A day in Paris • Along the Seine
For me, Paris has always been magical. Because the City of Light has been featured in countless movies I've seen, I've been dreaming about it for a long time. In the last five years, I've been going there regularly and I'm pleasantly surprised the magic still operates. With its beautiful architecture, countless terraces and monuments, and of course, the Seine. A walk around the city's river is almost mandatory when I'm there. It has something immensely romantic and you come across some of the city's greatest landmarks. Follow me!
The first thing you should do when you arrive in Paris is to find a typical Parisian terrace and have a glass of wine. More than in any other city, drinking wine is a must. I suggest you go to Les Antiquaires because it is a good starting point for this itinerary. You can also have lunch here, for example a burger or a large salad.
Walk along the Seine towards West and cross the Pont de la Concorde to arrive on the famous Place de la Concorde, Paris' largest square. Have a closer look at the obelisk standing in its center (it was a gift from Egypt and is more than 3300 years old) and the two gorgeous fountains surround it. You'll probably recognize this place from The Devil Wears Prada (this is where Andy throws her phone in the water at the end of the movie). Leave the square and enter the Jardin des Tuileries, a large park with basins where Parisians like to hang out, sitting in the green metal chairs. This is also a place where a lot of street style pictures are taken of fashionistas during Paris Fashion Week.
Leave the Jardin des Tuileries and head to colette via the Rue du 29 juillet. It's one of the most famous concept stores that has everything that's hot at the moment. Even if you can't afford most of the items, it's always an inspirational experience! Pursue your walk in the 1e arrondissement towards the Galerie Vivienne. The "passages couverts" (covered passages) are galleries reminiscent of the old Paris which are characterized by their canopies and charming boutiques. There are around ten of them in Paris and the Galerie Vivienne is among the most luxurious. While you're here, you can take a break at A Priori Thé for some refreshments.
A little further you'll find the Palais-Royal. The location has a very rich history, serving as residence for royals such as Louis XIV, but today it is mostly known for the Colonnes de Buren, an art installation in the palace's courtyard that is open to the public. Continue walking south and you'll arrive at the Louvre, at the end of the Jardin des Tuileries that you left earlier. The visit of this worldwide museum alone can take a few days, so for now I suggest you just take in its architectural splendor.
Come back to the banks of the Seine and walk towards the Pont des Arts. This metallic bridge used to be known for the padlocks lovers attached on it to symbolize their love, but that's all in the past now (the bridge risked collapsing under the weight of the hundreds of locks). Nevertheless this bridge is very romantic and it reminds me of the scene in which Big tells Carrie she is "the one" at the end of Sex and the City's final season. A little further, cross the Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge of Paris, to enter the Ile de la Cité. The first square you'll meet on the right is the Place Dauphine. This historic square is a true sanctuary. When entering it, it feels as if you go back in time. Walk a little further and you'll arrive at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, the most visited monument of Europe and a true symbol of Paris.
Take some height to have a drink, overlooking Paris' signature rooftops in blues and greys. Head over to the Institut du Monde Arabe and take the elevator to the 9th floor to reach the panoramic terrace. Drinks are overpriced of course, but the view makes it worth it!
Since you're in Paris, why not do something cultural like going to the opera? The Opéra Bastille has 2703 seats, which makes it one of the largest in the world in terms of capacity. I suggest you go see a true classic story, like Aida or Carmen. It is really an unforgettable experience! And before immersing yourself in the Italian lyrics, you can have Italian dinner at the Auberge de Venise. The food is amazing and the staff is flexible, making sure you're served on time to go the opera afterwards.
How to get there:
The Thalys will take you from Bruxelles-Midi to Paris in just 1h22!