I recently got back from my first trip to Paris and j’adore. It’s a very walkable city, and for long distances the Metro is clean and easy to use. I experienced some culture shock, but it was a good thing. Here are some of my recommendations should you ever find yourself in the City of Lights:

  • On the day that I was alone in the city, I went to the Louvre (against the advice of just about everyone). Besides the art, the architecture of the Palais du Louvre was intricate and beautiful, and it was all punctuated by the famous modern glass pyramid in the palace’s courtyard. I learned that the architect of the pyramid was paying homage to the Egyptian aesthetic that came to Paris after Napoleon’s Egyptian adventure.
  • I took a Seine river cruise on the Bateaux Mouches, taking in the Île de la Cité, which is the island in the middle of the Seine on which the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris sits. I was still by myself, but I felt totally comfortable sitting with the other tourists. I couldn’t help but feel the history that must have taken place within the brick-fortified banks of the meandering river.
  • Once I met up with my friends we climbed up Paris’ big hill, Montmartre, to La Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur. Later on, we made the 13-mile journey to  Le Palais de Versailles, where we logged 28,000 steps on our pedometers.
  • One of the highlights of our trek around Paris was Le Musée d’ Orsay — and the Renoirs took my breath away.  
  • Paris lived up to its reputation as a foodie’s paradise in every way. From fine dining with tender escargot to eating crêpes on the busy sidewalks, every meal accompanied by a glass of Rosé was magical.

I didn’t think I would love Paris as much as I did, but once you get there the perfectly manicured gardens, charming outside terraces, and exquisite architecture make it hard not to fall in love. Seeing beautiful places is part of my new philosophy of spending money on experiences instead of things. Plus, you might just find that a country with a certain reputation is actually quite fabuleux.

Where do you suggest I go next?