On July 5, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:Forget buying a mini Eiffel Tower statue — a better Paris souvenir is Ladurée’s legendary macarons, two delicate meringues glued together with a delicious filling of buttercream or jelly. Ladurée is the premier place for the brightly colored macarons, which come in flavors ranging from pistachio to strawberry-marshmallow (the bakery debuts a new kind each season). The famed Paris pastry shop lays claim to creating the confection, which has become a trendy treat worldwide. Whether you pick up a dozen in a commemorative box or opt for a couple jumbo macarons, the tiny cakes offer an authentic taste of the city. There are several Ladurée locations throughout Paris, including one along the Champs-Élysées and another in Charles de Gaulle Airport for some last-minute sweets. Of course, other places sell macarons; but Ladurée is our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ favorite pastry shop.
On July 5, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:To see the best that Paris has to offer in one day, be prepared for a jam-packed itinerary. Start your busy morning with a trip to one of the European cafés. Pick up a café au lait and flaky croissant to give you some energy for Paris’ biggest attraction, the Eiffel Tower. You’ll want to make this your first stop because as the day progresses, the line to ride the elevator gets longer and longer (after all, almost 7 million people visit the icon each year). Snap a few photos from the top of the tower and then make your way back down to stable ground.
Now that you’ve checked one Paris monument off your list, it’s off to the Champs-Élysées and Rue Saint-Honoré for some fantastic shopping. Lined with shops from Louis Vuitton and Chanel to Zara and Abercrombie & Fitch, these streets easily could take up your day. But resist the urge to end your day there and make a stop-off at a brasserie for lunch.
Energy restored, it’s time to tackle the famous Louvre. Don’t even think about conquering this massive museum in a day; set aside about two hours to cover just a fraction of the exhibits. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend checking out the “Egyptian Antiquities” and “History of the Louvre” exhibitions. Be sure to join the swarms of tourists peering at the Mona Lisa.
After wandering through the Louvre for a few hours, refuel with a decadent Nutella-filled crêpe from one of the street vendors. Then make your way to Montmartre for an afternoon stroll. This eclectic neighborhood is known for the beautiful Sacré Coeur and its wild nightlife (think Moulin Rouge).
Finally, it’s time to clean up and head to dinner. Parisians usually don’t dine until 9 p.m. or later, allowing you plenty of time to rest before your meal. Cap off your day in the Latin Quarter for some ethnic food. Just off Boulevard Saint Michel, you’ll find an array of cuisine ranging from Swiss to Middle Eastern. After dinner, wander over to nearby Notre Dame to get one last glimpse of Paris — the gargoyles guarding the cathedral.
On July 5, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:Paris is a shopper’s paradise, whether you are looking for culinary goods or high fashion. Champs-Élysées is known around the world as the place to shop big brands — you’ll find the flagship store of Louis Vuitton and labels ranging from Cartier to Abercrombie & Fitch lining the wide boulevard. If you’re looking for renowned designers, walk a couple blocks over to Rue Saint-Honoré, Paris’ most fashionable street (think Hermès, Lanvin, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin). Both streets are located in the eighth arrondissement, adjacent to the first arrondissement where you’ll find the Chanel boutique, located inside Coco Chanel’s former townhouse. For a more bohemian experience, keep your eyes peeled for independent and vintage boutiques along the side streets of main boulevards.
On July 5, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:Paris is filled with museums, cafés, shopping and more — during a visit it’s difficult to squeeze in everything, whether you are an art fanatic or a foodie. To help you pare down the list, our Forbes Travel Guide editors picked the five best things to see and do in Paris:
1. Climb the Eiffel Tower. You don’t have to actually climb the 704 steps to the top — take the elevator for a speedy way to unrivaled views of the City of Light. We suggest getting there early because lines tend to get long.
2. Shop along Champs-Élysées. This wide boulevard is home to some of the best shopping in the world. Stop in the Louis Vuitton flagship store and Cartier before heading to Ladurée for some world-famous macarons. The neighboring streets like Rue Saint-Honoré are lined with designer shops like Hermès, Lanvin and Goyard.
3. Explore the museums. Visit the world-famous Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and take time to admire the building, a work of art itself. Three other must-visit museums include L’Orangerie (Monet’s water lilies are on display), Musée d’Orsay (for sculptures and impressionist paintings), and Centre Georges Pompidou (to see the intriguing inside-out exterior and contemporary art).
4. Discover Versailles. Home of French royalty until 1789, the Château de Versailles is an extravagantly beautiful, palatial estate about 12 miles outside of Paris. Plan to spend half a day visiting the postcard-perfect gardens and heavily ornamented interior rooms.
5. Stroll through Montmartre. On Paris’ Right Bank, Montmartre is known for two things: Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur and its nightlife. You’ll find the legendary Moulin Rouge in this artsy, bohemian neighborhood.
On June 12, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:As a playground of the famous and fabulous, Monte Carlo is filled with high-end designer shopping where you can pick up something special to bring home. But for something out of the ordinary, our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest bypassing the designer shops and heading straight for the world-famous Casino de Monte-Carlo. Go ahead and play some roulette, but save yourself a chip from this legendary luxury casino — it is worth every euro. The small souvenir will remind you of the time you rubbed shoulders with tuxedoed high rollers in the opulent, castle-like casino.
On June 12, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:Monte Carlo is famous for its excess of fine restaurants, luxury hotels and, naturally, shopping. The rich and richer go here for designer shops and exquisite clothing. Take a stroll through Monte Carlo’s Carré d’Or (golden circle), the city-state’s best shopping district. Avenue des Beaux-Arts boasts labels such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Céline, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent; while Avenue de Monte-Carlo has Gucci, Valentino, Prada, Hermès and Lalique. Like a giant-sized jewelry box, the Place du Casino glitters with shops such as Cartier, Chopard and Bulgari.
If you’re looking for more affordable shopping, head to Métropole Shopping Center. The marble-clad shopping center has a gorgeous oversized chandelier and more than 80 stores with a few designer boutiques sprinkled throughout.
On June 12, 2012Hayley Bosch answered the question:While Monaco is less than one square mile in total, and Monte Carlo as just a fraction of that, the tiny principality is packed with cultural adventures — from ogling the mega-yachts that fill the harbor to exploring the storied palace. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best things to see and do in Monte Carlo:
1. Shop in the Carré d’Or. Surrounding the Place du Casino, the Carré d’Or (the golden circle) is the crème de la crème of shopping districts. International luxury labels such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Gucci fill the gilded area.
2. Hit the casino. Monte Carlo is known for its casino and for good reason — the Casino de Monte-Carlo has presided over the glamorous destination for nearly 150 years. From its 19th-century architecture and parade of famous faces to the 1,000-plus slot machines and plethora of table games, this is a must-do in Monaco.
3. Tour the palace. Monaco is also known for is its royal family, the Grimaldis. You can tour the Prince’s Palace of Monaco (the royal family’s primary residence) between June and October to stroll through the magnificent palatial rooms.
4. Cheer at the Grand Prix. As one of the 20 races included in Formula One’s world championship, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the splashiest events — and one of the most dangerous. The race runs a circuit through the streets of Monaco and drivers must make hairpin turns at high speeds. It’s held every year for four days in May.
5. Discover the Oceanographic Museum. The 1901 building that houses the Oceanographic Museum in nearby Monaco Ville — a cross between an aquarium and a history museum — towers cliffside above the Mediterranean Sea. Explore the 90 pools of rare Mediterranean and tropical species and visit the Shark Lagoon — it has bright, colorful fish on one side of a coral reef and predators on the other.