An American in Paris

Bonjour! Comment allez-vous? Tres bien? Ça c'est bon! Okay, you may be wondering why I’m babbling in French all of a sudden. I guess you can call it PPD (post-Paris depression). I just returned from a fun-filled trip to France’s capital, where I visited some of the city’s most legendary sights and centers of fashion. Here’s a look inside the busy itinerary of my three-day-stay.

Upon our arrival, my family and I were starving, so we headed to Kong for a late afternoon lunch. I first learned about the restaurant—where guests dine inside a glass dome on a rooftop overlooking Paris—while watching Sex and the City. Carrie Bradshaw had lunch there with Alexander’s ex, so I knew that I had to follow my Bradshaw intuition and eat at the same spot. Their sashimi and tuna tartare both tasted incredibly fresh and were the perfect pick-me-up after a long flight.

Now it was time to hit the ground running. First stop: The Eiffel Tower. I brought two outfits to shoot pictures in while we were on location, both with lots of movement to them so the shot could capture the esprit libre of Paris.

We were so inspired by the beauty of the tower that we decided to dine inside one of its restaurants that night, 58 Tour Eiffel Restaurant. The prepaid three-course meal allowed you to choose from two options for the appetizer, entree, and dessert. I chose the prawns, then the sea bream, then the fruit salad. Each plate was delectable and gave me a fantastic first impression of the quality of the French food I would be eating the next couple days.

After a comfortable slumber at the Hilton Paris Opera Hotel, it was time to explore the city in depth. I started off walking along Avenue Montaigne and took pictures in front of luxury designer stores such as Dior and Chanel. Admittedly, I was quite disappointed to find that the Dior awning I wanted to photograph was under scaffolding. But as Tim Gunn always says on Project Runway, when it comes to fashion, always “make it work!

Then I visited Hôtel Plaza Athénée, which had a gorgeous display of red posies adorning the front of the building. There is also a restaurant in the inner courtyard called “La Cour Jardin” that correlates with the peaceful theme of the hotel’s exterior. The eatery is surrounded on all sides by curtains of greenery and serves delicious seasonal dishes that make it a popular summer dining spot.

Speaking of popular spots, I knew that I had to visit Ladureé on the Champs Elysées (a renowned shopping avenue in the city). The bakery—which is well-known for its macaroons—originated in 1862 in Paris, the same year the first stone of the Garnier Opera House was laid. But the pastries tasted anything but old-fashioned; in fact, each treat tasted flavorful and fresh in its own way.

Next, I decided to go to the Museé du Parfum Fragonard, aka the Museum of Perfume. Running around smelling all the different fragrances, I truly felt like a kid in a candy store! Interestingly, the basil scented home spray was my fave, and I came very close to purchasing it for my city apartment.

At night, my family and I decided to attend the most renowned dinner show in Vegas: The Lido. This iconic cabaret is filled with feathers, flamboyancy, and the occasional flash of skin. Nonetheless, the production is extremely entertaining and filled with dozens of jaw-dropping surprises (water fountains on the stage, ice skaters, balancing acts, and contortionists to name a few).

For my last morning in Paris, I went on an early visit to the Museé Yves Saint Laurent, in honor of the legendary designer. In addition to learning about his rise in the fashion industry, I got to walk around and see some of the stunning pieces from his collections. My favorite was definitely a purple cape with embroidered flowers that was displayed on a gold-painted mannequin. To die for!

For lunch that day, I went to Les Ombres, a stunning rooftop restaurant that has one of the best views overlooking the Eiffel Tower in the city. After taking tons of photos outside with the tower as the backdrop, I enjoyed another delicious plate of sea bream with a side of vegetables. It tasted just as delicious as the one I had at the Eiffel Tower.

Next, we took a cab to one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris: The Louvre. Before even going into the museum to look at the paintings, I had to get a photo in front of the iconic glass pyramid. I could not believe how every intricate detail on the structure showed up in my final image! 

Inside the museum, my family and I made a beeline for the Mona Lisa...although our walk to the painting took a bit longer than we expected. We had to walk up several flights of stairs and push past crowds of people in order to glance at Leonardo da Vinci’s legendary piece of art—and you would not believe how tiny it actually is! 

For our final dinner in the city of love, my family and I dined on Avenue Montaigne in a restaurant called L’Avenue. I ordered my favorite French dish—tuna niçoise salad—and was certainly not disappointed. My dad also raved about his entrée: escargot. Let’s just say snails are not my cup of tea...

Before I knew it, it was already the next morning and time to say au revoir to Paris. But at the train station to my next European destination, dressed in my Carrie Bradshaw-inspired tutu and star-studded beret, it’s safe to say that this city made a lasting impression on me.