72 Hours In Paris: Don't Miss Out On These Enriching Experiences

If Paris is your calling, then making an itinerary every holiday can be daunting. Here's our list of extraordinary experiences that you can't miss.

Published On Aug 26, 2023 | Updated On Mar 06, 2024


Paris is a city for romantics. Hopeless romantics! Clichéd as it is may be, how else can the city inspire envy at every turn, and resemble nothing but an open-air museum. And what else can justify flocks of people standing in serpentine queues and jostling for space to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at The Louvre. And where else can you see lovestruck couples walking hand in hand down the Seine, passing the Pont des Arts (Love Lock Bridge), the Louvre, the majestic Notre-Dame cathedral and the Île Saint-Louis. Not far away, hidden in Jehan Rictus Square, you will also find the "Wall of I Love You", a work of art conceived by Frédéric Baron and Claire Kito in the pretty neighbourhood of Montmartre. Also known as Les Mur des Je t’Aime in French, there is more and enough to fall in love with in Paris. And hence, ‘Paris is always a good idea.’ 

Well, if you put the French snobbery aside, the grand, Georges Haussman-designed central Paris, with its cobbled streets, beautiful Parisian gardens, iconic stores, world-class museums, and gorgeous sidewalk cafes is a constant muse for those with a beating heart. Once you have ticked off the touristy stuff on your first couple of visits, take some time to discover the not-so-ordinary things in Paris, and feel like a true Parisian. 

From shopping to perfume-making, I discovered a hidden side of Paris this summer that lingers down every boulevard. Whether you are Emily or Amélie in Paris, there are several enriching experiences in Paris that will have you coming back year after year. 


To say, Paris has it all, is not an exaggeration. The city offers a brilliant mix of big stores, markets and boutiques and brands from all over the world. The French take fashion seriously and the Parisians love to shop. So, if you are planning a day out, bring some discipline in, and decide what you are looking for. 

Known for their chic, effortless style, the French have mastered the je ne sais quoi. One key trick I learned from the streets of Paris was to add neutrals and create a versatile wardrobe that is elegant and timeless. Blacks, blues, browns, whites, greys—French style is all about versatility and dressing up or down depending on the occasion and ‘looking-put-together’ without much effort. Whether it's a belt, a gold trinket, a scarf, or a carelessly knotted shirt, a chic Parisienne is always cool and confident. 

When in the fashion capital of the world, it indeed is hard to resist the lure of window shopping on the glitzy Champs-Élysées leading up to the Arc de Triomphe that houses iconic flagship and luxury stores of Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dior, Apple and more. A leisurely stroll on the grand avenue is where you find Paris at its most Parisian dotted with grand stores and cafes – the biggest French export to the world that we cannot thank them enough for.    


Once you have spent your euros here, head to Boulevard Haussmann for Galeries Lafayette and its Gourmet and Maison outposts across the street for a retail therapy unlike any other. Once you have taken in its magical opulence and stopped marvelling at its majestic dome designed in the Art Nouveau style and stained-glass windows, we recommend you opt for a personal shopping experience to navigate the century-old luxury department store housing over 2,000 brands from all over the world. A mix of couture and ready-to-wear brands for men, women and children, you are in shopper's paradise fighting your urges and temptations as you climb up the seven floors. Over a hundred years old, it is unbelievable how the historic Galeries Lafayette still draws the crowds and is a bucket list destination when shopping is now a click away. A special note for beauty addicts like me-- the ground floor is a dream destination where you can immerse yourself into a beauty heaven. Whether you need them or not, Clarins, Estée Lauder, Dior, RARE, Yoda, La Prairie, La Mer, Aesop and many more are bound to find you. The French know the art of self love and with that in mind, the newly launched Wellness Galerie, inside the iconic store is the perfect place for a much-needed break from shopping. Ever dreamt of a French facial in France? Make your dream come true here and walk out “carrying a baguette under your arm.”  


