As you step out of the métro be sure to look both ways (three times) before crossing the busiest roundabout in the world. Actually, don’t, or you’ll look like a sorry-ass tourist. Which of course, you’re not. That’s right, there is an underground walkway that will pop you out and underneath the Arc de Triomphe (you can also climb it for great views of Paris). The Champs-Élysées needs no introduction, but it’s gotten so commercialized that you’ll feel like you’re on the Mall of America. Indulge in a surprisingly fun, eclectic art collection housed in a classy mansion at the Musée Jacquemart-André. Dare to shop at high-end boutiques in the Triangle d’Or. Don’t miss the art and science exhibits at the Grand and Petit Palais, or the oval-shaped Place de la Concorde where many heads (royal or not) were chopped during the revolution, and where two elegant stone fountains sprinkle misty water around a central Egyptian phall—um—obelisk from Luxor.
Arc de Triomphe / Champs-Elysées / Concorde
The Champs-Elysées is known as the World’s most beautiful avenue by people who haven’t updated their guidebooks in 45 years. Last we checked, there were some car dealerships, a McD’s, a movie theater screening flicks at 30€ a ticket and a Sephora. Arc de Triomphe is worth the hype, even though you missed it being wrapped by our dearly departed Christo and his chérie Jeanne-Claude. Of the many phallic symbols in Paris, the Egyptian obelisk at Concorde is the oldest by far. Yet it’s the surrounding neighborhood that is awash in Viagra as Paris’ 1%-er fossils scavenge for their newest trophy wife. In fact, your dear editor-in-chief narrowly escaped becoming such a trophy wife during a Tinder date with a dashing Frenchman claiming to be connected to Sarkozy. He insisted on buying her a diamond bracelet from one of the shops on Place Vendôme.
Berges de Seine
You want to stroll down the Seine, you need to stroll down the Seine—Parisians love it and when the weather is cooperating, are there all of the time—a result of the unique development of the Berges de Seine over the last few years. The former mayor had the brilliant idea to turn two lanes of highway into a pedestrian and bike-only zone and soon followed barges dedicated to drinking, sidewalk dj sets, chillax zones, and climbing walls that you can dip into as the sun sets over the glittering river Seine. OK, so now traffic is hellish but that’s what all the share bikes are for…
Eiffel Tower / Trocadéro
Next to the world-famous Bir Hakeim bridge, known for starring in Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception, is an obscure, pointy, some might say phallic, iron marvel from a bygone era. Little-known, and hard to find, this tower, known affectionately by the locals who live near it as “dégage”, is one thing that you should put on your must-visit list. Just follow its nightly searchlight, which has unfortunately attracted Donald Trump, not Batman. Directly across the river, don’t miss Trocadéro, most famous for being Hitler’s 1941 press-tour backdrop. Now it’s everyone else’s Instagram backdrop. After WWII, the French de-Hitlerized this spot by signing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.
If you prefer quiet elegance for strolling among the Parisian trees, choose Parc Monceau. Hipsters choose the parc des Buttes Chaumont, and parents who don’t mind their children getting their Bonpoint and Jacadi highbrow white frocks scratched and muddy, choose Parc Monceau. Don’t forget to visit the just-as-posh Musée Cernuschi, right outside the park. For something more bohemian, a quick hop north-east from Parc Monceau is the cute Batignolles enclave, which is part of the 17th arrondissement.
Besides being a storage area for many of Paris’ traffic jams, this nabe, with the namesake train station at its core, is also home to the Mogador Theater, where the Lion King roars in French. By the way, « hakuna matata » in French loosely translates as “t’inquiète, paupiette.”