13 Favorite Paris Moments

The Seine, Quai D'Orleans, Ile Saint Louis. Pictures Colour Library
By Anna Brooke

Waiting for the Eiffel Tower to light up after dark, strolling along the Seine on a warm summer night -- these are two of my favorite moments in the world, not just in Paris. This is an electric city, a place that sends a charge through you the moment you arrive. Here are a few things I always try to do, see, or feel when I'm here. I hope you like them as much as I do.


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Inside looking out of the glass pyramid that stands in the courtyard of Le Louvre Museum and provides the entrance to the three main underground areas. James Tims
Walking through the courtyard of the Musée du Louvre early in the morning, hurrying to be one of the first in line, and catching the sun glinting off the glass pyramids in the courtyard always gives me a sense of excitement. I feel dwarfed by the looming walls as I wait for the beauty that lies within.
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Sailing in the Tuileries Travelin Karen
Wandering through the Jardin des Tuileries and catching peeks of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I always take a photo of a different statue with my cellphone, and use that photo as a screensaver for the next few months -- just to remind me.
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Orsay Museum and the Seine river, Paris World Pictures/Photoshot
Ambling along the Seine on a warm summer night toward the islands, watching the tour boats (bateaux mouches) cruise slowly by, the lights from their windows reflecting on the river. The riverside is packed, even after 10pm; sometimes it seems as if everybody in Paris is here. Bands play, lovers kiss, children frolic, everybody smiles -- this is how life should be all the time.
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Musee d'Orsay GailB711
Sitting in the Musée d'Orsay in the center sculpture court, down below the entrance, looking up at the huge, ornate clock on the wall far above. Through the frosted glass around it you can see the shadows of people passing by on invisible walkways. The sheer scale is astounding; the look is pure drama. And all around me the works of history's most talented sculptors lounge, leap, and laugh silently.
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Sunday along the Canal St. Martin Travelin Karen
Strolling along the Canal St Martin, passing delicate iron bridges, locks, and the occasional fisherman. I could spend the better part of a day losing myself in the bohemian boutiques, stopping at a cafe, and then continuing along to the Parc de la Villette for a picnic in the park or a trip around the Cité des Sciences.

Photo by Travelin Karen/Frommers.com Community.
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Berthillon. Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Getting an ice cream from Berthillon on Ile St-Louis. This ice-cream shop is arguably the most famous in Paris, and Parisians love their ice cream, so that's saying something. It's tucked into a quiet street, and always, from the moment it opens until it closes, has a line out front. On bright days, I get a cup of hazelnut and vanilla, then walk down to the riverside to eat it in the sunshine.
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Les Deux Magots. jsmjr
Having wine at Les Deux Magots, solely because F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway loved this place. Today, it's too touristy, too expensive, too noisy . . . but I don't care. So much literary history happened here, and the waiters don't mind that much if all you want to do is have a small carafe of red wine, read This Side of Paradise, and soak up the ambience. It must have looked almost exactly the same in the 1920s.
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Ladder Street in Montmarte. Frommers.com Community
Climbing the streets of Montmartre. This hilly, hopelessly romantic neighborhood is my favorite in all of Paris. A sweeping view of the city spreads out before you from every cross street. Every corner reveals another evocative stone staircase too steep to see all the way down, but at the bottom you know you'll find sweet old buildings painted pale colors, and streets of old paving stones. On a gray, autumnal day, I want to be here.
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Silhouette of the Eiffel Tower as the sun sets in early April. John Troynousky
Sitting outside the Eiffel Tower at sunset, waiting for the lights to come on. That moment when somebody, somewhere, flicks the button that lights up the tower, from the bottom to the top, is matchless. Then I know where I am.
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Hemingway Bar Pablo Sanchez
Lingering over a cocktail at the Hemingway Bar in the Hotel Ritz. The hotel is ultra-luxurious, but the bartenders are relaxed and friendly, and they mix a mean vodka martini. I like to bring a book, sit in the corner, and wonder what it was like when Hemingway and Fitzgerald used to spend far too much time here.
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Chartier restaurant. malias
Enjoying steak frites at Chartier, where the waiters manage to be both brusque and friendly, and approve of my efforts to speak French. It's an inexpensive yet classically French restaurant. At the end of my meal, the waiters add up the bill on the white paper covering the table. They also smile at my bad French jokes.
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Seine Riverboat. Zef Delgadillo
Riding a riverboat down the Seine, where all the buildings are artfully lighted so they seem to glow from within. On warm nights, I take an open-top boat, and feel as if I can reach up and touch the damp, stone bridges as we pass beneath them.

Photo by ZefDelgadillo/Flickr.com
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Cafe at Palais de Tokyo. Bolshakov
Discovering the latest contemporary art installation at the Palais de Tokyo. That moment is when everything I know about art flies out the window and I am confronted with something new and wholly unconventional. I ask myself what it is I'm looking at and how it makes me feel, then digest it all over a plate of delicious noodles in the gallery's Japanese restaurant Tokyo Eat.
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