Here in France, the holiday season is officially behind us, which means it’s back to work, school, and our regularly scheduled lives. It also means that it’s time to look ahead and try to decide how you want to spend the next 12 months. I know that for myself, my New Year’s resolutions usually include something along the lines of “Travel More!” If you’re in the same boat, I hope you’ll consider a trip to Paris in the coming year. There’s so many reasons to visit this incredible city, but below I’ve listed some of my favourite ones for why you should visit Paris this year.
Notre Dame Cathedral
I am well aware that there are extraordinarily beautiful cathedrals located all over Europe, and while Notre Dame isn’t the biggest or the oldest, it’s still by far my favourite. From the sounds of the bells tolling over the plaza, to the soaring rose windows that are the largest in Europe, this is a building that will not disappoint. I am lucky enough to work as a tour guide at this incredible building, and even though I see it every week, I never get tired of the view.
Museums, Museums, and More Museums!
It doesn’t matter where your interests lie, I promise there is a museum for you to be found in Paris. From one of the largest museums in the world, to the small little gems specializing in everything you could possibly imagine, Paris has over 70 museums to choose from, meaning there’s so much to explore. A personal favourite of mine is the Cluny Museum in the Latin Quarter, where you can see the famed The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, as well as the remains of Roman Baths that are nearly 2,000 years old. Side note, I often get asked which is better: the Louvre or the Orsay? No disrespect to the Mona Lisa, but the Orsay wins every time.
The Iron Lady
It’s a cliché, but the Eiffel Tower is one of the most recognizable and most visited monuments in the world for a reason. For myself, I always recommend visiting the tower at night. Parisians might run me out of town for this opinion, but the nightly lights that sparkle every hour on the hour really put the light in the city of light.
Going to the Theatre
Yes, yes. I know. I’ve written before about how much I love theatre, so I’m probably biased on this one, but how could I live in Paris and not take advantage of its theatre scene? With over 200 theatres in this city, there’s plenty of places to take in a live show every night, and if you don’t speak French, don’t despair! There’s plenty of options for you, including Theatre in Paris, a company that provides subtitles for some of the biggest shows in town. Use the promo code storyofacity to get 15% off your tickets.*
Shop Til You Drop
If you love to shop, this is the city to visit. No matter what you’re looking for or what your budget is, Paris has got you covered. Looking for cute little boutiques and vintage shopping? Head over to the Marais where you’ll find stores selling every niche item you can imagine. Looking for something to read? Head to the Latin Quarter where you’ll find dozens of bookshops in that neighbourhood alone. Just looking for a generic shopping mall? Head to Les Halles where you can marvel at the architectural wonder that is The Canopy.
The French take meals very seriously and their food reflects this. Also, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to break the bank to eat well in this city. Yes, it is possible to drop hundreds of Euros a plate if you want to, but one of my personal favourite restaurants serves a fantastic two course meal for just 18 Euros. It’s called Vins et Terroirs, it’s in the Latin Quarter, and if you tell them Laura the tour guide sent you, you’ll usually get an extra smile. I’m a regular.
It’s French wine. Need I say more?
I know I’m going a bit overboard on the food and drink category here, but French bread really deserves its own category. You haven’t had a proper baguette until you’ve tried a fresh out of the oven baguette tradition from a true French boulangerie. Take one of these with some cheese and wine to sit along the River Seine, and you’ll truly feel like a local.
A Night at the Movies
France has one of the most storied and celebrated cinema industries in the world. From world famous film festivals to the countless historic cinemas in Paris, this is the country that literally invented motion pictures, and they are extremely proud of this heritage. Visit the historic Grand Rex, the largest cinema in Europe, or take in a French film with the help of English subtitles by Lost in Frenchlation, and enjoy your night at the movies.
Take a Tour
I’ll admit, I’d love to have you on one of my tours, but if I can’t entertain you in person please heed my advice. Take a tour while you’re in Paris. Any tour. You’ll learn things and see things you would have otherwise missed, and there is a whole city of guides waiting to make history come alive for you. For more information on the tours that I offer please click HERE, and if you can’t join me, I hope you’ll join another guide for a stroll through this beautiful city.
Paris is Waiting For You
I hope you have been inspired to visit Paris in the coming year, and if so, I hope to see you on one of my tours. However, if visiting Paris is not in the cards don’t worry. I understand that there are numerous reasons why it may not work out, which is why I’m determined to bring the magic of Paris to you. Over the next year I’m going to be rolling out new content and features that will tell you the stories of this city and the hidden gems that make it so special. It’s going to be a great year, I can feel it.
Happy New Year and Bonne Année!
*except How To Be Parisian in One Hour and Chicago