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Travel Well: Paris

Paris, the city of lights, the most romantic city in the world, but also, arguable the chicest city in the world, makes for the ultimate girls trip. When I started planning my 25th birthday months ago, celebrating in Paris was one of the first things that came to mind. My first trip to Paris was in 2012, and although I was slightly underwhelmed, I knew I had to give the city another chance due to it’s fantastic reputation amongst travelers. I’m so glad that I decided to give Paris another go ad happy to share that this trip was far better than the first. From shopping to dining and site seeing, Paris was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday with some of my closest friends.

Stay: Around the Avenue des Champs Élysées is a great area to stay in during a trip to Paris. Although it is very touristy, it’s centrally located and only a walk or short cab ride from many of the major sites, specifically the Arc de Triomphe, which sits at one end. Additionally, there are a plethora of shopping and dining locations on the bustling street. During my recent trip, I stayed in a luxury flat on Rue de Ponthieu, only 2 blocks from Avenue des Champs Élysées. I have also visited both the Four Seasons: George V and the Marriott. Both are excellent choices for travelers looking for a hotel to stay in while in Paris. Although the Marriott is nice, the George V has my heart and, while it may be a splurge, I doubt guests will be disappointed.

View of the Arc de Triomphe from he center of the Champs-Élyées

View of the Arc de Triomphe from the center of the Champs-Élyées

Beautiful floral decor in the George V

Beautiful floral decor in the lobby of the George V

Dine: During my first trip to Paris, I only had one memorable meal. This go round, I was determined to find restaurants that I loved, and I’m so glad that I accomplished my goal. Paris is a breeding ground for Michelin starred chefs, so a little research is all that it takes to ensure great dining experiences. I will say, the worst meal that we had during our trip was lunch on the Champs-Élyées. There are so many restaurants on this street that it can be hard to make a good choice. Watch out for tourist traps with high prices and lackluster food. Here are my favorite restaurants from my latest Parisian getaway:

  1. Le Georges – Located at the top of the Pompidou Center, this restaurant has breathtaking views of the Eiffel Tower and all of Paris. The ambiance is very chic and modern and the food does not disappoint. The mashed potatoes are delicious!

  2. Miss KO – This vibrant Asian-fusion hot spot near the Champs-Élyées has a very hip ambiance and delicious sushi! Although it’s fairly casual, it can get crowded, so be sure to make a reservation.

  3. Kong – I knew when I made the reservation at this restaurant, located at the top of the Louis Vuitton headquarters, that I was in for a treat! It’s very trendy with cool tunes and great drinks. My mom and I ordered 3 appetizers to share and absolutely loved all of them. In terms of entrees, go for the waygu beef!

Shop: It’s so easy to find great shopping that this section almost seems redundant and self-explanatory! Paris is synonymous with great shopping. Many designers have flagship boutiques in Paris and it’s honestly a shoppers paradise. My favorite areas for designer buys are Boulevard Saint-Germaine and Avenue Montaigne. Also, be sure to visit the original Chanel boutique on Rue Cambon where Mademoiselle CoCo Chanel lived and worked. Avenue des Champs Élysées is a safe bet for H&M, Zara, and similar shops, and Galleries Lafayette, Paris’ premiere department store, is worth a visit for both designer and trendy buys. There is no bad shopping in Paris, so no matter where you go, you’re likely to snag some awesome items.

Play: There is so much site seeing to do in Paris! The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame are only the tip of the iceberg. While it’s totally feasible to visit all of these sites on your own, during my recent trip, we did a private city tour of Paris by car. We got to see a ton of the city and visit all of the major sites fairly quickly and learned so much about French history and culture from our knowledgable guide. I would definitely recommend a similar tour to any one who wants to hit the hot spots in one day. Although seeing the sites by car was awesome, seeing them by boat was even better! The wine cruise that we took on the River Seine was the highlight of my trip and I would highly recommend it, whether looking for a fun afternoon with a group of friends or a romantic way to spend  evening with your significant other.

The Louvre

The Louvre

I had the opportunity to taste the best baguette in Paris during our city tour

I had the opportunity to taste the best baguette in Paris during our city tour

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

The Eiffel Tower by boat during our wonderful wine cruise

The Eiffel Tower by boat during our wonderful wine cruise on my birthday

Even if budgetary restraints won’t allow you to stay at the George V, a visit it definitely in order. The hotel is super chic and the decor is beautiful. During my first visit to Paris, high tear at the George V was the highlight of my trip, so I absolutely had to go back this time as well. Although high tea may be a British custom, the Parisians obviously know a thing or two about it too and George V is the best place to go.

High tea at the Four Seasons: George V

High tea at the Four Seasons: George V

For those looking to see a show in Paris, the Moulin Rouge is the place to be! While it’s not nearly as sexy as one would expect, it’s very entertaining and a pretty cool experience. If time permits, a visit to Champagne country is also something worth doing while in the area. This trip, I unfortunately didn’t have the time, but, during my last visit to France a few years back, we took a train to the countryside where we had the opportunity to do a tour and tasting at Moet Chandon. It was an incredible experience and I wish I would have had the time to do it again this time around.

My Rating: A-

(F meaning I would never, ever under any circumstances want to go back and A meaning I love this place and would go yearly if I could)

Although I didn’t love Paris this second time around quite enough to move it up on my list of favorite cities, this trip did change my perception and allow me the opportunity to see what so many other travelers see in the city of lights. If nothing else, it’s an awesome place to go for shopping and dining and has photo-ops that never get old. The only drawback is that it’s tiring! There is so much to do that I need a vacation from my vacation!

She turned her can'ts into cans and her
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