A Virtual Trip to Paris from your Couch
Earlier this year, I decided to embark on a new aspect of my business with the Souks du Monde Blog. I anticipated highlighting more of our travels and my best recommendations, along with more stories behind the products in my shop. After much planning and anticipation, my blog was officially launched at the beginning of 2020.
If you’ve been around since then, you’ve read about our road trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, Snow Skiing (and après ski in the Alps), and our magical trip to Cappadocia, Turkey to source some of the Turkish rugs in my shop. It’s hard to believe we did all of that before COVID-19 took hold of things!
While this was perhaps not optimal timing for a blog that included lots about travel, I’ve decided to keep up with the theme. To be honest, I have severe wanderlust, and revisiting our travels seems to be just the ticket to keeping a feeling of normalcy lately!
In my quarantine bucket list a few weeks ago, I suggested taking a virtual trip. This week, I’m going to help you do just that by taking you right from the comfort of your couch to one of my favorite cities in the world. Mark your favorites for the future so that on your next trip to the city of lights, you’ll already have some of your trip planned!
Stir yourself a drink and get yourself settled in for a virtual tour of Paris!
Enjoy a French-style apéro
First thing’s first for starting our trip to Paris. The quintessentially French apéritif is a low-key event that’s rather hard to translate. It is not quite happy hour (while drinks of the alcoholic variety are served), not precisely tapas (although small plates and snacks usually are served), and maybe before dinner or pre-party, and always shared with friends.
I’m particularly fond of David Lebovitz’s twist on French cocktails. He’s been going on Instagram Live every evening for Apéro Hour to share stories and shake up a new cocktail every day. David’s also got some awesome recipes on his blog for some easy snacks to cook up to go alongside your beverage.
Turn up the (French) music
Here are some of my favorite playlists to turn up in the background:
Or tune into a Paris radio station live.
Take a (virtual) tour
Paris is known for some of the best museums and tourist attractions in the world. Luckily for us, museums have opened their doors virtually! See some of my top Paris museums below, or dig into the collective work of over 100,000 images of Paris museums’ artwork that have been archived and made free to the public.
The biggest museum in the world has something for everyone and so do its virtual tours. Take a virtual walk through the Egyptian Antiquities or the ancient palace’s defense system.
Here’s another tour that starts outside the museum at the famous Pyramids, takes you down the escalators, then through some of the most well-known statues and to the Mona Lisa and other famous works.
Sacre Coeur with panoramic views of the city
One of my favorite Paris memories was with my mom when we had made it to the Sacre Coeur on a very rainy and wet day in Paris. When we came out of the church, the rain had stopped, and there was a full rainbow across the sky. To this day, my favorite lookout point of the city is from the Montmartre Hill in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica, where you can really see everything from the Notre Dame, to the Pompidou Museum, Invalides Dome, and Eiffel Tower. This is a prime spot for grabbing some wine and snacks and watching the sunset over Paris.
Check the views out for yourself!
I’m not a huge fan of the Catacombes. It could be the claustrophobic-inducing maze of tunnels or the piles of bones and skulls. Nevertheless, lots of tourists hit up this hotspot for a trip to underground Paris. I’ll stick the virtual version that the museum’s so graciously set up that I can enjoy from the comfort of my cozy couch.
The Phantom of the Opera (might be) there. Or you can check out the theater and its treasures as if you were there.
Versailles Palace, its gardens, and the Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette’s nature retreat) is one of my very favorite visits near Paris. The museum has done an excellent job bringing Versailles to our homes, with virtual reality tours, fun and funny stories about the occupants of the palace, and up-close views of the art.
You can even check out which king or queen you would be by taking their quiz. I got the last king of France, Louis XVI!
Monet’s Waterlilly paintings were gifted to France on the day after Armistice, on November 12, 1918, and the Orangerie museum was designed to the artist’s specific instructions to house the works. Here’s a very impressive virtual visit to this jewel of Parisian museums.
Get your fix of Impressionist Art at the D’Orsay Museum tour. Don’t miss the view of the Louvre across the river by taking a peek behind the giant clock!
Dine like a Parisian
Nothing could be more typically Parisian than a stop at a brasserie for lunch. Whip up an authentic onion soup and a croque monsieur, or a quiche (with a salad on the side), and serve yourself a nice glass of French wine. While you’re enjoying your lunch, do some people watching, just like the Parisians do.
Read a book set in Paris
There’s something about visiting a place through the stories you read. Here are some books that take place in Paris that I’ve enjoyed.
The Paris Wife: Paula McLain
A Moveable Feast: Ernest Hemingway
All the Light We Cannot See: Anthony Doerr
The Only Street in Paris: Life on Rue des Martyrs: Elaine Sciolino (I love this walking up and down this street in real-life. Each shop is better than the next, and the terraces at the northern-most part of this street are lively just about every evening.)
Enjoy a famous French treat
Eat them for breakfast with fruit, or lather on some Nutella and fold them up to enjoy them as a snack as the French do. Crepes are easy to make and are tasty as a savory or sweet treat. I like this simple crepe recipe.
Eiffel tower live camera and picnic
A trip to Paris isn’t quite complete without seeing the Eiffel Tower from high up. Imagine yourself spread out on the Champs de Mars and have your virtual picnic with a view on the Tower (see a live view here). Bring your baguette, and some wine, cheese, and chocolates!
Practice your French
Anki flashcards are really helpful to get some basic vocabulary. These also have pronunciation.
Listen to this Journal en français facile podcast for current news in simple French.
Listen to French music! See my recommendations for Spotify playlists above.
Take a walking or biking tour
Pull up one of these videos when you’re on your peloton or treadmill and imagine yourself getting lost in the picturesque streets of Paris. Here is a 4k tour of the Marais neighborhood. This is my number one area to walk around and get lost in when I’m in Paris. There are tons of small, local shops, trendy people, and gorgeous architecture.
Here’s another walking tour through the top attractions in Paris.
Savor La Durée Macarons
Get fancy for teatime à la Marie Antoinette with homemade La Durée macarons. I’ve made these once before, and they are definitely a test in patience. But they are so, so worth it! I love these.
I also want to try these vegan macarons.
Have a Paris Movie Night
Another way to experience the magic of the City of Lights is through a movie night. These movies will transport you right to Paris.
Midnight in Paris
2 Days in Paris
Call My Agent is a series on Netflix that is popular in France right now with cameos from real French actors and actresses.
I had a hard time narrowing it down to just a few ways to visit Paris! Please let me know in the comments below which of these virtual tours you took and what you enjoyed the most!
Thank you for following along and sharing!