When Audrey Hepburn says “Paris is always a good idea”, you have to believe her. The city gets you going from dawn to dusk and yet you think there's more to it. The Parisian beauty runs deep. It's deeper than pompous palaces, gorgeous gardens, timeless artworks, and unpretentious cafes. If twilight by the Seine River is therapeutic, exploring its culinary prowess is satiating. Paris is an inspiration for artists and a 'moveable feast' for travelers. It is a classic vignette of an enchanting journey. Although you can't explore the 'City of Light' in a day, you can at least give it an honest try.
8 AM to 10 AM – Luxembourg Garden, Montparnasse Tower, and Breakfast
Begin the day with the Luxembourg Garden. This curious mix of French and English-style garden, spread out in front of the Luxembourg Palace, reminds you of the Pitti Palace in Florence. The 17th-century Medici Fountain is way too magnificent to miss.
Push yourself out of this charming place because you have so much left to explore. Head to Boulevard Saint-Germain and visit the Cafe de Flore where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir preferred to have their caffeine. As you sip your coffee, you can't help thinking of the discussions that must have raged between the existentialists who used to be regulars here.
When you have downed a cup or two, walk a couple of blocks to see the gigantic Montparnasse Tower – one of the tallest buildings in the European Union. If you can, do take a selfie from the top floor with the panoramic Paris as the backdrop.
10:30 AM to 11:30 AM – Eiffel Tower
Now it's time to visit the magical destination in Paris – The Eiffel Tower. To add value to your photo album, explore the city from the second floor of the tower and capture a few shots. Check out the new installations and the transparent floor one level down and spend some time ambling in front of this architectural wonder. You wish you had enough time to hit the champagne bar on the top floor.
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM – Rodin Museum, Les Invalides, and Place de la Concorde
On the way to the palatial Les Invalides, visit the Rodin Museum. Around 6,600 sculptures and 8,000 drawings form a tiny part of the treasure that this museum houses. You not only come to know the stature of French sculptor Auguste Rodin but also contribute to the fact that it receives 700,000 visitors every year. Next on cards is the military museum of the 17th century – Rodin Museum. The monuments related to the French military history, including the Napoleon's tomb are a must-visit.
Now, before history besots you, come out in the open and visit the largest public square in Paris – Place de la Concorde. Walking down this historic district along the River Seine is a refreshing experience.
1:30 PM to 4:00 PM – The Louvre, Notre Dame, and Lunch by the River Seine
Next, head to the Louvre. Explore the glass pyramid in the grand Napoleon courtyard. If you find yourself at the end of a long queue, pretend that you have seen Mona Lisa several times in the past and move towards the glass-roofed courtyards for French sculpture and Assyrian artworks. To see the co-existence of European painting and Islamic art is no ordinary feeling.
The feeling lingers when you enter the haloed precincts of Notre Dame. What appeals to you about this French Gothic architecture is its elegant buttresses, chimera statues, and the use of stained glass. As the time for a hearty meal approaches, walk in to any no-frills restaurant like Brasserie de L'Isle Saint Louis and Le Porte-Pot. Try beef stew, Duck confit, Ratatouille, and Flamiche (if you are still hungry). For a fine dining experience, settle down at Benoît Paris or Le Sergent Recruteur. In the end, grab a cone of Berthillon ice cream and go for a stroll to the Pont des Arts footbridge overlooking the River Seine.
4:30 PM to 7:00 PM – Musée d'Orsay, Sacré-Cœur, and Montmartre
There's every possibility that you will get fascinated by Musée d'Orsay, a railway-turned-museum that has a respectable collection of impressionist masterpieces. Vincent van Gogh's painting depicting the Rhône River at night, clearly stands out. Just before the sundown, reach Montmartre district. Walk the cobbled streets of this historic neighborhood and get to the top of the hill. White-domed Basilica of Sacre-Coeur on top looks elegant. Enjoy the sunset from the top and feel the tranquility inside the church.
7:30 PM to 10:00 PM – Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, and Dinner
You pass by the Arc de Triomphe – the famous monument in Paris – and come to Champs-Élysées, the world's most beautiful avenue. Flanked by upscale boutiques on both sides, this avenue is where the shoppers commit the cardinal. As you walk by Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Lancel and Lacoste stores, you come to La Fermette Marbeuf. It's a magical place to dine at.
If you prefer no-frills restaurant, come to Savy. It's a traditional French bistro that's very good at what it serves – duck spread, herb fritters, and beef with potatoes and cheese. Trying Britanny lobster and other creative cuisines at the Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire is also an option. You won't mind getting little tipsy when you have Château-Grillet for company. However, if the temptation to try craft beers grows stronger, come to La Fine Mousse.
AS20151113Published On: Thursday, September 24th, 2015