By Erin Rathbone

No city in the world is as chic and elegant as Paris. Known as the City of Love, there are so many places to fall in love with. Paris is the center of the art of gastronomy – from chic restaurants to small cafes and picturesque bistros. It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s most visited and loved attractions are located in this romantic city. There is so much history and culture to discover!

Breakfast and Coffee

Café de Flore – This café is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris and is famous for its celebrity clientele. It’s easy to spend a few hours here sitting at an outdoor table sipping a delicious coffee. If you’re not a coffee drinker, their hot chocolate is heaven in a cup.  They offer a traditional French breakfast – coffee, croissants, pastry and breads, so if you prefer lighter fare this is a great option. Café de Flore is an authentic Parisian café experience!

Holybelly Mentioned on almost every list of top places to eat in Paris, Holybelly offers one the best breakfasts you’ll experience. They have bourbon infused syrup for the pancakes, and all of their egg options are out of this world (especially the scrambled eggs). Their motto is “it’s good because we care.” And it’s true; the staff are exceptionally friendly and helpful.

Lunch /Dinner

Epicure – A triple Michelin-Starred restaurant, Epicure serves French cuisine in a chic dining room with large windows that look out into the garden of the Le Bristol Hotel. Crisp white tablecloths, beautiful tile floors that shine in the sunlight and ornate chandeliers – all in a quiet, hushed atmosphere.  Everything on the menu is a standout (especially the macarons), and be prepared to be treated like royalty here; this will be the highlight of your dining experiences while in Paris.

Au Petit Tonneau – This cute bistro is a charming little place, located close to the Eiffel Tower. It has been around for 80 years, and the owners have done their best to ensure that it keeps the classic appeal. Make sure to try the blanquette de veau (veal in cream sauce), the Potatoes au Gratin, and pair with a glass of fine wine from their extensive list. The service is excellent, and the food is reasonably priced for the level of quality that is offered.

Clamato – One of the best places to enjoy seafood with a Parisian twist. The plates are small and made for sharing; this way you can order many dishes to sample what Clamato has to offer.  Savoury mussels, oysters, swordfish ceviche, cod fritters, smoked shrimp…the list goes on. This place is a hotspot, but note: they don’t accept reservations, so head over right at 7 for their supper opening or stop in for a late-night snack.

Nightlife

Le Syndicat – With graffiti and posters covering the doors, this casual speakeasy serves up drinks made with French liqueurs and spirits. The feel inside is super vintage, with yellow curtains draping the walls in the soft candlelight. The staff is really helpful and will make you feel at home, while retro hip hop music pumps in the background. Le Syndicat is listed as one of the best cocktail joints in the world, so go check it out!

Le Perchoir – This very popular bar offers 360 views of the city below. Have a seat on the comfy sofas with thick cushions in a garden atmosphere. Show up in the early evening as it’s a great place to catch the sunset. Le Perchoir is chic and trendy, and you may have to wait in line to get in…but the views are worth it!

Rex Club – This place is on almost every list of top nightclubs in Paris. It has been around for more than 25 years and was the first club in Paris where you could enjoy techno music. The big-named DJ’s that play here will have you dancing all night long to techno, house, and electronica. There are many travellers that come here – you’re bound to make new friends from the world over. Make sure you’re dressed the part; it’s always busy, so don’t give the bouncers a reason to turn you away!

Sightseeing

Eiffel Tower – This iconic landmark can’t be missed during your visit to Paris. You can view it from the ground or brave the heights and take the stairs and lift to the top for panoramic views of the city below. It was initially built as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair and was only meant to be temporary. Now it’s the most often visited monument in the world. It’s also worth checking out at night – it’s perfectly lit up.

The Louvre – The world’s largest and most popular art museum and historic monument in one; it’s located in the central part of Paris on the right bank of the Seine River. Admire the pyramid that rests in the center courtyard of this former palace, which is also the main entrance to the museum. See such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and the many Egyptian antiques.

Stroll down the Champs D’Elysees – Start at the Place de la Concorde, the largest public square in Paris. There are two beautiful fountains, many statues and the giant Egyptian obelisk. Continue down the street through the park area and then further on to check out the many cafes and luxury shops. At the end of your journey you’ll reach the magnificent Arc de Triomphe which honours those who fought and died in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Palace of Versailles – Just an hour drive from Paris, this palace served as the principal royal residence of France from 1682 to 1789, the start of the French Revolution. Most of its furnishings were stripped during this time, but have been returned or restored along with the rooms and halls. Just as impressive as the palace are the gardens sprawling to the west and covering over 800 hectares of land.

Whether you choose to get lost in the streets or spend your afternoon sipping on coffee in a quaint café, Paris is full of surprises and is guaranteed to be your trip of a lifetime.  As quoted by Audrey Hepburn: “Paris is always a good idea.”

You can read more about Erin’s travel adventures in her blog: //everywhereonearthwitherin.com/

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