Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world! This cultural mecca is known for its amazing museums, restaurants and shopping. I first fell in love with the ‘City of Love’ when I decided to take my first solo trip there for my 30th birthday. I planned this amazing all accompanying trip that included my favorite activities. Since it was my first trip I made sure to include all the worthy tourists attractions, but I also included some other unique experiences. There was just so much to do and see! As mentioned in my previous article (see My Top 5 Solo trips) I have been coming to Paris every year for the past 6 years because it’s my favorite city. During every trip I try to include some uncommon activities to keep my spirit intrigued and wanting to return. I have listed those below so others can enjoy the magic that is Paris.
- The French Open– During my first trip to Paris I came at the perfect time. I went during the last week in May for my birthday (Yes I’m a Gemini) and had the privilege to visit and experience Roland-Garros. This was my first major tennis tournament and I’m glad I took the time to plan this event into my trip. My experience at the French Open is one of the reasons I fell in love with Paris. I had a chance to see one of my idols, Serena Williams, crush her competition on the main court. (She even one the French Open that year!) Besides all day matches to watch, Roland-Garros has beautiful grounds to stroll and savor. There are also tons of cute cafés and shops in and surrounding the grounds. Roland-Garros is easily accessible from the city via public transportation; which I recommend using in Paris because it’s the best way to get around town. If you get the opportunity to visit Paris in the Spring I highly recommend incorporating the French Open into your trip.
2. A cooking class– French cooking is the epitome of cuisine. Paris hosts a number of Michelin star restaurants, although I honestly prefer the perfect corner bistro for cuisine. The most enticing part of French cuisine to me is their wonderful breads and pastries. I had the amazing opportunity to roll up my sleeves twice for two different cooking classes during my visits. The first class I signed up for through La Cuisine Paris was about French pastries and desserts. We concocted everything from macarons to pain au chocolat. The second class, by Cook N with Class, I joined during a separate visit focused on French breads. I learned how to make the classic baguette and some bomb brioche. Truly both experiences were amazing. The instructors were extremely personable and I was able to take home all the recipes we made with tons of samples. I had a blast learning about French food and was able to stuff my face at the same time. Immersing one’s self into a culinary experience brings you closer to that country’s culture. You not only are able to be a part of the food but it also becomes a part of you.
3. Versailles– France and Paris are known for its amazing historical architecture. When I visit Paris, I love to walk through the city in awe of all the old buildings and beautiful parks intertwined. The Palace of Versailles is the cherry on top of French design and composition. Versailles is located only about 30 minutes outside of Paris and it is definitely worth the trip. Plan to spend a whole day here because there is a lot to see and a lot of people who want to see it as well. The Palace of Versailles is a World Heritage Site where you can view fabulous and famous gardens, The Hall of Mirrors, The Royal Opera, regal chambers, etcetera. I had the opportunity to book a tour here using TripAdvisor that included roundtrip transportation and the entrance fee to Versailles. I would definitely suggest booking ahead of time as well. Check out more information here.
4. Catacombs– Paris is known as the ‘City of Light’ but who knew underneath lived a dark past filled with remains of millions of Parisians. The catacombs are a unique site and a great change of scenery to the hustle of the city. It is literally an underground maze filled with billions of bones. I encourage a visit to anyone with an inkling of an interest in history. I went a few years ago and I had a fascinating experience. I had the pleasure of a guided tour which is a must. Otherwise you are stuck wondering around confused underground. My tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and made my tour more enjoyable. The catacombs are easy to access via Metro. Once again I recommend booking your tour ahead of time otherwise the wait time can make the excursion unbearable. More information here.
5. Champagne– This last trip to Paris I thought I would treat myself to an original cultural experience. As I stated in a previous post I fell in love with Rosé after visiting the Côte D’Azur. After popping and sipping several bottles over the years, I was intrigued to learn how to make Rosé and its bubbly cousin champagne. I went to my go-to TripAdvisor and found a tour to Champagne, France from Paris. During this all-inclusive tour I had the opportunity to visit a private vineyard, learn and visualize the process in making sparkling rose and sip on some the best champagne I’ve ever had! I also visited the Moet & Chandon mile long champagne cellar and sampled more champagne. This private tour also included a visit to the city of Champagne, one of the oldest chapels in France and also Dom Perignon’s grave site. It was truly an unforgettable trip and I recommended it to anyone visiting Paris.