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Rediscovering Paris Time and Time Again:

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Written by Angela Huang Walsh, Date October 2023
Arc de Triomphe flying the French Flag
Arc de Triomphe

Paris, a city that evokes myriad emotions. Is it the enchanting City of Lights, radiating romance, art, history, awe-inspiring architecture, and palate-altering cuisine? Or is it a city known for elusive pickpockets and locals occasionally brisk with tourists navigating a bustling metropolis of high prices and "Parisian haughtiness"? "Paris, a city you either adore or abhor," they say. Personally, I firmly belong to the former camp, and after gracing its streets over a dozen times, I'm here to share my enduring love affair with this captivating city. The initial visit is a unique tourist experience—the awe of witnessing the Louvre's grandeur or the Eiffel Tower bathed in radiant nighttime glory. Subsequent visits transform into a gradual unveiling of a deeper connection with the city. Paris continuously reveals new facets that keep you enthralled. It's akin to an enigmatic lover, forever keeping you guessing. Just when you think you've unraveled her mysteries, she evolves, becoming more intricate and captivating. It's not just about history, art, fashion, and culinary trends; it's the blend of preserving cultural heritage while seeking innovation that defines Paris. It's a city that should excite and enthrall you. My initial trips to Paris primarily revolved around work, collaborating with fabric weavers, silk printers, and venerable mills, whose offices house furniture and material archives older than the United States itself. I gradually explored iconic landmarks like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame across several visits. Instead, I relished leisurely afternoons in Parisian cafes, sharing repasts with the working class, navigating the metro system with occasional missed stops. It was during these moments that I learned a simple "bonjour" or "salut," followed by "pardon, parles-tu anglais?" could elicit assistance from Parisians eager to guide a lost traveler and share their cherished "hidden gems." These aren't the places where Instagram enthusiasts flock for a picture-perfect shot; these are spots where you savor life in a truly diverse and unapologetically romantic city. Like all great romances, Paris offers that initial spark, followed by discovery, questioning, and ultimately, true love. When your closest friend, your kindred spirit, implores you to reveal why you hold Paris in high esteem, how do you plan a trip that blends the wonder of a first-time visitor with the intimacy of a seasoned explorer? Here's my secret: focus on a shared hobby that traverses this enriching city together.


Musée Yves Saint Laurent - his muslin inspirations for his designs
Musée Yves Saint Laurent

Paris is for FASHION:

For those passionate about fashion, Paris isn't just a tourist destination; it's a stylish adventure that transcends sightseeing. This is a journey through the City of Light, seen through the discerning eyes of a true fashion enthusiast.

Couture Awakening and Haute Couture Promenade - Begin your stylish journey by stepping into the legendary design studio of Musée Yves Saint Laurent. Immerse yourself in the world of this fashion icon and explore curated exhibits featuring YSL's groundbreaking designs, from iconic "Mondrian" dresses to timeless tuxedos. Then, venture into the heart of Paris's fashion scene—the Champs-Élysées, leading to the Golden Triangle. Stroll along Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V, home to luxury giants like Louis Vuitton, Hermès, and Prada. Revel in opulence and haute couture artistry with the Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop.

Lunch with A Taste of Elegance - Satisfy your appetite for fashion and cuisine with a visit to Le Bon Marché. While here, indulge in the delectable offerings of La Grande Épicerie, a gourmet food hall within the store. Dine amidst epicurean delights and soak in the ambiance of this culinary and fashionable haven.

Hidden Gem Hunt - As a true fashion aficionado, you know that real treasures often lie off the beaten path. In the charming districts of Canal Saint Martin and Le Marais, explore cobblestone streets and eclectic boutiques, emerging designers, and hidden vintage shops that harbor unique fashion finds. St. Germain du Prés is another such area where a treasure trove of boutiques exuding unique points of view, where you can uncover fashion and handmade jewelry pieces with character and history.

A Grand Finale - Conclude your fashion education with a visit to La Galerie Dior, located in a stunning townhouse at the exclusive intersection of Avenue Montaigne. This quintessentially Parisian experience immerses you in the history of Parisian Haute Couture, embodying elegance, craftsmanship, and an adoration for women, much like Dior himself. Then, at the heart of Place Vendôme, you'll find 31 Rue Cambon, where Coco Chanel's apartment and first designs originated. Her brand, still a symbol of luxury and class, sits in memory of her legacy.

Where Fashion and Art Unite - Head to Café Marly, nestled in the Louvre's covered walkways. This iconic café, adored by fashion elites and art enthusiasts, offers views of the illuminated Louvre. Savor classic French wines or expertly crafted cocktails in an atmosphere of sophistication. Café Marly, a Parisian symbol of elegance, invites you to mingle and people-watch, creating a timeless ending to your stylish Parisian adventure.


