Our CCO Brian loves to travel. Here, he shares with us how he fell in love with Paris, and his guide to see this city off the beaten path.
It was love at first sight. Paris. The City of Light! The first time I visited it, I was on a trip with my high school French class. As soon as we touched down, I knew this city was my special place. I could just feel it. The energy and the culture were addicting, and it captured my heart. I go back as often as possible since that initial trip, and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what Paris has to offer. There are so many cafes to try (one on almost every corner), parks to enjoy, stores to peruse, and places to experience. My travel philosophy is “to travel like a local,” visiting neighborhood markets, sipping coffee in the cafés, getting lost in a new area, and really soaking up the culture. Paris has some of the most famous museums and sights, but I love just being and watching the world go by. That’s how you truly see and fall in love with places.
Here are my favorite things to do and experience in Paris. Some will take you off the beaten path so you can “travel like a local,” too. Enjoy!
1. Best oysters: Huitrerie Regis
This tiny restaurant has the best oysters I’ve ever eaten. Get there early because there are only about six tables.
2. Favorite bistro: Les Philosophes
You must go here and order the tomato tart tatin. It is out of this world!
3. Delicious pastry: Viennoise Chocolat
This bread has chocolate baked right into it. Pick up one at a boulangerie, along with a coffee, for a delicious breakfast on the go. Try a similar sweet at home with our Chocolate Croissant recipe.
4. Favorite Paris neighborhood: Le Marais
This area, in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements on the right bank of the Seine, is bustling with art galleries, shopping, and restaurants. As you stroll down the street, you can just feel the energy and excitement.
5. Amazing “off-the-beaten-path” suburb: Vincennes
When I travel to Paris, I like to stay in Vincennes. It’s a little outside the city, but it is so quaint—a true taste of French life!
7. My picnic spot: Parc Monceau
Paris is bursting with parks and gardens where you can find an oasis within the bustling city. These beautiful escapes are filled with people relaxing and children playing. I love packing a lunch and spending an afternoon in the Parc Monceau.
8. My French souvenir: A piece of Paris fashion!
I have purchased three pairs of glasses from Parisian optical stores over the years. It was a bit of a logistical challenge, but wearing them brings back the best memories. Pick something special to you, and visit a store that has what you’re looking for. The language barrier is tough, but it’s all about the adventure, isn’t it?
9. Eat like a local: Street Markets
Spend time looking and tasting the fresh produce at a neighborhood market. These are where the locals shop, so you can blend in and feel like a true Parisian.
10. My Parisian guilty pleasure: Ladurée
I will line up for these macarons; they are unlike any other. After getting a box from the original shop on the rue Royale, I find a spot in one of the parks to savor every bite. Another location of Ladurée that I never miss a chance to visit: CDG Airport! Because the best way to reminisce about an amazing trip is to enjoy these delicacies on the flight back home.
Look for more of my favorite spots across the country and around the world on the blog!