I will never forget my very first time in Paris. I had just turned 14 and my parents decided to take my sister and I to the City of Lights for a couple of days. It was sometime in the 80’s and the TGV, the high speed train, had just been introduced. This new, super fast train, made traveling from Bern to Paris non-stop and a breeze.
Quite a few memories remain from that visit. Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen and Le Magasin Tati, shopping heaven for bargain hunters, or teens on a limited budget. The incredible grandeur of Versailles impressed me forever with its lavishly decorated halls and perfectly manicured gardens. Dinner in a typical French restaurant, somewhere along the Seine river. A charming French waiter who traced a heart of whipped cream on my dessert, timidly asking my parents if he could take me out that night. Me, deeply embarrassed and the laughing stock of my sister. Needless to say, the trip left an everlasting impression.
A couple of years later, I returned to stay for a year. The city was still beautiful; but had become somewhat more menacing. I spent my mornings working as a nanny in one of the suburbs and the afternoons perfecting my French at the Alliance Francaise in the 6e arrondissement. Most of my free time I spent roaming around Paris, discovering every nook and cranny, meticulously following the different walks suggested in Michelin’s Guide Vert. For almost a year, I discovered Paris inside and out. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I’ve returned many times since but this summer was going to be different. I was headed in that direction with my girls and it was their very first time. We only had about 48 hours but I absolutely wanted them to see Paris, even if it was just for a day. It was an incredible experience to watch them get excited, show interest, and wanting to discover more.
Here are a few pictures from our day visiting some of my personal highlights in the city. Enjoy!
Our first stop, the carousel at the Parc de Bercy. This is probably Paris’ newest park which is beautiful and consists of 3 different gardens, The Romantic Garden, The Flower Beds and The Meadows. There was no chance we could leave the carousel, without enjoying one of the enormous “barbe à papa” (cotton candy or loosely translated, daddy’s beard).
Next on the list was one of my very favorite places in Paris. La Place des Vosges, home to Victor Hugo’s house, located in the area called Le Marais.
We headed towards Les Quais de la Seine, the boardwalks by the Seine river where until today, you can find merchants selling old books, magazines, posters and paintings.
Lively St. Michel made for the perfect lunch stop. We opted for Indian food at Le Safran and enjoyed a lovely lunch in their upstairs area.
Le Louvre was already closed when we got there but no matter what, it is beautiful to look at. I remember the controversy of the pyramids when they first installed them and today they are an integral part of these ancient buildings. If you go, make sure to check out La Pyramide Inversée, the inverted pyramid as well, which acts as a skylight.
We went on to Le Jardin de Tuileries (the Tuilerie gardens) where the summer carnival was in full swing. We did go on the Ferris wheel which was incredibly overpriced and honestly said, not worth the money. I was however able to get some nice shots. Can you spot La Défense, Le Musée d’Orsay, Les Invalides, Opéra Garnier and Sacré-Coeur?
Dawn was setting in as we headed North to the Montmartre area, one of my absolute favorites because of the incredible view. That evening, it was incredibly busy due to it being Le 14 juillet (Bastille Day).
We decided to head back to the Tuileries to watch the fireworks and walked towards Pigalle where the Moulin Rouge is located.
We enjoyed the fireworks from a distance and then traveled back to the hotel for a last night in Paris.
Bonne nuit mes amis! We had a great time, short but sweet. We will be back!
Written by STEFANIE PICHONNAT
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner and travel consultant at AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm customizing travel itineraries for discerning customers. With her extensive travel experience in France and Paris, she can help you create a wonderful trip. Contact Stefanie at firstname.lastname@example.org