Maison de Victor Hugo stain glass window
Maison de Victor Hugo

Paris is for ART & LITERATURE:

Discovering Paris through the eyes of an art and literature enthusiast means you’re in for a real treat. Paris is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. The city's most cherished gems, each brimming with its own unique allure and significance.

Contemporary Art Haven - Let's begin your journey at the Bourse de Commerce, a magnificent Belle Époque rotunda that once bustled with the commodities exchange of Paris. Today, it's reborn as the Pinault Collection's home, housing contemporary art curated by François Pinault. Here, you'll immerse yourself in the ever-evolving world of modern creativity within the embrace of this historical edifice. This place is where your child and your inner child get to play with art, bringing joy and delight while admiring its grandeur.

Artistry Meets Architecture - Your next destination is the Louis Vuitton Foundation, a masterpiece designed by Frank Gehry. Beyond its awe-inspiring architecture, it harbors a remarkable collection of contemporary and modern art. The melding of art and design in this space is a testament to human creativity at its finest. This museum and cultural center is located in the Bois de Boulogne, overlooking the Jardin d'Acclimatation where even the location is transformative.

Monet's Reverie - Dedicate a day to the Musée de L'Orangerie, a tranquil oasis nestled in the Tuileries Gardens. This hallowed institution beckons lovers of Impressionism with Monet's Water Lilies gracing its hallowed halls. Here, you'll be enveloped in an ambiance that soothes the artistic soul, offering a respite amidst the bustling city.

A Time Capsule of Creativity – Your journey through artistic epochs continues at the Musée d'Orsay, once a bustling railway station. Here, a rich tapestry of 19th and early 20th-century art unfolds before your eyes. Works by luminaries like Monet, Van Gogh, and Degas offer a glimpse into the spirit of artistic innovation during their times.

Literary Retreat - We mustn't forget the literary luminaries who've left their mark on Paris. Let's explore the Maison de Victor Hugo, where the great author of "Les Misérables" and "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" once called home. As you step into this hallowed space filled with personal artifacts and literary history, you'll gain insight into the life of a literary giant.

Inspiring Vistas - As lovers of literature, you'll cherish the enchanting allure of the Seine River bookstalls, known as The Bouquinistes of Paris. These centuries-old treasures, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, offer vintage tomes, rare editions, and literary treasures set against the backdrop of panoramic views that include the Jardins des Tuileries and a stroll along the Seine with the iconic Eiffel Tower in the distance.


Literary Legends' Haven - Even when you take a well-deserved rest, the appreciation for literature need not stop. Let’s go to Harry's New York Bar, where literary legends like Hemingway and Fitzgerald once convened for spirited discussions. While sipping a cocktail, we can bask in the ambiance that has witnessed countless conversations that shaped literary history.

Where Creativity Converges – Of course, there is the everlasting, iconic Café de Flore, a true Parisian café. Once the preferred gathering spot for writers and artists, it continues to exude an ambiance steeped in creativity. Here, over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, you can savor the echoes of conversations that have fueled countless creative minds throughout history, long before the perfectly-lit-and-filtered-photos of their famous hot chocolate became the embodiment of art itself.

A Night of Artistic Splendor – For true art appreciation, journey reaches its zenith with a private, guided, in-depth night tour of the Louvre. As you wander through this vast repository of art, including the enigmatic Mona Lisa, we'll be enveloped in the intimate and immersive setting that only a closed-to-the-public night tour can provide.

A Stroll Through Artistic Heritage - Finally, slow down the pace with a separate visit in Montmartre, perched on a Parisian hill. Wander its winding streets, savor charming cafés, and immerse yourself in the rich history where Picasso, van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec once found inspiration. Explore Place du Tertre, where artists showcase their work, and La Petite Maison Rose, a beloved haven for aspiring writers. Stroll past art deco villas to Le Consulat Café, following in the footsteps of luminaries like Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob. Don't miss the iconic Moulin de la Galette, a 17th-century windmill that inspired Renoir's "Bal du moulin de la Galette.

These are the treasures of Paris that a devoted art and literature enthusiast holds dear. Paris is not simply a city; it is an inexhaustible wellspring of artistic and literary wonders, awaiting your embrace and appreciation.

