Few cities have honed their swoon-inducing skills as well as this one: every cobbled lane, every streetside café, every patisserie window seems to have been art-directed by some impossibly savvy set designer; every passerby apparently costumed by a couturier. Paris spoils you for everywhere else—yet somehow, despite centuries at the epicenter of global tourism, it has never spoiled itself. (No city has so successfully navigated the tricky business of historic preservation.) And although Paris does grandeur and drama better than any place, its greatest pleasures are arguably its simplest ones: the rustic charm of a humble neighborhood bistro; the tranquility of a churchyard; the lilt of a jazz combo; the crunch of a perfect baguette. Best of all, such indulgences are easily accessible and affordable (and often outright free). When was the last time your heart quickened by the mere act of walking down the street?
Strolling through the 2nd Arrondissement’s covered walkways—the historic galeries Vivienne and Colbert or the newly hip Passage du Grand Cerf.
A jaunt along the Left Bank of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower to the undulating Simone de Beauvoir footbridge, which leads to a developing warehouse district–turned–art enclave.
The incomparable shopping along the Rue Charlot, the Rue Vieille du Temple, and throughout the rest of the Upper Marais, where the streets are rife with au courant boutiques.