Now that France is open to vaccinated U.S. travelers, many have come to me wanting to plan their own Parisian vacations (and many other regions in this beautiful country)! We all know about the famous museums and landmarks, so I thought now would be a good time to talk about all the cool things there are to do there that aren’t totally obvious.
1. Visit Ô Chateau for the absolute BEST wine experience! They offer so many options…ranging from a single glass of wine to a Champagne Cruise on the Seine to a full day small-group tour to the Champagne region of France! Did you know that sparkling wine can’t be called Champagne unless it is from this specific region? On one of the days that museums in Paris are closed, this nearby region is a convenient place to visit. You’ll only have time to choose either Reims or Epernay, so choose the one that offers you the experience you want. Some famous Champagne houses are Dom Pérignon, Moet et Chandon, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot.
2. Stop in to the L’Orangerie museum to get “up close and personal” with Monet’s incredible Water Lilies. This small museum is easy to get in and out of, usually with no crowds, and is a fantastic way to see some of the most amazing art in France – hassle free! CLOSED TUESDAY
3. One of the best values in the Paris art scene is the Sculpture Garden at the Rodin Museum. For only 1 Euro per person, you can wander around and view some of Rodin’s most famous works, including “The Thinker”. There is also a quaint café in the gardens if you want to enjoy a coffee or glass of wine with your culture! CLOSED MONDAY
4. Be sure to save a few hours to spend on the incredibly charming market street, Rue Cler (in the 7th arr). This is my favorite area of the city and you can find just about anything you might want to eat, drink, smell, see, hear or buy! If you are “munchy” try a freshly made crepe from the stand outside Ulysses restaurant…my kids started their day with one every day while we were there! CLOSED MONDAY
5. Buy the “fixings” for a great picnic at one of the many markets and eat “al fresco” for lunch! Where else can you enjoy such wonderful food in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame cathedral? A small bottle of slightly chilled French rose wine to share completes the experience!
6. It is hard to go too wrong with Parisian cafes and restaurants….look for places with locals who seem to be enjoying themselves….avoid the ones with big “WE SPEAK ENGLISH” signs and “TOURIST MENUS” advertised out front. Most all have English-translated menus if you ask. Remember that Parisian waiters are paid well…not like here in the US! Slow service is good service…you are basically in no rush…the meal IS the entertainment. (Unlike here where we grab a quick bite before a movie) You must ask politely for the check when you are ready to leave…a waiter will never bring your check spontaneously because they don’t want to seem to rush you…it is considered rude! Relax and enjoy the experience!
7. I know the Eiffel Tower is a “must” for many people, but there is really no reason to go all the way up to the top. The view is actually better from the 1st and 2nd levels since Paris is so flat. Reservations can (and should) be made at www.tour-eiffel.fr On the 1st level, there is a nice restaurant for lunch and you can walk around the perimeter that is marked with signs explaining what you are viewing – and if you have a reservation for the restaurant, you can bypass the massive line for the elevator. It is a great way to get the layout of the whole city without the crushing crowds at the top.
8. The Louvre is one of those museums that irritates the fire out of me! It is absolutely HUGE, hot and crowded…but everyone feels like they need to go. You don’t, unless you are a serious artist or art-history buff. If you really are in to art, be sure to purchase a Museum Pass that will act as your ticket to most of the major museums in Paris….AND the card lets you bypass most of the lines! CLOSED TUESDAY
If you think Paris is a good idea for YOU (or really France in general), you’re in luck! France is now open to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers! Click HERE to get started planning YOUR next trip to the City of Lights!
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