Paris When it Twinkles

12th Jul 2013
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 1/6 by Megha Kaladharan
View from the Pompidou
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 2/6 by Megha Kaladharan
Hot chocolate with a dollop of cream at Angel
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 3/6 by Megha Kaladharan
The Pompidou Centre
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 4/6 by Megha Kaladharan
Bastille Day Fireworks
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 5/6 by Megha Kaladharan
Oscar Wilde's grave at the Père Lachaise Ceme
Photo of Paris When it Twinkles 6/6 by Megha Kaladharan
Twinkling Eiffel

Paris. Odes and paeans have been written about this city, its people, the culture, the food and everything in between. One does tend to wonder if all this is perhaps a tad bit overrated but the truth is that this city is as lovely as everything written about it, if not more. Apart from the gorgeous architecture and delicious food, there is something in the air which makes Paris truly magical. The list below is some of my favourite things which i discovered on my trips to Paris.

Some things that missed the shortlist by a whisker are admiring Monet's work at the Musée de l'Orangerie, street artists and musicians who seem to be everywhere across the city, exploring the Latin Quarter with a local (be sure to check out Paris Greeters) and the spending an evening in the gardens in front of the Eiffel Tower with a good bottle of wine and old friends (old bottle of wine and good friends would work just as well).

For the best hot chocolate in the world, head to Angelina's! Within walking distance of the Louvre, this Belle Époque style restaurant serves the most decadent and delicious hot chocolate called L'Africain, deriving its name from the African cocoa beans its made from. Like most famous French institutions, Angelina's has a touch of celebrity with past patrons including Proust and Coco Chanel to boast of. Of course the rich history and chocolate comes at a price but it is well worth it for the indelible taste.
Photo of Angelina - Rivoli, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France by Megha Kaladharan
If you have soaked up enough of the Masters at the Louvre and d'Orsay, head over to the Pompidou Centre showcasing modern and contemporary art. The odd looking facade of the Pompidou somewhat prepares you for some of the odd looking art inside. I was lucky to be in time for the Roy Lichtenstein pop art exhibit which turned out to be fun. While you might find some exhibits gorgeous, others interesting and some downright weird, you will most definitely not be bored.
Photo of Pompidou Centre, Paris, France by Megha Kaladharan
While visiting graveyards is not high on most travel agendas, the Père Lachaise cemetery makes for a perfect afternoon with friends while you walk through its sprawling and beautiful expanse trying to locate the famous graves Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf among many others. Traveller tip: Wear comfortable shoes
Photo of Père Lachaise Cemetery, Rue du Repos, Paris, France by Megha Kaladharan
If you are in Paris for Bastille Day on 14th July do not miss out on the fireworks near the Eiffel Tower. While the fireworks are spectacular, what I loved the most was the electric atmosphere with all the nearby streets and bridges thronged by Parisians and tourists alike. Make sure you reach a bit early to find the perfect spot to watch the fireworks because it will get supremely crowded. And don't forget that bottle of wine! Traveller Tip: Entry to the Louvre is free on Bastille Day. There are also quirky parties at firehouses, free ballet performances and concerts so remember to check Bastille Day events in advance if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Paris at this time of the year.
Photo of Bastille Day Fireworks by Megha Kaladharan
It's a cliché but the first time I stood in front of the Eiffel Tower and it unexpectedly started to twinkle, it was magic! Traveller tip: The Eiffel Tower twinkles at every hour for 5 minutes after sunset so you could either stand somewhere in the vicinity or take a river cruise to watch the twinkling Eiffel (and other gorgeous monuments and historic buildings) from over the Seine!
Photo of Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, Paris, France by Megha Kaladharan