Have you heard the quote, “Paris is always a good idea”? It’s attributed to Audrey Hepburn in the movie Sabrina, and although I’ve never seen the movie, I wholeheartedly agree with this line.
Paris is one of those places that captures the imagination and stirs the soul, and its magical combination of romance, culture, architecture, and lights make it a city unlike any other. No matter what the occasion or the season, here are my five reasons why a trip to Paris is always a good idea.
- Food. From impossibly airy baguettes, to perfectly flaky croissants, to ooey-gooey (French) onion soup, to crispy duck-fat roasted potatoes, to delictible cheeses, the list goes on and on and on. If I spent a week in Paris and did nothing but eat, I’m still not sure I’d have time to sample all the delicacies the city has to offer (but I’d be willing to try!). To help you on your food quest, here’s a list of the best croissants according to Time Out Paris, here’s a ranking of the top ten baguettes as judged by the Paris bakers union, and here’s a roundup of pastry-chef-turned-cookbook-author-American-in-Paris David Lebovitz’s favorite Paris restaurants.
- Sainte Chapelle. While this church may not be as famous as nearby Notre Dame, it’s easily my favorite place in all of Paris. This thirteenth century royal chapel was built to house and display holy relics acquired and King Louis IX spared no expense. There are fifteen panels of stained glass, each about 45 feet high, that surround the entire room. The stained glass depicts over 1,000 Bible stories from the Old and New Testament and tell the story of how the relics came to Paris. Pictures of this place do not do its beauty justice. No matter how many times I go to Paris, a visit to Sainte Chapelle will always be on my must-do list.
- Art. Paris is an incredible city for art. Whether you’re interested in Italian Renaissance masterpieces by da Vinci, lifelike sculptures by Rodin, cubist paintings by Picasso, giant impressionist canvases by Monet, or neon portraits by Warhol, there is a museum for you. The best news is that all the major art museums (Louvre, Orangerie, Orsay, Pompidou Center, and Rodin Museum) are covered by the Paris Museum Pass, making it easy for you to skip the lines and enjoy centuries’ worth of art.
- Romance. In a city with beautiful bridges covered in lovers’ locks, quiet tree-lined back streets, atmospheric cafés, and gorgeous monuments that sparkle after dark, it’s easy to see why Paris is known for romance. I love strolling along the Seine hand-in-hand with my husband to admire the views of Notre Dame or snuggling up against him on the steps of the Place du Trocadéro to watch the light show at the Eiffel Tower.
- Parks. Paris has so many beautiful parks, it’s almost impossible to list them all. Visiting one of the outdoor gardens makes a wonderful break from all the sightseeing. Because there’s so much to do and see in Paris, sometimes it’s hard to make time to sit and relax in a park, but doing just that is one of the most authentically Parisian things you could do. My favorite is Luxembourg gardens, where Parisians of all ages gather to play boules (similar to bocce ball) or chess, sail boats in the fountain, walk their dogs, or simply sit and soak up the sun. Snag one of the green metal chairs by the fountain and give yourself permission to take a vacation from your vacation.
Have you ever been to Paris? Do you agree with Audrey that Paris is always a good idea? What’s the most romantic city you’ve ever been to?