Bucket List: Why Paris?
Better yet: Why NOT Paris! Lead LFBK teacher, Parisian Native, cultural autorité, fin gourmet, and frugal traveler, Emile Bertherat shares none-too-few reasons to mark “Paris Vacation” off your to-do list today!
LFBK: We New Yorkers have it all. We live, work, and play in the Greatest City in the World. We don’t accept 2nd best.When vacation planning – what does City of Lights have to offer those from the City that Never Sleeps? In brief: Why Paris?
Emile: Exactly, because you DO deserve the best! Paris is ideal for those who appreciate and enjoy being exposed to a wide range of cultures. Not only the variety of French cultures, but also other francophone countries (there is a vivid North African presence in Paris, and communities from West Africa as well).
Socially, Paris is a relaxing experience. No rush ever in cafés and restaurants, no lunch under an hour: welcome to the stress-free city.
Get out that camera! Also, Paris can feel like a constant fashion show: you will be amazed by the elegance and sophistication you can witness during a simple subway ride.
LFBK: Some of us are not yet globetrotters (#goals) – we want to spend our time aboard wisely, making the most of our time and Euros. Is Paris a worthy excursion for novice International Adventurist?
Emile: Paris is (indeed) a gateway to the world: attracting artists, painters, writers, fashion designers and filmmakers from all over the planet.
Paris museums showcase the world’s finest works. Also, during your stay, you are sure to meet people from dozens of countries.
LFBK: Back to brass tax here: (#fulldisclosure) I ain’t got a lot of scratch. Getting across the Atlantic alone is a budgetary hurdle. Once in Paris – is enjoying my trip going to pop the piggy bank? (BE HONEST. I can’t “afford” anything less!)
Emile: Don’t sweat your spending: You can travel to Paris on a budget AND still have a great time. The subway makes it doable to stay in the suburbs and commute to the center within 15 minutes.
You can have a delicious sandwich in a bakery for 5 dollars and spend an entire afternoon reading a book in the sun of a terrace sipping a 2 euros café.
LFBK: When it comes to singles – or those with lover-in-tow, is it true that Paris is indeed the City of Love? What are the good spots ALL the insiders and experienced canoodlers know about?
Emile: The Chateaux de la Loire is only a two-hour train ride away. The Chateau de Chambord is probably the most surprising of all. Just a peek at its grandiose staircases will make you feel like royalty.
Cinephiles know this castle already: it was featured in Jacques Demy’s Donkey Skin. And it is said to be one of Jim Morrison’s favorite places in France.
LFBK: You make a pretty good argument, Emile. (No wonder you are LFBK’s Paris personne ressource.) “If” I do go to Paris – when is best? Late Winter in NYC is the worst – it would be a une énorme déception to encounter equally icky conditions on vacation – blah blah
Emile: Don’t pack your puffer: Unlike NY where winters are freezing and summers can be dreadfully hot, Paris always has fair weather.
All seasons make Paris look different: summer is quiet. With most Parisians gone on vacation, traffic is low and you catch yourself strolling in the middle of the streets. The fall, with the tree leaves falling all over the sidewalks, makes for the perfect postcard vistas. Winter is my favorite season, temperatures never going too low. Every now and then, you can see a couple days of snow, and there is nothing nicer than watching snow fall on Haussmannian buildings from the bar of a nice bistrot. Spring is prime time for festivities and events, fairs and pop-up shows happening all over the city. No matter when you go, it’s never the wrong moment.
LFBK: Wow. Ain’t NO reason NOT to Paris, huh? Some things are on the bucket list for good reason. Now that my sights are set on the Champs-Elysées where do I begin my planning?