Last summer, I was chalking away a plan to travel to Paris on my own, hoping to explore its classical bistros, boutiques, and boulevards, while eating my way through Parisian patisseries.
Who’d have thought that a few weeks later, we’d be banned from traveling to the country? But that didn’t play spoilsport to my travel plans.
Although travel restrictions are mushrooming in different parts of the world, it doesn’t mean that I couldn’t enjoy a Parisian getaway from home - be it the Moulin Rouge or Montmartre, catching a crazy auction in Les Puces, walking along the Seine, or seeing the Eiffel Tower by night.
Traveling to Paris from home takes a bit of creativity (and lots of croissants).
Here’s how you can do just that, and more.
Remember Meryl Streep whipping up a delicious late-night snack for Steve Martin in the romantic comedy It’s Complicated? Turns out, it is oh-so-delicious and super simple!
A nice Croque monsieur (literally translated to “bite the mister”) is a French ham sandwich with a dollop of cheese and a dash of food-goodness which you get to discover right here. Add a fried egg, and you get a croque-madame. It’s pure heaven. Think of it as your French-girl version of a warm grilled cheese sandwich.
The bonus? The ingredients are inexpensive and with a toss in the oven, you get an easy meal for one, two, or ten.
If you're craving more gastronomical delights, you should definitely look up Les Halles, one of the best market streets in Paris. Popularly known as the Belly of Paris, you'll get to try melt-in-your-mouth pastries along with a variety of cheese, macarons, baguettes, and so much more!
“A visit to Montmartre is really a visit back in time with the paved streets, old cafes, and bistros giving you the impression that you are still in the ’40s,” laughs Petros, a Heygoer.
It's hard to miss Montmartre's charm.
You'll see the charming Place du Tertre bustling with artists. Or slip into the coffee shop where Amélie worked. You might bump into couples walking by, soaking in the rustic ambiance of Montmartre’s museum, home to artists like Renoir and Dufy. Or see little kids hopping around, wondering how quickly they can climb the 222 stairs leading to the top of Sacré-Cœur.
The best of the lot? You’ll get to grab the most breathtaking view of Paris atop the hill, and enjoy some of the city’s best street entertainment.
“Nothing for me beats the white domes of the Sacre Coeur against a bright blue Paris sky. That is the loving image of Paris that will stay with me always,” Hilary, another Heygoer, chips in.
Montmartre is full of cobblestone streets, spectacular views, and a windmill or two. It’s the perfect place to explore Paris.
Find the small vineyard that has been producing wine since the 12th century and the iconic Maison Rose, the pink-colored restaurant that could be the perfect spot for capturing that postcard-worthy picture on your virtual tour.
For the romantic in you, Montmartre doesn’t disappoint. Walls of art spilling “I love you” in over 250 languages with splashes of red, popularly called Le Mur des Je t’aime, is hard to miss.
Home to the most famous cabaret in the world, you can take a seat at Paris’ iconic Moulin Rouge and soak up an evening filled with can-can dancers, vibrant costumes, and music - with a glass of champagne at home.
The famed River Seine has caught the heart of many - from Vikings to Napoleon Bonaparte, and even Joan of Arc.
What caught me was how it winds down through some of the most picturesque spots in France.
Strolling along the Seine, you get to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, city hall, the Louvre, and a string of popular French monuments. Florent, my tour guide (who gallantly swam the river) live-streams sprawling gardens and takes me down Pont Neuf (don’t miss it at night - it’s stunning!)
Better yet? You can hop on a "bateau mouche" and take a night cruise on the river to see the iconic City of Lights in all its glory.
Before you hit the bed, you get to catch one of the biggest attractions in Paris from home.
The Eiffel Tower lights up each hour at night, flaunting a stunning Illumination Show. It’s illegal to snap photos of the tower at night since it’s a violation of copyright law.
But when you’re on Patrick’s virtual trip of the Eiffel Tower by night, you get more than a glimpse of the iconic tower beautifully lit up.
Fun bonus: I also bumped into a wedding!
If you’re yet to call it a bonne nuit - there’s more. You can stroll down romantic Paris by night, discover the art district of Paris, and if you’re hungry, catch some Parisian culinary delights at one of the oldest open air food market in Paris.