Sprinkle a little ooh la la into your celebrations
Ahhhh … Paris. Revered the world over as the quintessential City of Love and the perfect destination to celebrate the bride’s upcoming nuptials. Whether you’re a gaggle of foodies, funsters, fashion-seekers or first-time tourists, this city will delight, surprise and inspire. So start practicing your best French accent, prepare to parade your chic-est wardrobe and get ready to live the Parisian dream!
Decadent cheeses, lashings of wine and crepes and croissants oozing all manner of fillings, Paris is a smorgasbord of culinary delights. So to start off a dizzying weekend of celebrations (and ensure you’ve got sufficient sustenance for the crazy days ahead), why not sample some of France’s most famous delicacies? As one of the most gastronomic cities in the entire world (with the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants outside Tokyo), haute cuisine and high-end eats are literally around every corner.
Book a luxuriously long lunch at a statement restaurant (with a side of a few glasses of authentic French bubbles of course) and sample some classic French cuisine. Steak tartare, beef bourguignon, ratatouille, spinach soufflé and … the desserts! Crème brûlée, chocolate éclairs, macarons, chocolate mousse … your taste buds will be celebrating a crazy saliva party all on their own.
If you’re watching your euro, opt for a spot of brasserie-hopping, trawl food markets and stake out all manner of boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries and épiceries, then take your pick from one of Paris’ 400+ parks, spread out a picnic rug and soak up the Parisian ambience to your heart’s content. C’est délicieux!
Get to know the city’s most historical buildings, stunning monuments and ornate bridges from a different perspective with a day-cruise on the River Seine. Pass through a dizzying maze of tunnels as you meander your way through a network of inner-urban canals (that were created in the 1800’s by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte). Weave past 19th-century locks, half-moon footbridges and a kaleidoscope of breathtaking scenery, before finally emerging from an eerily lit tunnel to discover the most romantic boulevard in Paris, the Canal Saint Martin, and its four kilometres of enchanting beauty.
Or for the perfect start to a memorable hen’s night, glam-up and hop on board an early River Seine dinner cruise. Float past some of the city’s most iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Pont Neuf and Notre Dame and as the sun sets, toast the would-be bride under the veil of a thousand twinkling lights. This city is, quite simply, uber-gorgeous by night. Sample a three-course feast complimented by a perfectly-matched bold vino and then prepare for a restful night’s sleep, as the fun starts again tomorrow!
Embrace your inner munchkin with a visit to a couple of the city’s most popular theme parks, including one inspired by the Gaulish world of the French comic book hero, Asterix, where you can squeal your way through a variety of rollercoasters, flume rides and river-rafting adventures. Or opt for a more traditional theme with a trip to Disneyland Paris and introduce yourself to a variety of your childhood friends. And don’t forget to pick up a pair of Minnie ears on the way home!
Visually feast on a century’s worth of renowned art at the world’s most visited museum, the Louvre (be sure to eyeball Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Mona Lisa), before marvelling at the soaring glass prisms at the exterior (immortalised in the Da Vinci Code) and taking a leisurely five-minute stroll to secure your own loved-up memento to the Love Lock Bridge.
Other awe-inspiring icons include the Arc de Triomphe, the ethereal Notre Dame Cathedral, the Champs D’Elysee (be sure to stop for a coffee and a people-watch) and of course, what better way to end a day of sightseeing than with a cheeky glass of fizz at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Get your sequins, sky-high manolos and feather boa out of that suitcase and head to the barrier-breaking burlesque hub of Pigalle for a night the ladies won’t forget. Home of the world-famous Moulin Rouge, this must-do cabaret has welcomed millions of spectators over its 127-year history. Sumptuous performances feature outstanding acts and world-class showgirls (who are apparently the most beautiful in the world) can-canning it across a historic stage (and within a giant aquarium as well).
After an exhilaratingly visual experience, mosey on down the city’s biggest red light district, the Boulevard de Clichy, for an eye-opening gander at a few of the, well, less classy establishments, including sleazy bars, gentlemen-only clubs and supermarket-sized adult shops. A great giggle-fest if you’re still in party mode, but if you’re after a traditional hen’s night ‘experience’ (aka scantily clothed men) it’s probably worth moving on (or heading home).
Want to end the night with a fireworky bang? Paris does like to party, you just need to know where it’s at. Cruisy pubs, glitzy cocktail bars and dawn-greeting mega clubs, Paris has a myriad of hotspots, but for a guaranteed good time, head to the Champs Élysées area and the streets surrounding the Bastille. Quirkily themed venues are always entertaining, from Hollywood-inspired hangouts to those offering a staggering selection of oh-so-naughty cocktails.
There are a host of ‘superclubs’ on offer, venues that transform into boogie-spots as the night wears on, cheesy Europop bars, 70’s retro joints or if you’re into the edgier live music scene, head to the Latin Quarter for some sultry South American beats. And finally, if you’re up for a tipple of the (once outlawed) absinthe, beware. It packs a decidedly un-fairy like punch.
And finally, for those clucksters who just want to blow a whole lot of cash on a new (albeit très magnifique) wardrobe, the options are limitless (a little like your retail obsession). Haute couture fashion houses, global chains, flea markets, concept stores, craft shops, off-beat boutiques and pop-up stores … they’re all here.
Too many to mention and there are never enough hours in a day to shop anyway, so get your Google on and plan a meticulous fashion fiesta. Then frock-up for the pre-wedding stiletto-up of the year!