Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My favorite things to do in Paris, part 1

Paris will always be the love of my life (and no, I really don't care if that sounds cheesy). Men may come and go, relationships may begin and end, but as Humphrey Bogart famously put it in Casablanca: "We'll always have Paris." 

My relationship with Paris began almost 12 years ago, when I visited if for the first time as a wide-eyed high school girl. Little did I know then, that Paris would one day become the city that changed me an my life the most. 7 years later I was standing with my huge suitcase in my tiny little dorm room, feeling extremely excited and confident for my future.

I laughed, cried, danced, walked, got drunk, missed the last train, wandered the streets after the sunset, loved, felt free and happy in Paris. I met a man there whom I considered to be the One. I may have left Paris 2 years ago, it will always remain my happy place, and I didn't give up on my dream of living there again in the (hopefully near) future.

Until then, I'm determined to schedule regular visits to my favorite city in the entire world, starting next month. I booked my tickets a month ago, and to say I'm ecstatic at the prospect of revisiting all my beloved places would be a serious understatement. I've been going through my old photos, compiling an endless list of things to do, places to visit, meals to taste and little luxuries to buy, and I feel more and more excited every day.

Many of you asked me what were my absolutely favorite things to do in Paris, and I've decided to put together a list of my all-time favorites, as an inspiration for you, and as a reminder for me. These are the things I love most about Paris, and which I would never ever skip while there. And I would love to know: have you ever been to Paris? Do you have your own list of "inevitables" (sorry, Brad, I couldn't resist!)?

1. Take a stroll along Seine. To me, Seine has always been one of the most important Parisian monuments. It is inseparable from the city's rich history and and divides it into two very distinct banks. When I first began to live in Paris in 2009, I quickly developed a habit of taking long walks along Seine's banks. They always started at the monumental Hôtel de Ville (right next to the overwhelming Notre Dame) and ended under the Eiffel tower. I often made this itinerary all by myself, accompanied only by my camera, but also with every single person who came to pay me a visit. Everyone always loved it, and I never grew tired of this path, for I always managed to find something new and unexpected, some little unique detail that made me fall in love with the city all over again. And what could be more romantic than watching the sun set just above the water, with a cup of hot chocolate in my hands and my head full of dreams? This is my very own definition of la vie en rose...

2. Make my life sweeter. No one in his / her right mind would claim that Paris isn't the ultimate "royaume de la pâtisserie" (pastry kingdom, for my non-francophone friends). Candy-colored macarons at Ladurée, breathtaking raspberry Ispahan at Pierre Hermé, exquisite coffee éclairs from Paul, the most adorable looking (and tasting) raspberry tartelettes from La Brioche dorée, scrumptious Mont-Blanc and traditional hot chocolate at Angelina...just thinking of all those dainty, eye-catching and decadent delicacies makes my heart beat a little bit faster. I've always been a firm believer that there is no problem in the world that couldn't be solved around a cup of steaming tea and a box of delicate macarons!

3. Get lost in the beauty department of Printemps. If there is such thing as beauty heaven, then it's most definitely to be found at the ground floor of Printemps, one of the most iconic Parisian shopping spots (closely followed by Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon Marché). They have all the well renowned brands, and some you've probably never heard of. Whenever I needed a new, stellar moisturizer, the latest Chanel lipstick, an enchanting new perfume or just a little something to pick me up after a long day at the university, I always found it there. This time around, I'm looking forward to a skincare consultation at Clarins, picking up a new scent at Annick Goutal and completing my ever-growing collection of Chanel nail polishes (and this is by no means an exhaustive list!) These are little luxuries that make my life that much more beautiful even during the most stressful and difficult times.

4. Admire the sparkling Eiffel Tower at night. Let's be honest: I've never been afraid of clichés, I've never been afraid to admit that I'm a hopeless romantic and that I love seeing life through rose tinted glasses. Seeing the Eiffel tower flashing its hundreds of brilliant lights for the first time all those years ago made a lasting impression upon me. Ever since I make a point of seeing this performance every time I make it to Paris. There's something so magical and enchanting about those twinkling lights. It's like watching hundreds of little stars sparkling in the sky. I'll be sure to stop by the tower at a and make a wish...

