A dream has been realized, to experience being in Paris in April, and that is what we were able to do for a couple of days this past month.
Granted, many others wished to do the same thing, and as it was the first spring since 2019 as the past two years travelers were not able to visit the City of Light, the crowds were abundant. But I did not mind a bit.
Arriving on April 13th in Paris after the city had been soaking up many days of rain and even snow, luck was with us (even though I do love rain), and the temperatures reached as high as 70 for each day we were there.
Today I would like to share with you 16 ideas for savoring Paris fully no matter how short your stay may be. As I have written about in my first book and referred to in my third, the Paris Syndrome is real, but the magic of Paris is real as well.
Admittedly, I thoroughly enjoy the French countryside and appreciate and utilize my time in Paris for punctuating my visits as my trips begin and then as I conclude them before making my way to the airport or heading to England via the Eurostar. While in Paris, I give myself a day or two to soak up opportunities to explore exhibits, try new and different restaurants, step inside places I am most curious about as there is always something I have yet to see with my own eyes or simply sit on a terrasse and watch the city go about its day. The energy, the city itself is like no other, and it does seem to breathe new life, excite new ideas and bring them to the forefront for my attention to cease.
My recent trip found me traveling with my mother who I invited to join me as I wanted to get my feet back onto the terra firma of the two countries I adore and write about here on TSLL after the nearly three year hiatus. With this being my mother’s first trip to either country (France and Britain), I decided against stepping outside of Paris and instead tried to give her a taste of what makes the City of Light so special. Seeing so much in the span of just under three days was a bit overwhelming, but each experience was quite special. However, with this being my seventh visit to Paris, it solidified even more concretely what I enjoy spending my time doing when I visit no matter how much time I have and what enables me to truly savor, appreciate and revel in any opportunity to be there in person. Let’s take a look at the list.
~Note to readers: I speak in more detail about each point in the audio version of this episode. Be sure to tune in or download the episode.
1.Settle into your vacation rental or hotel
We had the opportunity to stay in a vacation rental from Paris Perfect, and it made all the difference. Located ideally in the 7th arrondissement, the Saint Julien comprised of two rooms, two bathrooms, a large living room and well-stocked kitchen with beautiful views just one block from Champs de Mars. I will be writing a detailed post of our accommodations and Paris Perfect to be shared later this week.
2. Peruse the neighborhood boulangeries and be curious to visit multiple ones, a different one each morning and/or afternoon
3. Begin the day with a fresh baguette or croissant or pain aux chocolat (or your preferred treat from the boulangerie)
4. Schedule a late lunch at a café or brasserie to follow a morning visit to a museum or shop(s)
5. Spend time in the morning, afternoon or evening at one of the many jardins
The many well-known parks in Paris at the heart of the city (Tuileries, Luxembourg, Trocadéro, Jardins du Palais Royal) are most definitely destinations to spend time, but don’t forget the many others such as Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th, Parc Monceau in the 8th, Parc Montsouris in the 14th, the Parc Floral de Paris in the 12th and Les Jardins des Plantes, Parc de Belleville in the 20th and for a more modern parc – Parc André Citroën in the 15th along the Seine.
6. Don’t schedule too much, just let yourself flow with your energy through the day
7. Find an lesser-known restaurant, but well-known in the arrondissement you are staying to dine at for dîner
8. Choose to order the Plat du Jour
9. Visit a brocante on Saturday or Sunday
Most famously, visit Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen.
- Saturday-Monday in the 18th (see my detailed post here sharing 11 tips for visiting and shopping at Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen)
Marché aux Puces de la Porte de Vanves (in the 14th)
- Opening hours:Sat, Sun 7am-2pm
- Avenue Marc Sangnier and avenue Georges Lafenestre
- Transport:Métro Porte de Vanves
Les Puces de Montreuil in the 20th,
- more of a local favorite as fewer tourists know about it, have patience and enjoy finding your treasures.
10. Visit a chocolatier in the afternoon and treat yourself
À La Mère de Famille chocolatier, many locations; however, we popped into the shop on Rue Cler in the 7th.
11. Find the weekly Marche in your arrondissement and visit during open hours
Bring your market tote or trolley, and stroll, wander and pick a few items whether you simply want to nibble on them back at your vacation rental or cook a meal while staying in for a few hours, just to spend time to gaze at all is available is a treat for the senses as the seasonal offerings are fun to explore.
12. Find a seat at a café, sip a chocolat chaud, a French thé or a café au lait and lose track of time
13. Enjoy an omelette for lunch (or dîner)
14. Purchase a ticket to visit a limited-time only art exhibit
15. Enjoy a glass of champagne with a serving of fresh oysters
While this is a list drawn from what I have found to deepen my moments to savor in Paris, you will no doubt have those simple pleasures and luxuries that take your breath away. So long as we honor what speaks to us, follow our curiosities and let go of doing what we think we should while we are in Paris (or any travel destination for that matter), the trip and the memories of the trip will be all the richer, vivid and life lifting.
Wishing you a wonderful time in Paris whenever you may be visiting her. Bonne journée.
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—TSLL’s Classic Chocolat Chaud, Parisian Café-inspired
SIMILAR EPISODES/POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Watch the recent Virtual Book Chat for The Road to Le Papillon: Daily Meditations on True Contentment in the recorded event below, hosted by Bend’s local bookshop Roundabout Books.
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #328
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