I was twelve or thirteen when I returned from my first journey to Paris. I’d gone with my mother and sister, and I can tell you honestly, this is a trip I will never forget – not simply because it was “mon première expérience” in France (of which I had dreamed since I was about six, having listened to stories from various adult family members who I admired) but for a whole other reason entirely. It is something the French call flâner, the concept of actually walking around a city to experience its every true attribute (a very new concept for us Americans).

As I walked along le seine, winding its way through the City of Light, the wind catching the colored leaves of the popular trees along the bank, French voices fluttering in from all directions and creative inspiration at every turn with art, architecture and music…

My romantic visions of Paris had come to fruition.

Stories such as mine have set the bar for a perceived expectation from visitors who journey to Paris. However, much too often visitors, particularly from America, have a hard time finding “la romance de Paris” while they zip around the city in a taxi or underground in le Metro (although le Metro is cheaper and often faster than taking a cab. And there are stations everywhere!).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Recently I read an article by Christina Henry de Tessan, a local Parisian, which was entitled “Ten Things Not to Do in Paris.” In the article, she discusses “le typique” mistakes that visitors to Paris make, resulting in them not having the authentic Parisian experience they so longed for (Yes, I got lucky my first time around, as I had someone who knew all this stuff!). This article is awesome, because not only does it discuss fashion and shopping tips, but in addition Tessan has suggestions on how best to experience the well-known attractions around the city, where to go that only locals know about, where to eat as well as how best to get around the town ( which we discussed is flâner!).

I cannot begin to express the importance of having the experience of walking around Paris under your belt!

As Tessan points out in her article, “The center of Paris is only a couple of miles wide, maps are ubiquitous, and the rewards for taking to the streets on foot include world-class window shopping, observing flirtatious exchanges taking place in sidewalk cafés, and walking off that extra croissant”.

Especially when it comes to that extra croissant… who can resist French pastry! YUM! While in Paris, it is important to be in the world and of the world, and there is no better way to do that than to walk!

Flânez, mes amies! Flânez!