Bonjour, Paris! Three days in the City of Love

Posted by Anita Froneman on 30 November 2021

By Mariette Adams 

I’m a firm believer that perfection is an illusion, but even I have to admit that my three-day stay in Paris came pretty close. Hemingway was right when he said that Paris is a moveable feast.

Picture: Mehmet Turgut/Pexels

Famous sights

Known as the City of Love, Paris is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world and one of the most romantic cities in Europe. For a first-time visitor like myself, it was a magical experience. It’s a beautiful city, easy to walk around, with an interesting history, and with lots of things to see and do. 

The world-renowned Louvre Museum in central Paris hosts artwork from across history including Western art from the medieval period to 1848, formative works from the civilizations of the ancient world, and works of Islamic art. Some of its most famous works include the Mona Lisa, the Seated Scribe, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the Venus de Milo, to name a few.

Other goosebumps-inducing sights include the Palais Garnier (formerly the Paris Opera), an opulent opera house built at the behest of Napoleon and which has hosted the likes of Beethoven and Mozart.

If you prefer more modern art, the Louis Vuitton Foundation is exhibiting the Morozov Collections. The Morozov brothers were great 20th-century Moscovite patrons and collectors who put together one of the most exceptional collections of French and Russian modern art. Works of artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh and Pierre Bonnard were on show.

Picture: Ninara/Flickr Commons

The Louis Vuitton Foundation building itself is an architectural masterpiece of contemporary art. Constructed on the edge of a water garden created especially for the project, the building comprises an assemblage of white blocks (known as the icebergs) clad in panels of fibre-reinforced concrete, surrounded by twelve immense glass ‘sails’ supported by wooden beams. The sails allow the building to reflect the water, woods and garden and continually change with the light.

As I said: magical.

Accommodation 

Picture: Hotel Molitor

Hotel Molitor is situated on the outskirts of the inner city and about 5km from the Eiffel Tower. It’s also in the heart of the city’s sports hub. For any sport-loving fan, staying within walking distance of the Rolland Garros, Parc des Princes and Stade Jean-Bouin stadiums is a dream come true.

The Molitor houses two huge athletic pools (indoor and outdoor), while the show-shopper art gives it an avant-garde atmosphere.

Picture: Hotel Molitor

Picture: Hotel Molitor

If your preference for luxury accommodation is more high-end, the Hilton Canopy Hotel in the heart of the city would be a great choice. With rooms and suites overlooking the Eiffel Tower and a roof-top entertainment area and bar with 360-degree view of the city, you can’t go wrong.

With six of the eight 2023 Rugby World Cup knockout matches taking place in Paris and with the Springboks almost certain to advance to the playoffs, Hotel Molitor and the Canopy Hilton Hotel should be at the top of your list when looking for accommodation for when you plan to go support the defending champion Boks.

Cuisine

The restaurants in Paris take the term ‘gourmet French cuisine’ to the next level. I’m by no means a foodie, but I can appreciate a good meal as much as the next person and in Paris, the standard of food was always on the top-end of the scale. The highlight of my dinner at I’Hotel Paris Molitor was a pumpkin soup well complemented by a variety of bread and butter that only the French know how to serve.

Lunch at L’Esprit Nouveau was the full shebang: starter, mains, snack and dessert. Missing home just a little bit, I went for the Le Burger with pickles and a side of chips and a salad. Seated under a glass roof, this was dining at its finest.

No foreign experience is complete, however, without a dash of street food. The night before my departure, I took a train to the Eiffel Tower, casually wandered around to take in my surroundings and simply bought a hot dog with cheese on a baguette from a street vendor for dinner.

It wasn’t as fancy as my sit-down meals, but it was as delicious and the spontaneity of the moment left me with one of my best memories of this trip. I mean, I ate a hotdog under the mesmerizing lights of the Eiffel Tower, what could possibly be better?

When in Paris, shop ’til you drop

Paris is renowned for its fashion houses, which have multiple exclusive chic and stylish shops all over the city. But to get your fix of high-end fashion all in one place, the Galeries Lafayette is the perfect option. Rated as the best shopping mall in Paris, Galeries Lafayette is a six-level figurehead in the Paris fashion scene.

Picture: kuhnmi/Flickr Commons

A tourist destination in its own right, there are three buildings: one for house and food products, one for men’s fashion, and the main ‘Coupole’ building, featuring the famous Art Nouveau dome and the rooftop view. The main building houses eight stories, more than 2,000 of the world most popular luxury brands and a number of cafés, bars, and restaurants.

I was captivated by the sneaker section at Galeries Lafayette, but the fashion options are endless and the fact that there’s also a thrift store department where second-hand luxury pieces sold at a discount rate makes it any shopper’s paradise. 

Pictures: Mariette Adams

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