Paris is always a good idea. Yes, it really is.
As summer inches closer, flocks of tourists are getting ready to descend upon the City of Light. After living in Paris–one of the most fabulous cities in the world–I have three travel tips to offer, regardless of whether it’s your 1st time or 100th time.
1) Eat. Eat. Eat. Gourmet food is dotted throughout the entire city–at street corners, on top of the Eiffel Tower, inside department stores, and just about everywhere else you can imagine. While it’s pretty darn close to impossible to find “bad” food around the city, I do have a list of favorites that I frequented over and over again, and continue to visit when I go back now. For the best macarons, try Ladurée. For the best tarte au citron (lemon tart), try Jacques Genin. For the best rose-raspberry croissant, try Pierre Hermé. Now, with that knowledge in hand, you’re well on your way to a culinary journey of a lifetime!
2) Take the Metro from the airport into the city. Paris offers superb public transportation options, in and around the city. The Metro not only offers a glimpse of the local way of life, but it’s also a good way to get acquainted with the city. From Charles de Gaulle Airport, hop onto the RER B suburban city train (all the lines are color-coded—look for the blue trains) which leaves from Terminals 2 and 3. Look for the trains heading in the direction of Paris (Robinson, Antony, St.-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse). Purchase a “Billet Ile-de-France” Aéroport CDG (Zone 5) to central Paris (Zone 1). From Orly Airport, take the Orlyval train to “Antony” station and from there, you take the RER B train to one of 7 stations serviced along the way: Cité-Universitaire, Denfert-Rochereau, Port-Royal, Luxembourg, St. Michel/Nôtre Dame, Châtelet Les Halles, and Gare du Nord. And once you hit the main city, you can take the Metro within the confines. But, given that Paris is a relatively small city, if you really want to soak up its real pulse, my recommendation is to walk, walk, walk.
3) Venture off-the-beaten path. Instead of seeing famous Paris, create your own Paris. For ages, Paris has been synonymous with the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, and while they’re both beautiful structures and should be seen most definitely, you’ll find a much more rewarding experience if you just allow yourself to shed your inhibitions and get lost. Meander through the cobblestoned alleyways and scope out gems that even your guidebook would be envious of. Idle through one of the many glorious parks, eat your way through authentic hole-in-the-walls, find unique vantage points for the famous landmarks… the sky is the limit.