If you never go to Paris, can you know what love is—or whether or not French stereotypes are real?! Ha! I’m kidding, but it does feel pretty easy to get swept up in the romance of this city, and in French culture. On night one, we had traveled all day and were starving; we happened on a spot that had outdoor seating and seemed to be decently buzzing. I was trying to get someone’s attention to get us a table, but they wanted nothing to do with us, barely looked our way (ugh, the French! ha!) But I’m persistent, so we eventually got a seat outside. The cuisine was French (which, is not my favorite by any means) and the menu wasn’t overly pricing, but also wasn’t cheap. We ended up enjoying a really great meal. When we arrived at the hotel, we did some quick research and realized we had eaten at one of the top restaurants in the city!
But, for us, Paris wasn’t about the food—it was about the history and architecture. And for two architects, the blend of historic architecture and ample amounts of modernism meant we had a lot to cover, from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris and the Sainte-Chapelle, to the Centre de Pompidou and the new Fondation Louis Vuitton. And the Louvre…you need days to really see it all, and since our time was short, we relied on our trusty Rick Steves walking tour app so we could hit all the high notes. It’s an easy city to navigate, so we covered plenty of distance on the metro and still trekked between museum, monuments, and parks on foot, stopping at crêperies and pâtisseries for our French carb fix.
You can’t go to Paris without a day trip to Versailles. Go early—the line is daunting but you’ll make it in pretty quick. The tours are really great and the entire grounds are fascinating. You can spend so much time getting lost in the gardens. They were doing a bit of maintenance and upkeep in the gardens while we were there, so our favorite part was watching these guys push mow this fabulous, world-renowned property! That picture will always mean more to me than any pristine photo of shrubs and flowers, or even the hall of mirrors, that we captured that day.
Lastly, if I have any other recommendations for Paris the first would be to take wine and cheese and picnic at the Eiffel Tower because you can booze where you want! (Don’t worry—there are public toilets if you’re desperate!) And the other reco would be to visit the Eiffel Tower at different times of day. Nothing beats the lights at night, but twilight is pretty spectacular, and day time isn’t so bad either.