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The City of Light
Paris, nicknamed the City of Light, is one of the world’s most seductive cities. Simultaneously cosmopolitan and quaint, it’s divided into 20 neighborhoods, or arrondissements, and each one offers its own unique charms. No matter where your Paris villa is located, you’re guaranteed a quintessential Parisian experience, full of stunning antiquity and modern romance.
From the grand museums, such as the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, to the famous monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, there are hundreds of sights to see. But make sure to take your time and enjoy Paris’ simple pleasures. Sip an aperitif on the terrace cafés, browse the boutiques in Montmartre, stroll through the city’s manicured parks and gardens, and wander the winding cobblestone streets of Le Marais. You’ll discover incredible restaurants, meet friendly locals, and even learn a few phrases en français.
There's more to Paris than meets the eye. While tourists flock to the City of Light to visit the Louvre, eat a crusty baguette and sip champagne at a café, and take snapshots from the Eiffel Tower, there are an abundance of secrets in this city that could easily go missed or undiscovered. Make sure to incorporate these hidden but highly characteristic destinations into your next Paris villa vacation.
Eat & Drink
Start the day with a café au lait or espresso at the hip neighborhood bar La Cagnotte de Belleville. Café Cambronne is another typical Parisian cafe that doesn't take reservations, but is the perfect spot for people watching. Sink into one of the burgundy leather seats and take in the mayhem while eyeing the regulars sipping a beer. Lee Bennett, head chef at Le Pont de la Tour in London, recommends trying the Toulouse sausages with lentils, the snails, and any of the bistro salads.
Travel expert Angela Shannon suggests stopping for a glass of rosé at an outdoor café and taking a day trip to Reims (the Champagne region) for a tasting at Veuve Clicquot. If Bloody Marys are your poison, stop by Harry's New York Bar, which has been open for more than 100 years, where the cocktail was invented. At the tiny Fromagerie Trotté, taste some of the owner Pascal Trotté's personal selection of artisan cheeses.
Travel pros agree that no trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to the catacombs. A 45-minute walk through the old quarries and underground tunnels will bring you a vision of galleries filled with tens of thousands of human cadavers brought from overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th century, all of which are arranged into intricate patterns. After passing walls of human skulls, you'll likely want to re-immerse yourself in some Parisian romance. The Rodin Sculpture Garden is especially beautiful, and the scene at the Pont des Arts is a unique romantic spectacle; lovers put a padlock on this bridge and then throw the key into the Seine to seal their love.
While most vacationers are eager to visit the Louvre, this city boasts more than 200 unique museums to choose from, including the highly unusual Museum of Perfume, Museum of Magic, Museum of Automated Toys, and even a Museum of Vampires.
The smaller Musée D'Orsay is a must-see for more casual art enthusiasts. As an extra bonus, the museum has a spectacular view of Paris from the rooftop.
Insider tip: It's advisable to get the Paris Museum Pass as it allows you to skip the long lines at both Versailles Palace and the Louvre. Additionally, the pass offers access to Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, the Rodin Museum and more.