They say Paris is better in the springtime, but having lived in Paris while I was studying abroad, I have always preferred to visit when the leaves are turning colors, and when when the swarm of tourists is halfway gone (tourist season is never really over). Ah Paris! You are so beautiful and romantic, especially in the fall.
I love the city streets and the hustle and bustle of this old city. I also love the cafes and museums and fabulous shopping. My favorite cafe after long day of walking is the Cafe de Flore on the famous Boulevard Saint Germaine. This historic cafe has been a part of the intellectual history of France forever, and captures everything that is special about Paris. Food? Ambiance? Location? Chicness? Mais oui! All of these things come together for a spectacular afternoon. Just make sure to take a seat outdoors like I do. Again the great thing about visiting in the fall is that you never have to worry about the heat of the city, which can ruin a vacation, especially in Europe where air conditioner is not de rigeur. The Cafe de Flore is only a short walk to famed Parisan destinantions like Notre Dame, Luxemburg Gardens, Cluny Museum, and of course my old stomping grounds of La Sorbonne.
Even though I have been to Paris many times, I always find a way to return to see the Eiffel tower. Even though its image has been plastered everywhere, including in my mind, it is still an iconic building and worth visiting. Actually I dare you to try and avoid it.
Another favorite is the famed Louvre Museum. When I lived in Paris I used to go about its halls and wander around for hours taking in all the beauty of the Masters. So many important things happened in Paris, and in a city so multifaceted it's hard not to get caught up in this romance. The best thing to do is surrender, embrace it, and let go.
Of course there is also more than romance to Paris. There is also amazing shopping. The shoppes at the third arrondissement are to die for. You can find toy stores, vintage fashion stores, specialty stores and of course every shop of every designer you ever dreamed of. My two favorite stops here: Pring for shoes and Jacques Genin for bonbons.
In the quieter part of Marais you will find the oldest market in Paris, Le Marche des Enfants Rouges, the Centre Pompidou (modern art), the Musee Picasso and the National Archives. I love history so that's why Paris, with all its culture is such an attractive destination.
If you venture east of the third, you will find the first "development" planned for Paris, the Place the Vosges. Originally know as the Place Royale, it embodied the first European model of city planning. It was inaugurated in 1612 with a grand carrousel to commemorate the wedding of Anne of Austria and Louis XIII.
|Touring the galleries at Place de Vosges|
As far as nightlife goes, I love to visit the 8th arrondissement. Full of bars and clubs which shoot off to the Champs Elysees, this is a great place to get dressed up and and have some fun. This district also has one the most recognizable monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe, which are even lovelier to look at in the evening. If this is too much for you, then make a quiet escape to the graceful Parc Monceauor to the most beautiful bridge in Paris, the Pont Alexandre III.
|A night out at Montana with my friends Caro and|
designer Esteban Cortazar.
From day to night Paris is a grand city that has it all! It has really provided me with continuos inspiration throughout my design career. Culture, fashion, amazing energy, urban lifestyles, history, fabulous food, beautiful people...I mean I could go on an and on, but I will leave you with this quote from iconic Audrey Hepburn:
Ah yes...Paris. Mais oui!