Paris is the perfect European city break that offers so much to foodies, art lovers, culture lovers and lovers — a capital that is stunning and exciting all at once.
One Week in Paris
It was my third trip to Paris. I had only been for some overnight trips in the past – on my way to the French Riviera – so I never had the real chance to explore the city.
My sister and I wanted to meet in a city that was a direct flight from her home base in New York and my home base in Athens. We also went with Audrey Hepburn’s famous ‘50s quote of advice, “Paris is always a good idea.”
Finally, I was back. This time for a week.
With more time to explore, I discovered a Paris I absolutely love.
13 Things I Learned in Paris in 7 Days
Here are the things I learned in Paris, the City of Light and Love.
Amazing French Gastronomy
Today’s foodie fact. In 2010, French gastronomy was added by UNESCO to its list of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage.”
From sweets to gourmet dining, Paris shines. It is the home of so many Michelin-starred restaurants, fantastic creperies, stylish chocolatiers and we all know the French have a way with fine wine. Let’s not forget the little mom and pop neighborhood shops specializing in making cheese or bread. It is a city of great food across so many spectrums.
A beautiful meal by Michelin-starred Chef Jacques Faussat at his restaurant La Brasierie was simply unforgettable. Check out my full review: Michelin-Starred Dining in Paris
Stay tuned for my review on a street market tour with Succulent Paris.
Intense and Incredible: The Chocolate of Paris
I mention gastronomy above but chocolate must have its own place on my list. I love a good piece of chocolate and I almost turned into a piece after trying out so many of the creations on display at the Parisian chocolatiers.
I loved the expert insight by Original Food Tours. Our knowledgeable guide took us on a French Chocolate and Pastry Tour of the St. Germain district. Yes, it is another world here – an art – in fact.
There are so many gorgeous sparkling shops with windows that make you feel like you should be looking for diamonds in the displays – wait until I tell you what you should expect inside. In Paris, you not only get divine chocolate you get it full of style.
One pretty popular way Parisians get around their large metropolis is by bike. I am a bit jealous that Athens doesn’t share a bike-friendly mentality like other European cities.
I always thought bicycling is a wonderful way to get around so I was thrilled take on the experience with Blue Bike Tours. I didn’t have to think about getting lost, I just followed our trusty guide who pointed out the best off-the-beaten-path sights of the city along the way. Check out my post on what it was like breezing through Paris’s central districts on two wheels! -> Blue Bike Tours: Bicycling in Paris
Artistic Inspiration is Everywhere
Here, art is appreciated. Once you spend even a little time exploring Paris you can understand why artists and writers from around the globe have flocked here to live or at least experience life here for a while.
There are amazing museums. I visited the Louvre and was happy to admire to my favorite sculpture the Winged Victory of Samonthrace.
It was my first time to the Musee d’Orsay — what a collection! An Impressionism lover’s dream.
I also learned about Paris street art which I found creatively unique and fun.
Paris is historically a haven for inspiration among writers too. Think Hemingway… Fitzgerald. Then consider the fashion world, another subject all on its own.
The beauty and energy of Paris is for the creative.
Paris is Romantic
Hanging out at the Trocadero reminded me a bit of the scenes I see on Santorini or Mykonos.
I was surrounded by starry-eyed lovers or newlyweds who have crossed the world to get married or have their honeymoon or simply be in view of Paris’s beauty. Good choice.
Touristy Stuff is Impressive
Think Eiffel Tower, Sacre-Coeur, Montmarte and Versailles which are all top on the tourist list and rightly so.
If you have never been to Paris, approaching these sights will likely make you say, “Wow.” For those who have seen some of them before but want to be wowed again (like me), it is totally worth it.
Land of Perfume
Okay, France is famous for it. In Paris, I loved seeing and popping into a few fragrance boutique shops selling such glorious incense, candles, sprays and candles. Parisians would bustle in to buy their regular scents.
Ever heard of cotton flower? Loved it! I’m smelling it right now as the candle burns in my living room.
If I were to construct a park in a dream, it would look and smell like the parks of Paris. The city maintains lovely and elegant green spaces bursting with aromas, lush greenery and classic outdoor sculptures. The weather was gorgeous and Parisians took to their beautiful parks to enjoy the season.
The Corner Bistro/Brasserie
I’ve lived or visited in cities where every corner in the city center boasts a chain coffee shop, like Starbucks. Well, every corner in Paris pretty much boasts a charming bistro or brasserie perfect for a nice meal, drink with friends, coffee or people watching.
I love languages and I regret I never learned much French. We didn’t have a problem at all speaking English but it is just such a nice language to be surrounded by. I vow to learn more before I head back.
This time as I explored the city for a week, everyone was so helpful and nice. We met so many friendly Parisians.
Paris is Beautiful by Day and Night
It’s true. You walk around by day, and there are so many pretty corners worthy of photographing. Wide, tree-lined boulevards, street life, iconic structures, elegant and sophisticated architecture.
You walk around by night, the darkness that cloaks the city only seems to make it just that more seductive. I agree with those who say that Paris is one of the most – if not the most – beautiful city in the world
Paris is a Unique Destination
Another one of the things I learned in 7 days in Paris was why the French capital inspired quotes like these:
“Paris is so very beautiful that it satisfies something in you that is always hungry in America.” – Ernest Hemingway
“Paris is the greatest temple ever built to material joys and the lust of the eyes.” – Henry James
“Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.” – Honoré de Balzac
Stay tuned for more about my food and travel adventures in Paris. Don’t miss a post! Be sure to sign up for my newsletter.
A great resource to visit to plan your trip is the Paris Tourist Office website.
I hope to visit Paris soon and wander through more neighborhoods, try more French cuisine and so much more. The list is really endless. It’s a city full of life and I’ll say it again… oh, so beautiful indeed!
Have you ever explored Paris? If so, what would you add to this list.