Paris, the city on everyone's lips right now, is the most popular city on the planet with over 47 million visitors each year. The city is a cultural hub with a fifth of its population originating in other countries.
Paris is a great place to take advantage of the Metro system or Vélib' bike system because the city is sprawling with its 20 arrondissements. Paris is known for being the 'international city of style' and you'll be sure to make lasting memories enjoying the city in style by strolling down the Champs de Elysses, eating pastries at a boulangerie (bakery), and exploring the architecture of the city.
Weather: We visited in August and experienced temperatures anywhere from 60-80 F. However, Paris is known to be most pleasant in the spring and fall because of the weather and the lack of tourists.
Basic Style Etiquette for Men and Women: It's hard to pinpoint it but I would say the overall style etiquette for both men and women is luxury basic. For women: slightly oversized cashmere sweaters, your boyfriend's t-shirt, perfectly fitted pants, and leather shoes. For men: Quality over quantity. Invest in Chukka boots, sturdy denims, European looped scarves, layers, and perfectly tailored suit jackets.
Culture: The world 'culture' was actually born out of France. It derives from the Latin word colere and means to tend to the earth and grow. Paris is notably home to many of the world's greatest cultural attractions. One fifth of the Parisian population is from another country making the city a true melting pot. Brush up on your French. Many people know how to speak English, but are less likely to engage you in conversation if you are solely speaking English. Our go-to French phrases were: Bonjour. S’il vous plaît (Hello, please...), Combien ça coûte? (How much does it cost?), and Merci beaucoup (thank you!).
Shopping: Be prepared to walk a lot while in Paris. The city is sprawling and you will want to wear comfortable, yet fashionable shoes. Parisians love neutral colors, being comfortable yet also feminine or trendy. There's a graciousness to this balancing act.
Some Suggested Activities:
If you love a good party: Le Comptoir Général, in Paris' 10th arrondissement is the place to go. It is categorized as a bar/restaurant, but it's also a live history museum—primarily focusing on Francophone Africa and the Caribbean— Be sure to ask for Le Rade's secret recipe cocktail "the Secousse".
Enjoy a€1 espresso at Cafe Rey:Paris is the perfect place to slow down and relax. Enjoy each and every sip and bite of food. Cafe Rey is located at the busy intersection of Place de la Bastille. It's the perfect place for just a macchiato or cafe-espresso. The servers are warm and friendly.
Have a Picnic at the Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is the icon of the city and if it's your first or tenth go around you will likely still appreciate the beauty and symbolism of it. I'd recommend stopping at a bakery or grocery near Avenue Charles Risler and then sitting on the lawn of the Champ de Mars. The droves of tourists will be much less chaotic in this area. You can enjoy a nice afternoon picnic of cheese, wine, and baguettes galore.
Safety Tip: If and when you go to the large tourist areas be wary of street sellers of goods such as bracelets or other crafts. At Sacré-Cœur, in particular, the sellers can be very aggressive, even going so far as to grab your wrist in an attempt to force a bracelet or something else onto you. Stand your ground, be firm in saying NO and walk away fast.
The information about this destination is provided by Travel Expert, Jen Riedel. Find more of her work at www.jenriedel.com