Since the Paris trip was a big surprise, I had very little time to plan out what I wanted to do. BUT, I still managed all the highlights and then some!
If you are headed to Paris, here is what I did, and what I suggest you do, too!
1. SAY HELLO TO LA TOUR. A trip to Paris wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.
Tip: The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour on the hour after sunset.
2. EAT FRENCH FOOD. LOTS OF FRENCH FOOD. I got my fill of baguettes, brie, pastries and wine. Plus, I got to have my fave salad, salade de chèvre chaud (warm goat cheese salad), a croque-madame, some fondue, fallafel from L'As du Fallefel (a must!), a jambon-beurre (ham and butter) sandwich from my old neighborhood boulangerie, and a yummy crêpe.
Tip: Go taste and buy some wine from Legrand Filles et Fils.
Tip: Tickets are cheaper for those under 26, and completely free if you are under 26 and from the EU.
4. BIKE THROUGH THE STREETS OF PARIS. If you know me, you know that I am slightly terrified of bikes. So my Velib recommendation probably counts for double that of your average person. If I rode a Velib from Cimetière du Père-Lachaise to the Musée d'Orsay and didn't die, you can, too.
Tip: Sign up for 1 or 7-day subscriptions on the Velib website.
5. CAFE-SIT LIKE A CHAMP. Grab a pint, a glass of wine or an espresso at any one of the many Parisian cafés.
Tip: To order your espresso, un café, s'il vous plaît. And for the bill, l'addition, s'il vous plaît.
6. DO SOME QUALITY PEOPLE WATCHING. Take a seat in a café, at a park, or even in the metro, and watch some Parisians.
Tip: Jardin du Luxembourg is ideal for people watching, especially the center pond where small children attempt to sail toy boats by pushing them with large sticks. Yes, It is as entertaining as it sound. ...much to Matthew's disappointment, no children fell in the water.
7. HAVE THE PERFECT PICNIC. For me, park-sitting ranks right up there with café-sitting. And park-sitting is even better if accompanied by food. For the perfect pique-nique, I recommend baguette, cheese, ham, pringles, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, Petit Ecoliers, Ladurée Macarons, and wine. Oh, and friends, too! We were lucky enough to be able to meet up with some friends who I used to work with in France; I even go to see Australian Liz again!
Tip: Buttes Chaumont is my favorite park in all of Paris. And, unlike most Parisian parks, there is grass to sit on!
8. SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP. I'm pretty sure Matthew hit every menswear shop in Paris, and we did the big department stores, too. The Galeries Lafayette has the prettiest ceiling!
Matthew's shopping ventures were much more successful than mine. Although, I did find that the free public restroom in Galeries Lafayette came in very handy.
Tip: Sales are state regulated in France. Les Soldes, or the sales, happen twice a year in Paris—normally beginning at the end of January and the end of June, both lasting about six weeks.
9. WANDER. Monmartre has tons of tiny streets that are just begging to be explored. Matthew and I hit the Sacre Coeur before we meandered about. We were jetlagged and up super early, so we got there before all the other tourists. Can you believe how empty it is?!
Tip: Ditch the map for a bit, and see what you find.
10. PROMISE TO RETURN. A trip to jump on Point Zéro, the point from which all distances to and from Paris on national highways are measured, was a given. Point Zéro is just in front of Notre-Dame, and legend has it, if you stand on Point Zéro, you will always return to Paris.