Two Days in Paris
Often times, while traveling, no plan is the best plan. Gone is the pressure of keeping a schedule, racing the clock or rushing from A to B. For most of us (myself included), the idea of urban unplugging is as foreign as the country or city you might be traveling through.
During a recent trip to Amsterdam, a few extra days offered some time to head south to nearby Paris. A city that needs no introduction, the French capital, almost begs for its residents and visitors to experience all it has to offer, IRL. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t spend a few moments to take things in – don’t fret, instagram can wait. This is especially true if you’re like me and avoid what would be considered any must see destination.
Paris has no shortage of visitors, I feel like somewhere it was listed as the most visited city in the world, however for those who return it’s a place with individual appeal. As someone who has adopted New York as their home, Paris hosts a lot of similarities, albeit in a, naturally, French way. Like New York, the city center is sprinkled with iconic architecture, museums and parks. People tend to dress well in both cities, and the food, well during a short stay the French may have the upper hand, but both places pack a culinary punch. Ultimately, the walkability of each location is what really joins the two together. Endless and aimless walking is great in either locale and affords a new experience every time, home or away.
Personally, there’s always been a lingering affection for Paris for me. It was the first international city I traveled to alone, it’s among two other European cities where navigation is comfortable and familiar (Rome & Amsterdam being the others), and now with multiple stays over the years, I have a list of favorited establishments. Ultimately, this leads me into doing much of the same things typically done at home in New York – walking, eating & taking in a drink. However, the walks a little slower, the dinners a little longer, and good wine seems to be present a little more frequently.
During this most recent – 48 hours – visit nothing changed. The cool weather was perfect for taking time to wander, occasionally stopping to refill the tank with a coffee, glass of wine, or both. The 16th century rental in the Le Marias was perfectly situated and provided a great beginning and end to each day. And with no agenda, lunch spilled into dinner and evenings ended bleary eyed. No plan, was the best plan.
If you go:
Le Bouledogue: This bistro, situated in Le Marias at 20 Rue Rambuteau, possess all the classic elements you’d expect with an unfussy atmosphere and menu to match. Pricing is fair and the wine list doesn’t disappoint.
Astier de Villatte: When ever traveling anywhere, I like to shop for things that are local and interesting. Astier de Villatte fits this bill and is one of my favorite stores of anywhere. The space alone is simple and beautiful, and their hand made ceramics (plates, cups, etc.) are incredible. Located at 173 Rue Saint Honoré, an area synonymous with shopping, it’s in the thick of it, but among good company.
A bottle of wine in Luxembourg Gardens: Unlike the U.S. of A, it’s ok to enjoy an adult beverage outside in public. Grab a bottle of wine from any number of sellers around town and settle into a couple of chairs in the park Luxembourg is especially nice (pictured below).
Deyrolle: Not exactly a secret per se, Deyrolle (pictured bottom) remains worthy of a visit. Home to a unique offering of hard to find taxidermy (think giraffes, an entire water buffalo or lion) this former institution for natural sciences is not only fun to walk thru, it’s a great place to grab something different to take home – i.e. an extinct African butterfly to display on a bookshelf.
Buy a scarf: The French love scarfs. They wear them well, and so should you. With any number of places to buy scarfs, don’t be swayed by the riff raff and head to one of the beautiful department stores around town. Unlike many counter parts, the Parisian department stores are impressive, inside and out. We’d recommend Printemps Haussmann, located at 64 Boulevard Haussmann, for not only their selection of scarfs and just about anything else, but also because of the rooftop terrace which affords incredible views over the city (pictured top).