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Five years as a resident in Paris gave me lots of time to explore and take around visiting friends. TIP: Every night, every hour after sunset, on the hour, the tower is covered in golden lights and sparkles for five whole minutes, This is the best time to take photos and the best place to see the light show is from Place du Trocadero.

The bells of Notre Dame call you to visit and climb the towers to the belfry.

Paris promises something for everyone – sophistication, beauty, culture, history, cuisines, art, escape and that nebulous quality called ambiance and tips from a resident help you capture it all. Hopefully when you visit Paris you’ll carve out time to do more than rush to the major tourists sites; the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Muse d’Orsay.


A Visit to the towers of NOTRE DAME is a must.

TIP: May to October the lines to enter Notre Dame and to climb up into the towers can be long. If you arrive late in the day there will be long lines to enter both the Cathedral and to visit the towers.  Arrive at 9:30 A.M. to avoid the crowds and admire the Gothic masterpiece from inside and above.  

Climb the 300-plus winding steps to get a close-up view of the Cathedral’s flying buttresses spires and roofs. The gargoyles, including monkey monsters, elephant, griffin and birds adorn the outer walls and keep watch on the streets of Paris below.

TIP: The best time to visit the interior of Notre Dame is early or late in the day. If you’re lucky, as we were, you’ll be able to hear a service and listen to the magnificent organ. 

The views of Paris below and spread out before you are spectacular. Look down to the Seine River, the bridges and rooftops of Ile del la Cite, and enjoy the sweeping views of Paris’ landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe and gardens galore. You can imagine Victor Hugo’s fictional character in his novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Quasimodo, in the narrow stairway you’ll climb and in the belfry ringing the magnificent bells.

TIP: When I visited last June, the towers opened at  10 A.M. so my girlfriend and I  arrived at 9:30 A.M., which gave us both time to visit the interior of Notre Dame while the other one kept the place in line.  

A light lunch or a drink in the green Jardin de Luxembourg, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris. It was created beginning in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. The garden today is owned by the French Senate which meets in the palace. Near this cafe in the gardens, there is a gazebo where free concerts are performed in the summer and occasionally on weekends.

Relaxing for an aperitif in the Galerie Vivienne, built in 1823, one of the most iconic covered arcades in Paris. In a peaceful location, behind the Bibliothèque Richelieu and near the Palais-Royal, it’s definitely worth a visit.
















Only when you curb the urge to rush through Paris at a frenetic pace can you fully appreciate the ambience of Paris. Sit, watch, smell, taste, sip and savor the flavors, fashion and sensations of Parisian daily life.

In the heart of the Luxembourg Gardens , the Medici Fountain is one of the most beautiful fountains in Paris , and one of the most romantic places in the capital.

I lived in Paris (in the 6th arrondissement) for four years and return often. Let me offer you a glimpse of the Paris I love: It is waking up to the chiming bells of the St.-Germain-des-Pres church, meandering along the Seine River watching the barges as they cruise up and down, strolling through the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre to visit my favorite Maillot sculptures, wandering the quaint streets of the Left Bank, stopping to see where Hemingway lived near Place Contrascarp, sampling cheeses and fruit at the open markets at the rue de Bucci and the rue Mouffetard. These are just a few of my favorite things to do.

The Paris Chapter in my book give lots more ideas and tips.












More found in my book Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide, published by National Geographic.