If you’re looking for an all encompassing experience that combines the elements of one of the most romantic cities in the world – look no further. Paris is a beaming city that radiates beauty day and night, and there are countless opportunities to appreciate all that the city has to offer. After traveling there twice for media seminars, I want to highlight activities and experiences that made my time there incredible.
When traveling in a foreign country and anywhere new, try to envision the concept of getting “lost” along the way. It’s essential to roam along the side streets, discover the cozy tucked away restaurants, and enrich yourself in the local culture, history and people of the city. Here are some Parisian hot spots and pointers you don’t want to miss.
Live it up underground – in cave bars.
While there are several satisfying pubs, bars and hangouts in this chique city, some of the most interesting ones give you access to the allure of an underground cave bar. My favorite was Le Violon Dingue , located at 46 Rue de la Montagne Sainte Geneviève. Many of these bars are open regularly on the top level and then grant access to their underground areas at a specific time later in the evening, to keep the party and dancing going on below. You’ll feel like you’re in a different world as you transcend the steps into a cave portal. Dance the night away for an unforgettable experience.
Try crazy “lieux fous” places.
One of my best experiences was the distinctive fondue restaurant Le Refuge des Fondus on 17 Rue des Trois Frères, where you drink wine from baby bottles and dip scrumptious bite size food into creamy fondue.
Kooky? Yes. Satisfying? Definitely. The walls are covered in signatures from visitors near and far, and they still let you sign it wherever you want. The tiny place is jam-packed, but the wait is worth it. It sounds silly but trust me, it’s one of those places that you’ll rave about later to your friends and family.
Pub hop around.
You’ll not only get a sense of Parisian life at the local pubs, but also a taste of the surrounding countries and accents. Both times I visited Paris I spent time at The Long Hop Pub on Rue Frederic Sauton and had the greatest times. Whether it was socializing over high tables, dancing a little to the DJ’s beats, or even playing some laid back drinking games, the Long Hop offers a little for everyone. Chat it up with people from around the world and truly make the most of being close to other countries that are as near to France as the states are to each other.
Don’t plan all your excursions.
While walking the Champs-Élysées and planning dinners for the most anticipated places is satisfying and expected, some of the best meals and memories I have are at places I didn’t even plan to go. Whether it’s a café or boulangerie, one of the simple joys of the city is finding little local cuisines and popping in an out of all the boutiques along the way.
Café du Marché is one such place you can find at 38 Rue Cler, and it boasts all the exciting French dishes within reasonable pricing. Try delicious meals such as foie gras de canard (duck) or snack on a classic planche charcuterie (assortment of cooked and cured meats) which can be found at almost any café. Pair your meal with a glass of wine for a flawless combination. Parfait!
Wander exhibits at night.
It may seem necessary to plan all your tours and sightseeing during the daytime, but don’t underestimate an evening stroll at many of your desired hot spots.
Waiting to walk the grounds at the Louvre and its surrounding streets was one of my best decisions. Not only was it less crowded, but it made for a leisurely adventure where I was able to be completely enthralled by the beauty of the city’s illumination at night. And of course the Eiffel tower sparkles every hour on the hour – don’t miss it!
Do Cabaret dinner in Montmartre.
While this one may be the most cliché item on the list, it’s one of the oldest experiences Paris has to offer. Imagine strutting through the cobblestone paths and delighting in dinner and a show at a fabulous piano bar. There’s more of a variety than you would think when it comes to the cabaret entertainment choices. I ventured to La Bonne Franquette at the corner of Rue des Saules & Rue Saint Rustique. Our large group from the seminar enjoyed a cabaret in their Salle Aristide Bruant room.
The interactive experience was a magnificent mix of classic French can-can dancers, an order of escargots and songs with piano music. There are numerous shows you can choose from in the area that include singers, artists, piano bars, and even drag queens. Read about the restaurants at syndicat d’initiative de Montmartre by visiting this website that provides a guide for everything you need to know. Make reservations to guarantee a stress free evening, and don’t forget to see Sacré-Cœur pre or post dinner.