The Bogtrotter

Paris for the weekend

by on Feb.19, 2009, under France, French Experiences

Why on earth would you go to Paris for the weekend? I can’t think of any good reason, apart from the iconic monuments, immense and diverse museums, chic cafe culture, and excellent food.

Arc De Triomphe at Dusk

Arc De Triomphe at Dusk

For those who haven’t been to Paris before, it’s hard to know where to start.  I would begin with a trip on the river boats – my personal favourites being the Vedettes du Pont Neuf which go from (unsurprisingly) beside the Pont Neuf bridge. The hour long voyage gives you the opportunity to get your bearings – as many of the key landmarks are visible from the Seine. The Eiffel Tower, Assembly National parliament building, the museums of the Louvre and d’Orsay, and Notre Dame Cathedral are all pointed out and described by the multilingual guides.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris several times, so I’ve visited all the must-do sites. However I still keep going back, as I just love the atmosphere of the place.

Paris is a city best explored on foot.  Make sure you wander the streets – you will be surprised what you find.  Every area of the city has hidden treasures, from churches to arches to covered markets.  When you get tired, rest over a drink in a cafe and spend time people watching.  This is a distinctly Parisian pass-time, and one every visitor should indulge in at some stage during their visit.

Parisian Cafe before opening time

Parisian Cafe before opening time

And when it comes to mealtime – be adventurous.  There are so many restaurants it’s hard to know where to start. In many cases it is the unasuming discreet places that turn up the best food.  Get some ideas from the guide books then just get out there and try something new.  My last visit included a meal at Petit Canard, which has a menu almost completely full of duck.  There was duck liver pate, duck leg, duck breast, duck cassoulet, duck sausage – if you don’t like duck then it’s not the place for you!

If you can’t find enough to do to fill a weekend in Paris, then you need to broaden your imagination.  Just don’t try to visit everything in your first visit.

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