The unrequited love, the unshattered glass ceiling, the invite-only soiree – Paris is well defined as the relationship adolescents pine for and the debauchery to which adults surrender. But no matter how the visuals play in the mind before that maiden visit – the experience leaves everyone feeling surreal while navigating the city. When the Mister and I arrived at Paris we weren’t honeymooning, celebrating anniversaries of any kind – to the extent Paris was meant to be a weekend before we headed towards our main destination.
Sunrise at Eiffel Tower
Most savvy travelers to Paris know when and where to visit the inescapable ferrous icon – sunrise at Trocadero. Whilst the tourists wake up, bathe and leisurely enjoy breakfast at their hotels, the Mister and I have enjoyed a gorgeous sunrise with the view of the Eiffel Tower at Trocadero. True, we had to step out in the early hours without a sip of my first coffee and (not being cheesy here – truly enjoy it in the mornings) a bite into a croissant. The experience of having one of the most romantic views in the world all to yourself with your beloved is rewarding enough to sacrifice the comfort of the high thread count bedding of your hotel. The slow and steady glow of warm yellow light rising above the horizon, the perfectly designed city towered by this magnificent trophy like icon waking up to another day of Parisian bustle – while a new day of romance for the travelers. Wait another hour and you’ll notice that out of nowhere your view of the Eiffel has been obstructed by selfie sticks and ‘fashion influencers’ of instagram all dressed up and pose at the ready.
Carry on by foot and hand in hand towards the direction of the tower – crossing over the Seine river – quickly grab a coffee and nutella crepe besides the Eiffel Carousel to save your romantic interlude with Monsieur EIffel’s wonder from a hunger pang.
Streets of Paris are teeming with tiny circular tables flanked by two chairs laid out crammed under an awning that reads the name of the cafe. The romance of street side cafe and surveying people passing by has been documented in every novel with a backdrop of Paris. After our romantic sunrise and a quick bite of nutella banana crepe at Eiffel Tower, we strolled through the Avenue Anatole France admiring the beauty behind us to a cafe for brunch. Paris being the hub of street side cafes you will stumbled upon one as soon as you hit the street. Cafe Le Champ de Mars, Cafe Dome, are quite a hop from Eiffel Tower, but for an absolute Parisian style brunch experience we chose Cafe du Flore in the trendy and vivacious neighborhood of Saint Germain des Pres. Contrary to popular opinion we were surrounded by locals than tourists at the cafe while the street served as the conveyor belt circulating people either visiting or residing in Paris. The friendly waiting staff had us leisurely spend a good 2 to 3 hours over our first meal of a very long day. Next door to Cafe du Flore is Cafe Les Deux Magot another iconic restaurant to spend the AM. Cafe Les Deux Magot and Brasserie Lip – across the street, are both popular for their Escargot – a famous snail dish with herbed garlic and butter.
Strolling The Streets
The dainty streets of Paris are dressed with the terraced buildings on the sides and quaint shops, cafes and boutiques under them. Along every cobblestone path that starts with ‘Rue de la’ … is the Belle Epoque era of architectural design meets Haussmann’s airy and bright Paris. After the revolution and winning the first ever democratic election – Louis Napoleon III commissioned architect Hausmann to design boulevards and squares that made Paris breath in the breeze and bathe in sunlight. The city was transformed to become more elegant in its design and romantic looking. In its current day Paris still holds its romanticism of life very seriously. All buildings that line up the streets are eight story high to keep the city looking designed and styled than built and developed. We strolled through numerous streets but the most memorable ones were – Rue Cler, Rue de Grenelle, Avenue des Champs Elysees. Rue Cler and Rue de Grenelle are a particular favorite for their convivial charm and a plethora of shopping and dining options. From a freshly squeezed orange juice at Top Halles, to purchasing selection of cheese at Fromager Marie-Anne Cantin, a brioche and espresso at Cafe du Marche, to the luxury of freshly cut flowers to dress up your room from Cler Fluers – Rue Cler has everything and some more to keep anyone glued to the street. Across Paris, patisserie shops are strewn like sprinkles on a cupcake and that takes me to the short pit stops while strolling the streets.
Sampling Through Patisserie
I am not a fan of Marie-Antoinette, but I confess to enjoy sampling sugary treats and visiting patisserie shops wherever I travel. Paris – the nerve centre of confectioners takes you by the hand and pulls you into its vortex of saccharine. A gentle lure of tiny portions soon balloons into a debauchery you would want to stop. Laduree, Angelina, Patisserie Michalak, L’eclair de Genie, Pierre Hermes, Eric Kayser are just some of the finest and most famous shops we paid a visit. Nothing says high school romantic like an exquisite pastry or box of macarons gifted by your significant other as you walk down the quaint streets of Paris. Laduree – the Mecca of macarons has fanned out its outlets in Paris owing to its unstoppable fame among instagrammers and macaron addicts. Angelina near Place Vendome is another popular shop to visit for their confectionary pieces of art as well as their tea service. The trend of spreading your wings and enticing travelers and locals in every neighborhood of Paris has become rampant among pastry shops and boulangeries. A trend much to the delight of every gourmand like moi visiting Paris.
Cruising The Seine River
The long battle of who wins more in Paris – Right bank or Left Bank – of the river Seine, has been captured aplenty by Hollywood (ahem Gossip Girl). But when you view Paris from an aerial view and especially during the golden hour or wee hours it feels like a carpet of beautifully woven pattern with an exquisite seam running along its center. Cruising the Seine is a definitely a must while in Paris and you can board on any of the cruises just below the Eiffel Tower.
Romantic Date Night
What romantic getaway doesn’t have dinner dates? A dinner date in Paris is definitely something you will cherish among many other moments in Paris. If it is your first date in Paris well make it a good one. Don’t fall for gimmicks and frills of dining on the Eiffel Tower – not that it would be a waste but you could do something simple yet pleasantly surprising. It doesn’t take much to bring in the romance on a dinner in Paris. From the luxurious Michelin star restaurants and hotels on Place Vendome or George V to the quaint one of a kind exceptional menus in a quiet neighborhood the choices are endless and each year they keep on adding up to the list. A bottle of the best Burgundy or Bordeaux would travel a long way after the dinner.
City of Lights
No city – and I mean none, on this planet gives the galaxies out there more competition than Paris. The magic of the sparkling and glittering burst from the Eiffel Tower is incomparable to any other visual of from the city of lights. At the stroke of 9 in the PM the iconic piece of engineering sparkles and shines through the night – lighting up every corner of the city. The Louvre Palace and Museum is one of the best places to witness the magical evening turn into a starry glitzy night with the glass pyramid light up in what can be only described with heart eyed emojis. Walking down the Avenue de Champs Elysees towards the Arc de Triomphe is a sight to behold besides your beloved. Paris is certainly a city to drive by at night visiting and it mostly feels like counting the sparkly precious stones on a necklace with the very iconic and magnificent buildings coming to a whole new life after sunset. Like a veil of lights has fallen on Paris decorating its architecture. The city of lights can also be enjoyed with a walk on the famous Pont Alexandre III – a baroque masterpiece for a bridge that only a Paris could pull off so elegantly.