Louvre at night
Louvre

Paris is for ARCHITECTURE & HISTORY:

Paris is a timeless fusion of architecture, history, and majesty. For those with an unwavering passion for both architecture and history, Paris beckons as a captivating voyage through centuries of European and French heritage. In this enchanting exploration of the city's iconic landmarks, you'll find each one to be a portal to the rich tapestry of history that has woven this extraordinary metropolis together.

Notre-Dame Cathedral (1345) - Nestled in the heart of Paris's historical tapestry is the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture dating back to 1300’s. Its soaring spires, intricate stained-glass windows, and majestic façade tell the story of medieval Paris and the enduring devotion of its people. Although tragically scarred by a fire in 2019, Notre-Dame remains a symbol of resilience, as painstaking restoration efforts continue to breathe new life into this iconic monument.

Pont Neuf: The Grand Old Bridge (1607) – You’ll journey through time on the Pont Neuf, paradoxically named the "New Bridge." This architectural marvel boasts a storied history as Paris's oldest standing bridge. Admire its graceful arches and the statue of King Henri IV, a symbol of peace and prosperity.

Hotels de Sens: Medieval Splendor (1519) - From there, transport yourself to the Renaissance period as you explore the Hôtel de Sens, a 16th-century architectural gem. Discover its turrets and courtyards and feel the weight of history in its ancient stones.

Le Centre Pompidou (1977) - Le Centre Pompidou, a beacon of modern architecture. With its bold exterior design featuring exposed pipes and vibrant colors, it epitomizes the innovative spirit of the 1970s. This era, marked by economic uncertainty and anxiety, paradoxically inspired a wave of creativity, freedom, romance, and beauty in French cinema and arts.

Jardin du Palais Royal (1633) - Step into the tranquility of the Jardin du Palais Royal, a serene garden, nestled within the Palais Royal. Stroll along its manicured alleys, encircled by historic arcades. The garden's understated elegance is a testament to the grandeur of France's royal past.

The Louvre Pyramid (1989) - Nestled within the opulent expanse of the Louvre Palace, the Louvre Pyramid offers a captivating interplay between tradition and innovation. While the palace, initially a royal stronghold sheltering invaluable art treasures, represents the historic core, the pyramid emerges as a testament to modernity. Designed by the renowned architect I. M. Pei, this architectural marvel beautifully marries the timeless legacy of the past with the bold vision of the present, creating a harmonious bridge between history and contemporary artistry.

Pont des Arts: A Bridge of Love and Art (1804) - Stroll across the Pont des Arts, a structure that has long been a symbol of love and romance. This pedestrian bridge, constructed with an intricate iron framework, is not only an architectural marvel but also a testament to Parisian passion. As you traverse its historic expanse, admire the countless love locks that adorn its rails, left by enamored couples as tokens of their affection. Beyond its romantic allure, the bridge offers picturesque vistas of the Seine River.

Pantheon (1790) - Pay homage to France's intellectual giants at the Panthéon. This neoclassical masterpiece houses the remains of luminaries such as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Victor Hugo, serving as a shrine to the nation's greatest minds.

Pont Alexandre III (1900) - Admire the ornate beauty of the Pont Alexandre III, a masterpiece of the Belle Époque, unveiled during the Exposition Universelle. Its gold-gilded lampposts, cherubs, and winged horses pay homage to the Franco-Russian alliance and Tsar Alexander III.

Eiffel Tower (1889) – For most, the symbol of Paris is Eiffel Tower, an iron marvel erected for the World's Fair. French engineer Gustave Eiffel used iron and the tower’s lattice –like structure to challenge convention at the time; showcasing the materials strength and versatility; to symbolize the dawn of modernity and the Industrial Revolution. As you ascend to its heights, you'll not only appreciate the intricate architecture below but also Gustave Eiffel's visionary work that forever transformed both Paris and modern architecture.

Arc de Triomphe (1836) - The magnificent Arc de Triomphe calls out to visitors, a grand commission by Napoleon Bonaparte to honor the bravery of French soldiers. Proudly symbolizing triumph and patriotism, it reigns at the vibrant heart of Champs-Élysées. Below, an engineering marvel of circling tunnels whisks visitors efficiently through the bustling streets, seamlessly connecting the past and present. Ascending its spiral staircase treats you to a panoramic view, beautifully blending historical significance with architectural grandeur.

Galleries Lafayette (1912) - Galleries Lafayette is an architectural marvel. Its Art Nouveau façade represents a pivotal moment in Parisian architecture, with intricate ironwork and embellishments. Inside, an exquisite stained-glass dome bathes the interior in natural light, showcasing the period's artistic focus. Today, the store masterfully blends architectural innovation with luxury shopping while preserving the opulence of the Belle Époque. Don't miss the rooftop offering 360° views, including the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre.

