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Instead of lounging around the house in sweatpants and watching Netflix until dawn, my summer was spent frolicking around the quaint alleys of Paris. From reading books in the Jardin des Tuileries to wandering around the photogenic streets of Montmartre, exploring the city was definitely an adventure!

Many assume that Paris isoverrated becauseitis one of the most popular travel destinations, but oh, are they wrong! There is so much to learn about Parisian culture, language, history and food. 

Photo courtesy of Allegra Vallina

Paris is crawling with people from all over the world wanting to catch a glimpse of the famous Mona Lisa or the works of Manet. Fair warning, the lines may be long and some museums may not have air conditioning, but trust me when I say the long wait and slight discomfort are small prices to pay, especially if you have a soft spot for art like I do.

Just being in the presence of these stunning paintings and reading about the history behind each artist will take your breath away. It is so fascinating to see every brushstroke on the canvas and learn how these masterpieces were created. 

Sculptures are also on display, including the well-known “Venus de Milo” at the Louvre. It takes immense skill and patience to be able to carve statues by hand. Some must-sees are the Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée d’Orsay and the museum at the Centre Pompidou! 

There is nothing like sitting in a Parisian cafe, enjoying a croissant and people watching. If you don’t do this while in Paris, did you even go? 

You don’t have to splurge on escargot or foie gras to enjoy French cuisine. Simply trying the gourmet bread or chocolate is heaven! From crepes that melt in your mouth to long, tasty baguette sandwiches, there is nothing else like French food. The quality is out of this world (maybe even out of this universe). So much preparation goes into every dish. Some of my favorite places include Café de Flore, Eric Kayser, Fuxia and Creperie Little Breizh. Trust me, they are guaranteed to make your mouth water!

Check out some of my favorite dishes below!

Photo courtesy of Allegra Vallina

You can find the most aesthetic matcha latte, macarons and cappuccino from Pierre Herme. 

Photo courtesy of Allegra Vallina

By far the prettiest thing I’ve eaten, these gelato cones are meticulously shaped into roses. Made by the artisanal shop Amorino, these gelato cones can be found in their stands around the Jardin des Tuileries or around the city! 

Photo courtesy of Allegra Vallina

This is a healthy and delicious salad from Le Bourbon. There are tons of healthy options in the city as well! 

If you love flowers and all sorts of greenery, Giverny is the place to go. Giverny is a small village in Normandy that can be accessed quickest through a short train ride. This is where artist Claude Monet lived and painted his scenic works of art. His home was transformed into a museum where you can walk around the grounds and see his radiant gardens. Talk about a bouquet fantasy! The house itself is also worth admiring. It is so adorable with a pink and green facade and brightly colored interior.

Photo courtesy of Allegra Vallina

I also can’t forget to mention the gorgeous streets of Giverny. With plenty of moss, paved streets and picturesque countryside cottages, it feels as if you stepped into a storybook.

Shopping is a unique experience in Paris. From the streets of the Champs de Elysees to Chanel, it’s practically a sport! Although not very affordable, the designs, fabrics and intricate details on the clothing are fascinating to see, especially if you’re interested in fashion design. There are also plenty of stores that won’t break the bank. It is easy to find reasonably priced boutiques as well as your average Zara or Urban Outfitters. One of my recommendations is Camaieau. 

Paris is a magnificent place. I stayed at The Westin Paris – Vendôme, which I highly recommend. It’s within walking distance to many of the destinations listed here and in a very safe arrondissement. I also suggest wearing comfy walking shoes. A pair of comfortable flats should suffice. Perhaps try learning some rudimentary French as well. You don’t have to be completely fluent, but it shows the locals that you are considerate. Bon voyage!