If you can't go to Paris, bring Paris to you
We love the City of Love. We hate that we can’t visit it right now.
Until we can visit Paris again, we’re just going to have to find some ways to keep this iconic city alive in our hearts. Whether you love it for its art, its music or its culinary panache, we’ve come up with some tips on how to turn your home into your own City of Light and Love.
First off, we need to set the scene. Which Paris would you like to recreate in your home? The Paris of late-night cabaret acts in the Moulin Rouge? In which case look no further than Offenbach’s Infernal Gallop. But maybe you’d like something more contemporary, with a bit of Parisian cheek. Je Veux, by Zaz, will lull you into thinking you’re taking a jaunty stroll along the Seine in spring. Speaking of which, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s laid-back, jazzy ode to Paris in springtime, April in Paris, could be the perfect backdrop to reliving your favourite memories of this enchanting city.
The Louvre is arguably the world’s most famous art gallery. A literal treasure trove of some of the finest art ever created, it’s no wonder that it’s right at the top of the list when it comes to things to do in Paris. Sadly, it’ll be some time before it opens its doors again. But don’t despair, they’ve thoughtfully created several virtual tours for you to enjoy in the meantime. And, best of all, there aren’t any queues and you can have as much cheese and wine as you wish.
Parisians don’t do food, they do gastronomy. It is said there are more Michelin Stars in Paris than there are stars in the Milky Way. But, unless you’re prepared to spend 22 hours sweating in your kitchen to create a single amuse-bouche of Michelin quality, it might be best to consider some alternatives. Fortunately, Paris has many. And while fine dining is certainly a big part of the culinary scene in Paris, there are some more traditional dishes that are simpler to make, but no less delicious. Like the humble cassoulet. Yes, it’s a stew. Yes, it’s actually from the South of France. But you can still enjoy one in many of the Parisian eateries favoured by locals. And if meaty stews aren't your thing, then how about a rich and homely French onion soup that’s so tasty it’ll bring tears to your eyes long after you’ve finished chopping the onions?
Before you reach for the absinthe, take a moment to consider this delicate 1920s’ creation from Paris’s famous Chatham Bar: The Rose. This delightful cocktail will tickle you pink, not least because of its luminous pink glow. If, as any seasoned cocktail drinker will tell you, a cocktail should look as good as it tastes, then The Rose is a stunner on all counts.
Ingredients for The Rose:
45ml of premium gin
15ml dry vermouth
15ml cherry brandy (or kirsch)
Lots of ice
1) Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail mixer
2) Shake well
3) Strain into a martini glass
4) Garnish with a brandied cherry… et voilà !
How did we manage to get this far and not once mention Edith Piaf? Well, we have now. The biographical story of this force in Parisian music is told in La Vie en Rose, and it’s a treat for the eye and the ear. Marion Cotillard plays the lead role, for which she won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a César and le Prix Lumière for best actress. Not too shabby.
If you're looking for some distraction from the news headlines, there are plenty of French books you can read that can transport you to the splendour and romance of Paris. For some reason, Paris seems to bring out the best in American writers, and Thad Carhart is no exception to the rule. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank will remind you of what it feels like to be discovering Paris for the first time and why you never truly get to know it.
A Little Parlez Goes a Long Way
While you wait until you can book your next flight to Paris, why don’t you use this time to brush up on your French?
Bonjour. Hello, Good morning
Au revoir. Goodbye
Merci. Thank you
Merci beaucoup. Thank you very much
S’il vous plaît. Please
Bonsoir. Good evening
Bonne Nuit. Good night
Excusez-moi. Excuse me
De rien. You’re welcome (casual, informal)
Je vous en prie. You’re welcome (formal)
If you’re looking for holiday inspiration for when the time comes to travel again, browse the world's most remarkable stays in Paris.
If you're thinking of changing your travel plans, find out about Plum Guide's cancellation policy.