It didn't take much convincing to get me to move to Paris when I was 20 years old and a junior at university. My first trip was when I was 16 and the two weeks we spent wandering around the arrondissements and the gardens had me itching to return and stay for even longer.
I started taking french classes my freshman year and only wish I had taken them longer so that I could've had a better foundation when I got there. I spent the first 3 months getting down the small daily interactions like how to greet someone(Ça va?, Salut, etc..), to always say good bye and thank you as you leave a boutique or small store and memorizing the grocery stores that are closed on Sundays or Mondays in my neighborhood So here are some more tips for visiting my favorite city in the spring when everything is blooming and the sunsets will stop you in your tracks.
1. Luxembourg Gardens.
The Luxembourg Gardens was always one of my favorite places to sit and people watch.
2. Rue de Rosiers
There was nothing I loved more in the spring than walking around Le Marais. I would always end up strolling through Rue de Rosiers for their falafals (best falafals in the world!)and vintage shops. Le Marais (the old jewish quarter) is beautifully preserved with cobble stone streets and small store fronts that are inviting and full of intrigue. One day I was in search of a book for school and popped into a book shop on Rue de Rosiers and quickly turned around when I realized that it was a naughty gay book shop that probably wouldn't carry a 17th century novel by Voltaire. It was embarrassing but I immediately started laughing at myself the second I left.
3. Notre Dame + The Bell Tower
It was ridiculous that every day on my walk to school I got to walk past Notre Dame. It is absolutely stunning and the view from the top is even better. I had already been living there for 5 months before I climbed to the top with my cousin.
The view from the top is worth the 10-20 minute wait outside. I couldn't stop snapping my camera once I got to the walk way, you are able to see Sacré-coeur to your right and the Eiffel Tower to your left. Afterwards you can walk around the back of the church and sit in the peaceful park while admiring the buttresses and stained glass that often times get overlooked.
4. Cafés and café au laits
I highly encourage walking around the city and going down little streets and wandering around different arrondissements and inevitably you will easily stumble upon a dozen or so outdoor cafés just waiting for you to take a seat and flip through your travel books and sip cappuccinos.
5. Delacroix Museum
Yes the Louvre is an iconic Parisian landmark but wander off the beaten museum path a bit and visit the Delacroix Museum near St. Germain Des Pres. I had the luxury of having a student ID that got me into any museum for free so I took advantage of visiting some of the lesser known museums scattered around Paris. The Delacroix museum was a pleasant surprise because they had converted his old house into a gallery and just in back there was a beautiful little garden with benches and chairs to admire this space where he had been so creative.
Other museums worth a visit…
Musée de l'Oragnerie
Musée de la Mode et du Textile
Musée des Arts et Decoratif
Musée de Cluny
Marché aux Puces de St. Ouen
The markets in Paris can not be missed, even if you aren't out to purchase a 17th century chandelier, the atmosphere and small trinkets you'll find are well worth the visit. While markets take place year round in every corner of the city and every day of the week, when the weather gets nicer more vendors will be out and you'll be more willing to wander up and down the aisles admiring each stall.Here is a weekly guide to the markets in Paris.