Galerie Vivienne

If you thought Paris only has art galleries and museums, walk into Paris shopping galleries that are undiscovered gems of the city’s covered passages. A truly magnifique experience, a walk inside these passages are a great way to shop and sightsee at the same time. The city’s covered passages-- Valois, Beaujolais and Montpensier, around the gardens of Palais Royal built in the 1780s—has shopping arcades with glass roofs that were built between the late 18th and mid-19th century. It was the time when Paris was not paved, and streets could get slushy when it rained. From luxury shops, restaurants, bars to daily provision stores, you can find everything here. From all of them, Galerie Vivienne is my favourite. A gorgeous and a highly grammable gallery with beautiful shops, a café, and incredible architecture, it shines like a jewel in the day. It is open to the public for shopping and has a mix of high-end boutiques including Jean-Paul Gaultier’s first flagship that opened in the arcade in 1986. In case you are feeling homesick, head to Passage Brady, popularly called Little India because it is lined with Indian and Pakistani shops and restaurants.

© Iwan Baan 2014

If you are in Paris, soak it in. You. Are. In. Paris. A city that is a living institution of art. Look around and you will spot great art from across different historical periods and parts of the world. Spanning its erstwhile admirers from the days of ancient Rome to modern day contemporary artists, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to art and museums in Paris. If you have been to the Centre Pompidou, one of the city’s most recent cultural icons in your earlier visits, don't waste time and head straight to Fondation Louis Vuitton. Also called ‘the glass cloud’, it is one of few privately owned and funded art spaces in Paris (owned by LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault). The Fondation Louis Vuitton opened to the public in 2014 and is a unique building that looks like a glass sailboat, has 11 galleries that hold temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, an auditorium that can accommodate 350 people and a restaurant. Bustling at all times, make sure you catch a glimpse of the exhibition by American artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol in August.  

Discover French gastronomy

© Yann Deret

Let’s just say you should go to Paris for the food and the art. France is a playground of gastronomy. And the land of Dom Pérignon. So, don’t be surprised if you are offered a glass of bubbly for every occasion, and at every hour of the day. Just keep sipping. And in between them, don’t forget to get your fill of the French classics—coq au vin or Boeuf Bourguignon, bouillabaisse or ratatouille, profiteroles or soufflé—the choice is yours. That said, it’s safe to say, food in Paris is dynamic, delicious and exciting with a lot of world cuisine on offer. 
A word of caution before you over order. For the French, cooking is matter of national pride, and if you don’t finish your food, you will invite death stares, and many will ask if there was something wrong. 

Of the two most unforgettable food experiences, fine dining at Madame Brasserie at the Eiffel Tower is exceptional. Despite the long queues, a stop at the first-floor restaurant, atop the iconic monument is surely worthy of being in your bucket list. Reserve a table by the window overlooking the illuminating city. Helmed by two Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx, you can come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner and savour several French classics. Although I found the food a bit underwhelming, it’s the experience that stays on. 

Another legendary meal experience that is worth indulging in Paris is at the La Coupole, a well-known address in the capital. A classic century-old French brasserie in the 14th arrondissement of Mont Montparnasse, it was frequented by Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, American novelist Ernest Hemingway and several Parisian who's who. Unassuming from the outside, the grandeur of this restaurant hits you as you step inside its 1927-era décor. Art deco lamps, mosaic floors, wall-length mirrors, ornately painted columns, an imposing centre piece and a spacious dining room. A true Art Deco masterpiece that also featured in the Netflix show Emily In Paris. 

I ordered some fresh burrata with tomato confit followed by salmon served with saffron risotto for lunch. Simple yet sublime!


What better than being transported back to your vacation, months after you are home, with a fragrance handmade by you? To make this experience come true, you can head to the Fragonard Perfume Museum of Paris located near Paris’s Opera Garnier. You are in the fragrance capital of the world. Grasse, a French Riviera town just north of Cannes, is known as the world capital of perfume. And one of France’s best-known modern perfumeries—Fragonard—was launched in Grasse. Take an olfactory voyage that leads you to the finest perfumers inside the museum that was created in 1983 and is housed in a gorgeous 19th century townhouse on Rue Scribe. If you are an amateur, like me, a visit here will unravel the secrets of luxury perfume-making and traditional French know-how in a free guided tour. Learn, shop and create your own scent in a free workshop led by perfumery experts from the famous, family-run Maison Fragonard. 

While you may have visited Paris several times, there’s nothing more enjoyable than unearthing truly luxurious experiences beyond the most sought-after ones. After all, you don’t have to be French to experience the French art-de vivre. 


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