The Shoulder Season Guide to Paris - Originally published on The Venue Report
Although having a picnic under the Eiffel Tower and taking a river cruise down the Seine would make any summer vacation unforgettable, there is so much more when experiencing the City of Lights during shoulder season, the colder time of the year. The locals take advantage of the smaller crowds and flock to areas that are normally overrun by tourists which creates an authentic Parisian experience for those that do make their way into the city.
My time in Paris was such an unreal experience. Thanks to the colder weather and non-existent crowds, we were able to walk around and take our time seeing all of the city’s major sights and attractions. Our first stop was at The Louvre, where you are able to discover the world’s most valuable works of art. From there we made our way over to Notre Dame, one of Paris’ most beautiful cathedrals.
Three out of the four days we were in Paris the top of the Eiffel Tower was completely hidden behind a blanket of clouds. Fortunately, we were able to go on a day where there were almost no clouds and that gave us unparalleled views of the city.
Paris’ food scene left me speechless. Although I did my own research beforehand and had a list of places I wanted to visit, there were so many amazing cafés and restaurants that I found along the way. Lunch or dinner at Restaurant Cléo is a must. This beautiful restaurant is located in Le Narcisse Blanc, a luxury boutique hotel that is about a 15-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. The food is phenomenal and the elegant design won me over in a heartbeat. As a coffee snob, I am always on the lookout for the best cafés, and when I stumbled on Papilles, I knew it was going to be great. Located in the Montmartre area of Paris, this newly opened cafe is a great place to escape the cold and sip on a hot latte.
Between The Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay, the Musée Picasso was by far my favorite museum I visited in Paris. Located in the Marais district of Paris, this former hotel showcases over 5,000 pieces of Picasso's work.
The Arc de Triomphe is one of Paris' most iconic landmarks. With one spiral staircase up and one down, about 300 steps each, the view from the top is worth the workout to get there.
Montmartre is a beautiful neighborhood located on a large hill that overlooks the entire city. Here you are able to walk through the Sacré-Cœur, a massive church that you are able to see from just about anywhere in Paris. My favorite part about exploring this area was all of the lively cafés, interesting architecture and aspiring artists showcasing their work on the side of the street.