Before you tick off the same sights on your Paris itinerary, consider adding one or more of these activities. Amusez-vous bien!
Picnic at Jardin du Luxembourg
If there is a more charming park in all of the City of Lights we’ve yet to find it. Created in 1612 by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, to flank a residence she had built, this park has gorgeous landscapes, lawns, walkways, flowers and lots more. (These days, French Senate uses the palace to meet.) Stop by a Monopole or another grocery store first to pick up the fixings for a picnic — baguette sandwiches, fruit, chips, wine for the adults and Orangina for the kids. After lunch at one of the park’s many tables or benche,s head over to the circular basin, where the kids can rent toy sailboats to navigate on the water with sticks; each boat is representative of a country and they’ll have fun trying to race one another. Afterwards order a cornet de glace (ice cream cone) in your favorite flavor(s) from one of the stands in the park.
Savor Galettes de Boeuf on Ile St. Louis
You might immediately associate crêpes in Paris with the eggy sweet pastries slathered with Nutella and topped with slices of bananas you’ll find on carts all around the city. But did you know there is a totally different style that makes for a light dinner? On Île Saint-Louis, one of Paris’ two natural islands on the Seine River (the other being Île de la Cité), you’ll find a handful of adorable bistros serving galette de boeufs, buckwheat crepes stuffed with ground beef, cheese and a sunny side up egg, and folded over to keep all the goodness inside. Order them with a side salad, then finish with the sweet, chocolate-filled counterparts.
Soak Up the Sun at a Sidewalk Café
Is there anything more Parisian than parking it at a table, ordering a round of drinks alongside snacks or a meal and watching the city pass you by? We wouldn’t dream to recommend the best café in the city (everyone has an opinion, bien sûr), but we are partial to Le Sancerre in Le Marais. The goat cheese salad is divine, the Croque Monsieur is melty and delicious, you can obviously get a great chilled glass of the Loire Valley wine that’s the spot’s namesake, and the kids can order neon green Diabolo Menthe, a peppermint soda of sorts that’s sweet, bracing and fizzy. We wouldn’t blame you if you stayed there the entire day.
Gaze at Monet’s “Water Lilies” at Musée de l’Orangerie
The Louvre is just a short walk away, but trust us: This is the can’t-miss Parisian museum experience you’ll always remember (and moreover, the paintings are way larger and more impressive than the “Mona Lisa” could ever be.) Eight panels of the master’s famed Impressionist paintings cover the walls in two rooms, and even though it can get crowded at times with visitors wanting to capture panoramic videos and selfies, the entire space magically retains a sense of calm and serenity. Read the plaques, decided which panel is your favorite, snap a zillion photos and then be sure to peruse the gift shop for scarves, umbrellas, pens, playing cards, puzzles and everything else decorated with these iconic pieces of art.
Frolic in the Eiffel Tower Fountains.
Is it technically permitted? No. Do scores of locals and visitors do it anyway? Absolument oui. If it’s a hot day and your plans are going to take you to La Tour Eiffel, make sure to wear your bathing suits and bring a towel. The fountains and cannons are fun for anyone from 3 to 93, and it’s the perfect way to cool off before or after your next excursion.
With everyone stuck at home, looking for entertainment and a way out, the best thing we can do right now is plan for future trips. One easy way to make that happen sooner rather than later is by spending some quality time in the great outdoors.
By Hainan Airlines
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