Paris is, without a doubt, one of the singularly most intoxicating places on earth. Without meaning to you can stumble into the world’s best Pâtisserie or Fromagerie and experience pure bliss with each bite that you take of the macaroon or triple-cream cheese. And of course, unless you are very careful, you will never be able to find that same corner shop again. In my opinion, however, that’s half the fun. As a lifelong Francophile, and a Parisian at heart, I was the happiest person on earth when the opportunity was presented to me to study abroad in Paris while completing my undergrad. While I was there, I had some of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.
Paris is a city best seen on foot, and one of my favorite walks is the famous Champs-Élysées. The glittering strip is home to the best shopping in the world, and beyond that, a window into the different eras of French history. I have always been attracted to the bohemian Paris that gave rise to the impressionist movement, as well as lending inspiration to writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Victor Hugo. One of my favorite things to do after a morning walking around was to grab a cup of café au lait, sit at one of the sidewalk cafes, and watch the world go by.
I would highly recommend attending sunrise mass at Notre Dame. In my opinion, it is the best way to fully take in the stained glass. The cathedral is positioned so that as the sun begins to rise, the first rays of the morning gently touch the glass, slowly illuminating it from the bottom to top, until all of the colors are glowing. I don’t think I heard a single word from the service; I was so transfixed by what was happening. Afterwards, I would recommend grabbing a nutella crepe from one of the many sidewalk stands in the area and going to visit Les Bouquinistes- the booksellers whose open-air stalls are arranged along the Seine.
One of the city’s must-sees is Père Lachaise Cemetery. It is home to some of the cities most celebrated figures – such as Edith Piaf. You will also find the graves of other notables such as Oscar Wilde, Frederick Chopin and Jim Morrison. Another one of my favorite areas of the city is the artist’s quarter of Montmartre. There you will find Sacre Coeur, the original Moulin Rouge, as well as any number of street artist’s who will sketch your portrait for a few Euro.
In the city of love, light and gastronomical delight you will regularly find yourself falling head over heels. Every day is an opportunity for a new adventure and each of those adventures will remain unforgettable.