5 things to do in Paris
By Priyanka Dharwadkar
Walk down Pont Neuf
The oldest standing bridge in Paris, the Pont Neuf is a perfect example of Royal architecture. The name 'Pont Neuf', means New Bridge, as it was of a new design and built entirely of stone. Commissioned in 1578 by Henry III, it was opened by Henry IV in 1606. People would gather at the bridge to attend plays, fairs and exhibitions. After reading about officials (understandably) periodically cutting off locks put up by people/lovers/friends on the bridge to reduce the weight on it, and seeing replicas of this in a few other cities, I was prepared to not be wowed away. But original always has its charm, no matter how many remakes might be out there.
Visit the Eiffel Tower
Well, obviously! And no matter how many photographs you have seen of it, professional or amateur, from every different angle possible, it won't fail to overwhelm you, the sheer everything of it. You can seriously just sit and stare at it for hours and not get bored; at least I didn't.
And unless you have an absolutely paralysing, nausea-headache-inducing, turning-you-into-a-liability fear of heights, you must go all the way to the top. I myself have a slight phobia of the same, but a glittering miniature Paris from 896-feet high, with the cold wind threatening to whip the phone right out of my shivering hands as I clicked pictures, was exhilarating and one of my most memorable moments.
Window Shop at Champs Elysees
Shau(n) Zayleezay, yep, that's how it's pronounced. (n) is for just a hint of a nasal sound at the end of the first word. Who would've thought, right? Helped to have a brother who's studied French! Arc de Triomphe at one end and Place de la Concorde at the other, this is quite literally high-street fashion. Paris as it is is expensive, and then you throw in some of the biggest brands, all lined up neatly, daring you to come in, it's a recipe for budget disaster. It helped that I was actually down to my last few cents. It was a temptation-less-window-shopping-photo-clicking stroll.
Take a stroll at Montmartre
Have you been to Bruges (Belgium)? If not, then you must, and if yes, then you will immediately feel that city connect here. Montmartre village is Paris's Bruges, in my opinion. Street musicians performing, artists painting, people strolling, shopping, eating, vendors selling, you can happily get lost here, exploring every narrow bylane, eating and shopping your way through.
Explore Shakespeare & Company
This, unfortunately, isn't the one where Hemingway, Joyce and others gathered in the 1920s. Opened in 1951, it's the namesake and tribute to the original opened by Sylvia Beach in 1919, which closed in 1940 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened.
Nonetheless, the new Shakespeare & Company has its own old-world feel and charm, with cosy, wooden interiors lit by orange lamps. In a world of bookstore-chains-replaced-by-websites, this one's a gem and a must-visit spot.