Sacré-Cœur Basilica (1914) - Your architectural exploration must include a visit to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, majestically perched atop Montmartre. This awe-inspiring monument, with its gleaming white domes and intricate Romano-Byzantine architecture, radiates a sense of purity and serenity. As it gazes over the city from its elevated position, it stands not only as a symbol of faith but also as a testament to the enduring resilience of Paris itself, offering a profound connection between the earthly and the divine.

Versailles (17th Century) – No visit to Paris is complete without a journey to the opulent Palace of Versailles. This magnificent palace, featuring the awe-inspiring Hall of Mirrors and impeccably landscaped gardens, not only whispers tales of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and his 17th-century absolute power but also stands as an enduring testament to the grandeur and architectural brilliance of that era.

Paris, a city where history is etched in stone and architecture is a living testament to the passage of time, invites you to traverse its boulevards, avenues, and hidden alleys. With every step, you'll journey through the ages, from medieval marvels to modern innovations, each landmark a chapter in Paris's enduring story.


Le Sergent Recruteur on Ile Saint-Louis for haute cuisine
Le Sergent Recruteur

Paris is for FOOD & CUISINE:

If you hold a profound love for food and cuisine, then Paris isn't merely a travel destination; it's a gastronomic mecca. While French cuisine has long held the gold standard for culinary excellence, Paris stands out as a vibrant melting pot of flavors and cultures, making every culinary exploration here a journey of delightful diversity and exquisite tastes.


Gourmet Beginnings – Embarking on a gourmet journey along the Seine, you'll uncover two exceptional classic French bistros. At Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie, nestled in the heart of Les Halles and serving Parisians for over a century, you can immerse yourself in an enchanting rustic ambiance while savoring quintessential French dishes like foie gras and escargot. This is a place where you might choose to blend in with the locals, observing Parisians amidst their bustling daily lives. In Quartier Latin, slow down and savor the flavors at Chez Fernand Christine, where delectable beef cheeks and the classic "Soupe à l'Oignon" await, all while surrounded by cozy red and white checkered tablecloths. For a more clandestine gem, consider Bistro de l'Oulette in Le Marais, an unassuming yet charming bistro serving some of Paris's finest Soup de Poisson and confit duck with casual elegance. Meanwhile, Arnaud Nicolas, situated at the base of the Eiffel Tower, boldly reimagines traditions with his "haute couture charcuterie," proudly declaring himself as a true embodiment of Paris. On the other end of the spectrum stands the historic 1580 “Silver Tower,” home to the legendary Tour d’Argent, renowned as the oldest restaurant in Paris. With its five floors overlooking the Seine, dining here is a grand experience. It's best to leave your meal in the chef's hands and prepare to be presented with the famous pressed duck, all while choosing from an impressive selection of 300,000 bottles of wine. Be sure to save room for the delightful Crepe Mademoiselle. If you're seeking the same legendary rotisseries in a more relaxed setting, head to La Rôtisserie d'Argent, where the seating arrangement ensures Notre Dame takes center stage with every bite. These diverse yet delightful establishments offer an excellent introduction to the captivating world of French cuisine.


Parisian Patisserie Delights - You’ll discover that the patisseries and boulangeries of Paris have long been regarded as the guardians of French heritage, dating back centuries to the royal courts and aristocratic salons of the 17th century. One of your first stops, Pastry Cyril Lignac in Chaillot, resides near the elegant Palais Galliera. This prestigious location has witnessed the intersection of art and fashion for decades, making it the perfect setting for an exceptional pastry shop. Here, you'll find pastries and desserts that reflect both Cyril Lignac’s passion for culinary innovation and his deep respect for tradition. When you step onto fashionable Rue Royale, you'll encounter the original Laudree, a patisserie that has enchanted visitors since the mid-19th century. Nestled among Europe's most distinguished antique jewelry stores, this Laudree location is a testament to timeless elegance and sophistication. The macarons crafted here have become legendary, capturing the essence of Parisian refinement. Making your way to Ritz Paris Le Comptoir, situated in the opulent Place Vendôme, boasts a storied history that mirrors the grandeur of its surroundings. This iconic hotel has played host to countless luminaries throughout the years, from royalty to Hollywood's elite. A stroll to Du Pain et des Idees by the picturesque Canal Saint Martin transports you to a bygone era. This historic bakery, dating back to the late 19th century, emanates an irresistible charm. Its rustic interior and traditional baking methods harken back to a time when craftsmanship was paramount in the world of bread and pastries. Lastly, La Maison du Mochi offers a unique blend of cultures, infusing traditional Japanese mochi with the modern allure of Paris. This fusion of traditions creates a delightful juxtaposition of flavors and textures, perfectly encapsulating the city's ever-evolving culinary landscape.


