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You know what amazes me about travelling in Europe? The fact that you can still experience wonder, still fall for a city over and over again. You would think after living here since 2012 I’d be done falling head over heels for cities.
You’d be dead wrong. I’m a sucker for this ridiculous romance.[clickToTweet tweet=”Visiting Paris is like flirting with a charming, romantic, yet unattainable lover” quote=”Visiting Paris is like flirting with a charming, romantic, yet unattainable lover”]
Every time I return to Paris, despite my 20-something visits, I want it more. But I always end up leaving – knowing the cities romance is better in my heart, in novels, in movies, than the reality of living there.
Visiting Paris in Spring, however, amps the romance up to 100.
Today’s post is straight up just flirty romantic photos of Paris for you – detailing the 5 places I always have to drop by on any visit to the city of romance. If we were having a weekend girls trip together, these are the spots we’d have to visit for some photos and of course, coffee. Let’s go!
Obviously, you come here for the artworks and incredible museums, but if we’ve both visited the city a few times, we would simply stroll the gorgeous courtyard and look from the glass pyramid all the way down the Champs Elysees. Hot tip for the Louvre – there’s a smaller, secret entrance on the left-hand side of the building, that always has shorter queues to get your entry tickets. It’s called 99 de Carousel le Louvre and will save you heaps of time if you want to see the museum. That is unless it’s sunny and bright and we have other pretty places to go!
2. Palais Royal & City Streets
From the Louvre it’s easy to get bewitched into simply strolling the picture-perfect city streets. We’ll spend the morning trotting through the Theatre du Palais Royal and surrounding area. Spotting young children playing on the black and white pillars, peering into the fancy clothes boutiques (that we most definitely cannot afford) and ogling the stylish French mothers who stroll the inner city. This is where we’d see the famous French way of life at it’s most relaxed and glorious.
The best way to see the Opera house for the first time is from the metro station entrance. We’ll come from the subway, up the grotty stairs to be greeted with this glorious sight. You ascend from the loud, dirty messy chaos of the transport system and as you raise your head from trudging up the stairs, are met with this shimmering dedication to music, art and poetry. Students spill on to the entry stairs, while businesswomen trill past in heels and traffic thunders around the small island of architectural glory.
I will make this face at you and probably be playing ‘Phantom of the Opera’ of my phone for effect, because yes, this is the Opera house the famous musical is based on. The rumours of the underground lakes beneath here and multiple deaths during construction of the building, spurred the story of the Phantom that lived beneath the stage. We’ll stroll slowly around the block to take in the detail, stare at the size of the chandeliers inside and dodge the inevitable tourist crowds that pour from the buses out front.
4. Galeries LaFayette Rooftop
From the Opera house, we’ll be very close to the major shopping centre Galeries LaFayette, which is good for both shopping and fantastic panoramic views over the city. Which we can see fo’ free! They don’t massively advertise the way up to the rooftop, but we can just wander up to the top floor of the shopping centre, above the restaurant and follow the other nosy people making their way onto the rooftop.
From here we can see the Eiffel Tower, the Ferris wheel in the Tuileries Gardens, the Opera House and on a clear day the city is laid out beneath you. One of the best free views over the city.
Don’t worry, we’ll stop for snacks along the way. I will make you try buttery, garlic covered escargots with a baguette because hey, this is Paris and you’re not getting off without eating snails, because tradition!
After lunch, we’ll stroll through the city towards Notre Dame cathedral, making sure to take pictures along the way. On bridges especially, looking over the Isle de la Cite, where Paris was originally founded.
We’ll pick which of these apartment buildings overlooking the Seine we’d like best. (Mine is the leafy green rooftop terrace, so hands off!)
5. Shakespeare & Co Bookstore
Across the Seine, we will make the pilgrimage that many other book lovers have made before us, to the famous Shakespeare & Co. Bookstore.
Here is where writers and artists have gathered for centuries, an ode to the original store from the 1920s where the likes of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein gathered. This 1950’s era store welcomed poets and artists like Bertolt Brecht and Allan Ginsberg in its winding shelves of literature, fiction, science and history. There’s pianos tucked into corners and small writerly, romantic desks overlooking windows for artists and writers to use. It is heaven and we will be here a while as we indulge all our whimsical writers fantasies of living like a bohemian author in Paris (and pick up a few new books too!)
But the time spent is rewarded…
The cafe next door to the bookshop, though small, has the best damn views of Notre Dame in all of Paris. We’ll get our sugar and caffeine fix here.
In the fading light of the day, we will make our way past the Place de la Concorde – marvelling at the symmetry of the architectural design and remembering that in this same square, thousands lost their lives to the guillotine during the French Revolution.
As we meander back to our cute AirBnB in the outer district, making plans for the next days trip to the Eiffel Tower, I know we’ll be suckered into falling for the city all over again. Because that’s just what Paris does – it makes you fall in love, lures you back, over and over again.
That, my dear friend, is why we keep on coming back, falling head over heels every damn time.
Have you been to Paris? Where are your must-visit photo spots? Share your faves in the comments!