5. Get my cultural fix. For a girl from a small town where the only cultural highlight used to be the local folklore group, Paris has always been the place where cultural dreams turn to reality. Whether you love painting, music, sculpture, theater, or cinema, you're bound to find something fascinating there. All my fondest cultural memories are tightly connected with Paris (to name just one: seeing Roméo & Juliette at Palais des Congrès remains one of the most stunning and unforgettable experiences of my life).

When it comes to museums, Louvre will always be on top of my list. I must have already visited its corridors at least 20 times and yet I haven't seen everything this monument has to offer. Le Musée d'Orsay follows closely, with its incredible Impressionist collection and my all-time favorite painting: Vincent van Gogh's La nuit étoilée. It's hard to believe that with my love for Impressionism, I've never been to L'Orangerie (the home of Monet's breathtaking Nymphéas) and to Musée Marmottan, entirely dedicated to Claude Monet and his fellow Impressionist. I'm more than determined to get it right in December.

I always try to visit to least one of the small Parisian libraries which have never surrendered to the pressure of the gigantic department stores (Shakespeare and Co. is an absolute must!). Huge admirer of both Marc Jacobs and his work for Louis Vuitton, I'm so sad that I missed the exhibition dedicated to them at Arts décoratifs! But I'm quite sure that I'll find a suitable alternative (after all, a visit to the Louis Vuitton flagship store on Champs Elysées is non-negotiable!)

More favorite Parisian things to come next week!


  1. Such a great and useful post! I'm going to Paris in two weeks and can't wait for the trip since it will be my 1st time there :)


  2. What a great post! I love anything about Paris too and I'm so excited for you that you're going back! I can't wait to see more of your pictures!

  3. This Parisian post stole my heart...you've displayed and described so much beauty from this magical city, And you've listed such great reasons to visit! Your photos are stunning, like picture postcards, how far is it to travel from where you live?

  4. Beautiful love declaration to Paris. I only live two hours away by train but only go there maybe once a year. A great place but will always be second to my favourite European city, London.

  5. Hi Ivana! It is going to be one of my fav post from you! I have a huge crush for Paris! Love all the photos you took, so stunning, congrats! Is the most beautiful city in the world! Kisses dear! xoxo

  6. I adore Paris! These recommendations are fantastic. My most favorite is to stroll around Montemartre and the artist district behind it.

    Haute Child in the City

  7. I've heard so many great things about Printemps. I hope to get lost in there one day

  8. Oh, Ivana!! I'm almost crying of how beautiful you describe everything here, I'm in love with this post, really! Considering that when I went to Disney Paris, public transport was on strike and we couldn't reach the city, and even if I live so near, I yet have to visit.
    A dream of mine is visiting on Christmas time, but this season won't be possible.

    Girls that glitter love the dark

  9. Oh how lovely! I was in Paris for only a few days, but it ook my breath away (and, I think, a piece of my heart). I'm planning to go back in a few years time with my husband in tow- did you know that there is some great rock climbing in France? That's how I'm going to get him there ;)

  10. Love this post! Paris is my favourite city in the world!

    It would mean a lot if you could check out my blog and leave a comment, I would love to hear what you think!



  11. great!


  12. ow wow! so beautiful!

    Inside and Outside Blog
    P.S. I'm hosting a glasses giveaway on my blog here check it out!

  13. When we went to Paris, we went to the bakery every single day. It was heaven.

  14. Everything you just wrote, I feel the same! My relationship with Paris only began two years ago when I rented an apartment there for the summer. It was such a love affair, I loved doing all the things that you listed. Paris has something for everyone, it is such a remarkable city. I love it there!

  15. Lovely post, thank you for sharing this with us, I can't wait to go to Paris :)

  16. Awwww I dont blame you Ivana.....PARIS is such a dream & will always be the end all & be all of my existence too!!!


  17. I could stay at the Louvre for the whole day! Thank you for sharing your adventures.

    xo Jo



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