Modernity Steeped in Tradition - The current landscape of cuisine in Paris is a captivating blend of tradition and innovation. Begin your culinary exploration at Marché des Enfants Rouges, Paris's oldest covered market dating back to the 17th century. Here, a diverse array of food offerings awaits, from Moroccan tangine to Japanese bento boxes, alongside classic French dishes like Steak au poivre and moules marinière. This historical institution welcomes both busy Parisians and curious tourists to wander through a multicultural food haven. Walk down Rue des Rosiers in Le Marais, you’ll encounter a curious line snaking down the street leading to L'As du Falafel, located in the old Jewish quarter, each eagerly waiting for a perfect sandwich. Despite Paris's general aversion to stand-in-the-street dining, the lively atmosphere at this intersection, surrounded by bustling bookshops and luxury boutiques, is an exception. Inventive small plates, oysters in season, craft cocktails and natural wines in an open, airy space on a busy corner of Le Marais sits Le Mary Celeste. This place is the quintessential neighborhood hotspot. Ask a Parisian where to meet up, they’ll point you to Freddy’s. Being at this wildflower filled eatery serving each tapa on museum-quality ceramics feels as Paris as Paris can be. Modern French cuisine is defined by Frenchie, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in the trendy Le Sentier. This tasting menu features seasonal dishes where the petite elegant restaurant boldly redefines the DNA of “fine dining” for every true food connoisseur. Enter Le Sergent Recruteur, a historical tavern on Île Saint-Louis, the most elegant neighborhood in the city. There are no significant landmarks or attractions here, only picture-perfect views and classic 17th-century architecture. Its hushed and elegant entrance leads to a bright and artful contemporary interior, setting the stage for an impressive dining experience that balances formality with playfulness. Much like the culinary offerings, this restaurant serves as a reminder that tradition and innovation harmoniously coexist in the world of French cuisine.


These culinary destinations not only tantalize your taste buds but also offer a unique glimpse into the rich culinary heritage of Paris. Each eatery has its own story to tell, adding layers of flavor to your gastronomic journey through the heart of the city. So, embark on this culinary adventure and discover why Paris is truly a food lover's paradise.


Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe lobby glass candy sculptures
Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe

Paris, the City of Light,

continues to beckon travelers from around the world with its enchanting blend of history, culture, and passion. Whether you're drawn to its fashion, art, architecture, or culinary delights, Paris reveals itself as a city that evolves with each encounter. It's a place where new discoveries intertwine with timeless classics, creating an ever-renewing tapestry of experiences. So, I ask you, fellow traveler, which of these captivating ways to discover Paris calls out to your heart? Let your passions guide your journey, and let each visit be a testament to the city's ability to reinvent, again and again. Paris, indeed, is a love affair that stands the test of time.




Where to Stay :

For Fashion Lovers: Le Meurice

  • Located in the heart of Paris, Le Meurice is a luxurious hotel that has long been a favorite among fashion enthusiasts. It offers elegant rooms and suites, some with views of the Tuileries Garden, and is known for its classic French decor. The hotel's Restaurant Le Meurice by Alain Ducasse is a Michelin-starred dining experience, perfect for those who appreciate culinary artistry.


For Art and Literature Lovers: Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris

  • Le Royal Monceau is a haven for art and literature enthusiasts. The hotel features an Art Concierge who can arrange private tours of the city's art galleries and museums. The hotel itself is adorned with contemporary art and even has an on-site art bookstore. The elegant rooms and suites are a blend of modern design and classic Parisian style.


For History Lovers: The Ritz Paris

  • The Ritz Paris is synonymous with history and luxury. Located in the Place Vendôme, this iconic hotel has been a favorite of royalty, celebrities, and historical figures for over a century. The hotel exudes Old World charm and features opulent rooms and suites. The Hemingway Bar pays homage to the famous author, making it a great spot for literary history enthusiasts.


For Foodies: Le Bristol Paris

  • Le Bristol Paris is a paradise for food lovers. The hotel boasts three Michelin-starred restaurants, including Epicure, which holds three stars and is renowned for its gourmet French cuisine. The hotel also has beautiful gardens where you can enjoy afternoon tea, and its rooms and suites offer a luxurious retreat in the heart of the city.


These hotels offer a unique blend of luxury and experiences tailored to the interests of different types of travelers in Paris. When booking with me, you'll receive killer perks like room upgrades, spa credits and more.






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