Top 10: Paris, France

In the next installment of our Top 10 series, Sparky’s headed to Paris, France. Check out the other posts in this series or submit your own!

Paris: the city of love and lights; fashion capital of the world; one of the most beautiful cities in the world! If you happen to one day find yourself in this fascinating and glimmering city while you’re abroad, here are some must-sees!

A view from the bottom - La Tour Eiffel

A view from the bottom – La Tour Eiffel

1. La Tour Eiffel: Well this one is just a given. You can’t say you’ve been to Paris without seeing this breathtaking monumental structure! While I personally believe it’s not too important to climb to the top of it, you should definitelysee it with your own eyes. Might I suggest a picnic along the Seine River while gazing up at the most recognizable symbol of Paris?

2. Arc de Triomphe: A monument to those who fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe offers one of the most beautiful views of this elegant city from its top. An elevator takes you almost to the top, but if you want to reach the very top, you’re just a short 42-step climb away from a gorgeous panoramic view of Paris. Beneath the monument is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where an eternal flame burns for those who died in the First and Second World Wars.

3. Eat a crêpe: Not getting a crepe in Paris is like not getting a gelato in Italy; it’s an absolute must. Whether you get one from a vendor on the street or inside of a restaurant –there is no such thing as a bad crepe in Paris! Might I suggest a crepe filled with Nutella and bananas?

4. Latin Quarter: Home to the historic Sorbonne University—the Latin Quarter is a charming and picturesque area, which will make you feel as though you’ve stepped into a classic 1960s film set in Paris. Some call it a “traditional center for great thinking,” as some of the world’s most important and historic writers and artists have passed through. Close your eyes and take a seat in one of its legendary cafes or in a quiet garden and breathe in the French air. PS: You can find the city’s best hostel deals in this area too!

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore – in case you couldn’t guess from the famous face above the entrance!

5. Shakespeare Company Bookshop: Right within the Latin Quarter and not too far away from Notre Dame, you’ll find the world’s most famous bookstore. More than just a bookstore, this special little shop has been a part of literary history for many decades. Spend hours and get lost in a book, browse the many isles, and take the time to stop and stare. And be prepared to squeeze yourself between all the other tourists doing the same!

6. SHOPPING: It’s Paris… it would be a sin not to shop while you’re there. While Avenue des Champs-Elysees is usually the number one suggestion, I recommend you stay away from the tourist trap. Instead, check out Avenue Montaigne – a street known for its high fashion and accessories. The street contains legendary designers such as Dior, Fendi, and Chanel lining the street. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is also a wonderful spot as it isnotably one of the most fashionable streets in the world. Virtually every major global fashion house has a presence in the area. If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of designer fashion, this is the place to be.

The Louvre

The Louvre

7. The Louvre: If you want to see everything in this massive museum, you might need a lifetime. However, the museum in itself is a work of art and a piece of history filled with works of art that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. My suggestion is to spend just a few hours (it’ll be enough – don’t try to pack everything in on one visit) and truly digest whatever it is you’re viewing – you won’t be disappointed.

8. Cabaret: The first cabaret ever was opened in Paris back in the late 1800’s – your trip would not be complete without a night at a world-renowned show! Lido, located on the Champs-Elysees, is often the most preferred venue by individuals across the world. And of course, Le Moulin Rogue, the original cabaret in Paris is another hot spot –because of its name, however, you can expect to pay a pretty penny!

9. Bastille: An area bustling with young travelers, this area is just the place for you! Here, you’ll not only find a bunch of funky cafes, but also fun bars as this area is known for Parisian nightlife (such as La Scene Bastille). Despite all of this, Bastille still maintains an image of culture and history. The square occupies an important place in French history because it surrounds the ruins of the Bastille Prison. Stormed on July 14th 1789, the fall of the Bastille was the flashpoint of the French Revolution. The 14th of July is France’s national holiday (La Fête Nationale, more commonly known as Le quatorze juillet), known in the English-speaking world as Bastille Day. It’s also home to the Marché Bastille, a farmer’s market with hours on Thursday and Sunday.

Unfortunately this picture from Versailles on a dreary day does not do it justice! Go see for yourself just how gilded the palace is!

Unfortunately this picture from Versailles on a dreary day does not do it justice! Go see for yourself just how gilded the palace is!

10. Versailles: If you only have a short amount of time in Paris, I would say nix this suggestion and pick one of the other 9. However, if you’re there for some time, Versailles Palace is absolutely stunning and makes for a sensational daytrip. Just a short train ride away from the city center, the royal chateau draws in large crowds. If you’re feeling adventurous, I’d suggest taking a self-guided tour. If you do visit, try to go when the fountain concerts are taking place – usually Sundays!

Paris is a beautiful city – I challenge all of you that are fortunate enough to see it, to truly immerse yourselves in the culture by seeing all you can, eating all you can, and living as the Parisians do! Bonne journée!

There are countless other things to do and see in Paris! What are your favorites? Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook wall. Tweet us @SparkySpotlight with your favorite Parisian places and spaces and use the hash tag #SparkyParis.

Diane Ferrer Study Abroad Spotlight intern Diane Ferrer studied abroad in Rome, Italy. Diane is currently finishing up her B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations as well as earning her MBA from Quinnipiac University. This summer she’ll be studying abroad (again!) in Budapest, Hungary! Learn more about Diane by checking out her Spotlight here! You can also find Diane heading up Sparky’s Instagram account!

Chrisanthi Xopapa

Christanthi studied abroad in Bordeaux, France and is currently finishing her studies at the Athens University of Economics and Business in Greece.

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Brooke Roberts

Brooke studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland; Orleans, France and London, England. She is now the Senior Vice President at GoAbroad.com

 
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