The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year begins Sunday, May 26 and ends Sunday, June 9. And if you are venturing to Paris for this spectacle, you know that all the excitement won’t just be on the red clay courts of Roland Garros, some of the excitement will be found in the City of Lights. (Paris is nicknamed so because it was one of the first cities to have electricity).
This year the theme of the French Open is plants. The goal is to make nature more obvious in the urban environment, thus boosting the atmospheres oxygen levels. And the most prominent visual of this will be the new Simonne-Mathieu court. This semi-sunken court will seat five thousand, but more impressive, this court will be enclosed between four greenhouses which will house a collection of plants from five continents. The Simonne-Mathieu court is the only plant ecosystem of its kind in the world. Tennis on the red clay of France while helping make the planet green.
And after you have viewed your share of matches on the red clay and in the plant ecosystem, it is time to venture into Paris. Luckily for us, Paris has something for everyone.
Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Parvis Notre-Dame Place. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Due to the recent fire, the Cathedrale Notre-Dame is temporarily closed. But you will most likely want to go and see the cathedral and pay your respects.
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris France…. Cost 17 Euros
The Louvre is the largest art museum in the world. It is open every day from 9am-6pm, except Tuesdays. There is free admission on the first Saturday of each month from 6pm-945pm.
The Louvre’s collections spans work from ancient civilizations to the mid-19th century.
The universally recognized above-ground glass pyramid was designed by I.M. Pei.
Arc de Triomphe
Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
The Arc de Triomphe is located at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1836 by King Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire, those who fought for France, specifically those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 18:30.
If you pay 9.50 Euros you can climb the 284 stairs to the top and see a complete view of Paris. Or you can walk around the base and under the arches for free.
Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Cost of tickets depends on whether you are an adult over the age of 25 brave enough to take the 704 stairs to the second floor, then you pay 7 euros; if you are between 12 to 24 you pay 5 euros, and children between 4 and 11, they pay 3 euros. Admission tickets with elevator access to the second-floor cost 11 euros for the less adventurous adults over 25, 8.50 euros for those between 12 and 24 and 4 euros for the children.
The Eifel tower is one of the seven wonders of the world. This majestic iron tower is located on the Champ de Mars. It is named after the engineer Alexander Gustave Eiffel; whose company designed and built the tower.
It was built in 1889 for the Exposition Universelle, and it is the most visited attraction in the world.
75018 Paris France
This is a neighborhood you must visit but be forewarned it is an uphill stroll. You will be walking but it is worth the walk. Don’t be the “tourist” and head directly to the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, you can do that later.
You need to walk the cobbled streets of Montmartre, you can find a walking tour. Do it, you won’t regret your taste of traditional French food, and don’t forget to look at the walls for what local artists feel about politics and the world around them.
113 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Located between the Louvre palace, ‘rue de Rivoli’, Place de la Concorde and the Seine, the Tuileries is named after the tile factories which occupied the place in the middle ages.
This 17th-century garden is replete with statues including 18 bronzes by Maillol.
After a long day of shopping and sightseeing this public garden is a great place to relax.
82 Boulevard de Clichy, 75018 Paris, France
And you thought it was just a movie! This historic cabaret hall is noticeable by the windmill that sits atop of the dance hall. It just gets better once you get in; your senses take in the number one show in Paris. Large troupes of Doriss Girls, dressed in vibrant colors with sequins and headpieces, perform the French cancan underneath the night lights.
But if you are thinking of taking in a show, get your tickets early, the Molin Rogue sales out nightly.
For the Foodie
Perhaps you want something a little more fulfilling and a lot less exhausting? And you envision yourself as quite the foodie? You have come to the right place, just forget about counting carbs.
Lunch is generally from noon to 3pm and dinner is from 7-10 pm. Kitchens are usually closed during off-hours.
- Comme a La Campagne
41 Place Jeanne D Arc, 75013 Paris, France
An out of the way restaurant that offers traditional French cuisine at an affordable price.
- Le Grenier a Pain Abbesses
38 rue des Abbesses. 75018 Paris, France
On your stroll through Montmartre, stop here for a small lunch and a box of handpicked desserts, just make sure you get a little bit of everything, so you don’t deprive yourself.
45 rue de Montreuil, 75011 Paris, France
Labeled as a brewpub and gastropub, this restaurant serves authentic French food in a locale often populated by Parisians (always a good sign). Located slightly off the well-traveled path it is good food at a reasonable price.
For the Fashionista
Perhaps it is shopping that is on your mind? There are plenty of stores and neighborhoods to satisfy the shopaholic in you.
- Le Bon Marche
24 Rue de Sevres 75007 Paris, France
Founded in 1838 and reimagined in 1852 by Aristide Boucicault, it is a department store where you can find virtually any high-end goods. And when you find yourself hungry from spending, there is food in the building next door.
But it is neighborhoods that you want to wander through for your shopping experience.
- Louvre and Tuileries District
Get there on Metro Concorde, Tuileries (Line 1), Pyramides (Line 7,14)
Known For: The best in designer fashion, chic home furnishings, and quality cosmetics
- The Marais
Get there on Metro Saint-Paul (Line 1) or Hotel de Ville (Line 1, 11)
Known for: Eclectic and high fashion, high-quality chains, vintage stores, artisan and handcrafted jewelry antiques and fine art galleries, cosmetics and perfumeries.
- Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysees
Get there on Metro Alma Marceau (Line 9), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Lines 1 and 9), George V (Line 1), RER A (Charles de Gaulle-Etoile)
Known for: Designer shopping, trendy chain stores, and Sunday shopping.
Traveling to Paris in the Spring offers not only the highlight of catching a glimpse of Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and other top tennis players compete in the second leg of the Grand Slam, but you will also experience history, in the Louvre or simply walking down the Champs-Elysees. And if you are wanting to satisfy that inner foodie in you, walk off the beaten path and into LeMin or choose to sample from the sidewalk cafes.
And don’t forget about shopping. The transit system in Paris, the Metro can get you all around the city limits allowing you to shop to your heart’s desire.
And remember “Quand on a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a” which means “When one doesn’t have the things that one loves, one must love what one has.”