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Three Perfect Days: Paris

Paris is known for its exquisite cuisine, extraordinary shops and dizzying array of museums and cafés. But to really enjoy Europe’s most sublime city, do what the locals do: Keep it simple.

Author Sarah Horne Photography Bruno Fert / Picturetank


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PARIS, THE DIVINE CITY OF LIGHT, elicits passionate reactions from visitors, and for good reason: Its streets and architecture are aglow with captivating light at all hours; its cuisine is widely imitated (though never replicated) in nearly every corner of the globe; and its sidewalk cafés are so redolent with romance that Hollywood has tried for decades to bottle the magic. Some visitors arrive in Paris with return tickets and are so completely seduced they simply never leave. Others depart reluctantly, only to remember their time here for the rest of their lives.

And then there’s a third group, who find the maze of narrow streets overwhelming, the language a roadblock and the pressure to make the most of the mind-boggling selection of historical sights enough to provoke a major meltdown in the shadow of Notre Dame. The trick? When in Paris, do as the Parisians do: Hardcore lovers of culture, the locals would never try to visit half a dozen museums in a day. Committed food fanatics, they cheerfully let lunch stretch to three hours whenever possible. And when a server seems brusque, they never, ever take it personally.

The most important secret to enjoying Paris? Don’t fret if you get lost. Sometimes a wrong turn is the fastest route to that perfect little shop or picturesque wine bar. A sprawling, heartbreakingly beautiful city, Paris is ripe for those who appreciate serendipity.

So take a deep breath, and off you go.

7 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Paris”

  1. Ronnie Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 12:45 am

    That’s all excellent advice and I’d say the principle also applies to London and other European cities famous for their culture.

    Why go there is you’re going to rush around instead of taking in the ambience of the city.

  2. Andrea Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I tried to download and nothing happens. I would love to print

  3. Hemispheres Editor Says:
    September 10th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Hi Andrea,

    You may need to try a different browser. If that doesn’t work, try our eMag by clicking on the cover in the upper righthand corner of the screen. Thanks for reading!

  4. Ken G. Hagmann Says:
    September 22nd, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Excellent advice.
    My honey and I are headed out in October for 3 weeks, and are so looking forward to getting lost in Paris. The food, the people, the art, and looking for the special place for a great quite moment. My first trip I was so amazed how big Paris is. I wanted to see so many places, my darling said, well lets do one a day, and then get lost. So that’s what we did, our trip was a joy.

    Thank you for sharing with all of us. Aloha from Hawaii.

    Ken and Lee Hagmann

  5. Gio Sanserino Says:
    October 18th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Any visit to Paris is not complete without visiting the Jaquemart-Andre museum on Blvd. Hausmann. Visit the stunning home of this marvelously rich couple, and see the incredible art they collected so many years ago. One of our very favorite places, period. Be sure to take the audio guide.

  6. Sandy Says:
    November 7th, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Excellent advice! A great place to just stroll and enjoy. Forget the checklist!

  7. Margaret McCreadie Says:
    February 7th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I love the advise given and am looking forward to viewing the “City of Light” this coming May. Many thanks for the input.

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