architecture. There are museums literally all over the city and it can be an overwhelming experience trying to catch them all in a small time frame with their opening and closing hours. Thanks to my Viator 2-Day Museum Pass, I was able to explore the city and visit as many museums as possible in just the right amount of time needed to do so. The best part of having the pass was being able to utilize a “skip the line” privilege to avoid chaotic tourist traffic in places like The Louvre, the famous museum which holds the iconic Mona Lisa portrait, or 855-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral. This pass gives visitors access to free entry at more than 50 area attractions, including the Arc de Triomphe, Musée du Cinéma, Musée National d’Art Moderne and more.
Have you been to Paris? Are you thinking of going?
Let me know if you’d like to see my personal itinerary! Go follow my page @DevriVelazquez on Instagram and comment on my latest post so that I can post it this week!