In my opinion, you don’t need any particular reason or event to visit Paris but this is coming from someone who is undoubtedly biased. In my 32 years, I have traveled extensively (often alone) and I’ve found that Paris is by far my favorite city. There are however key, unique events, and celebrations that are exclusive to other areas of France. These events can be very popular yet complicated to find out the best way to experience them, making an expertly curated itinerary vital for a comfortable, non-hectic opportunity to enjoy these once in a lifetime happenings exclusive to Paris. Here are four reasons to visit Paris in 2018…
Violeta Sonique is an annual world-renowned music festival that is taking place this year May 23rd-May 27th. Musically it announces the arrival of Spring in Paris. What has made Villette Sonique the place to be for the international and Parisian music aficionados is its curated mixture of popular underground and mainstream bands. In addition to extraordinary musical acts, the festival includes vendors selling regional food specialties, workshops, music, and art fairs.
Tour De France is an annual multiple-stage bicycle race primarily held in France. The French nickname for the Tour De France is “La Grande Boucle” which means the “big loop”. It consists of 21 stages covered in a little over 3 weeks in June. The length of the tour route is 2,200 miles! The final stage and celebration takes place on Champs- Elysees in Paris. Planning in advance is crucial for best viewing experiences as over 12 million spectators line the route each year, making it the largest sporting event in the world.
The Montmartre Grape Harvest is a very special celebration that takes place in the charming streets surrounding the Sacre Coeur Basilica, perched high on the hill of Montmartre. Every October for a week, the neighborhood comes together for a weeklong celebration of the unique wine produced by the grapes of this tiny Parisian vineyard. If wine’s not your thing, there is plenty of other things to be entertained by including live jazz, exhibitions, special dining experiences, street art workshops, and a spectacular firework display.
Paris Christmas Markets I took my first December Paris trip this past year, with Christmas being my favorite holiday I knew the city lights, holiday spirit and decorations were not to miss but it wasn’t until I arrived in Paris that I learned about the Christmas markets. There are multiple markets located throughout the city running late November through December. I teetered on the verge of obsession and in a matter of 5 days made myself an expert on the markets by making a stop at each one. My favorite market, where the holiday spirit was dialed to a 10, was the Alsatian Christmas market that takes place on the forecourt of the Gare de l’Est (15 minutes outside of Paris), and pedals the best wine, choucroute, and sausages. There are also free tastings, Christmas theatre, and storytelling – plus nearly a hundred local vendors peddling charming artisan gifts. Don’t miss this, especially if you are anywhere near as enthused about Christmastime as I am!
(I’ve linked articles about last year’s wine harvest, Violeta Sonique, and Christmas markets for more information)
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The Château de Fontainebleau, just 35 miles southeast of central Paris, can proudly claim to have been a sovereign residence for eight centuries. Capétiens, Valois, Bourbons, Bonaparte and Orléans, all members of French ruling dynasties, have lived within these walls. The chateau dates back to 1137—and centuries of royals have expanded this former royal hunting lodge to a more than 1,500-room estate. Most of what you’ll see dates back to the 16th century, a combination of Italian Renaissance art and French design, these rooms are some of the most intricate and breathtaking in France. If times allows, you can enjoy lunch in this charming area.
Tour Length: 5 – 6 hours