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Paris conjures up images of romance, Mona Lisa’s smile, the iconic Eiffel Tower, charming cafes and delicious croissants… But look beyond to discover a different facet of the ‘City of Light’. Since the Netflix show, Emily in Paris, became a rage, many want to roam the streets of the French capital just the way Emily did, maybe sporting designer clothes like her. Well, this city has something for everyone.

Wine and Dine
Those not in the mood to jostle with the crowds at the top of the Eiffel Tower, stop at the first floor at Madame Brasserie to have an incredible meal that will also get you bragging rights. Take a table by 
the window and gaze at Parisian life below—the Seine river, Place du Trocadéro square and iconic sunsets—as you savour a delectable meal sipping French wine. At dinnertime, choose from two fixed menus that offer classic French dishes such as caviar, Parisian-style blue lobster, Vol-au-vent and more.
Another place worth visiting is La Coupole, a classic century-old French brasserie. 

Painted columns, a floor with mosaic tiles and an eye-catching sculpture in the centre, set the tone. Once frequented by Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso and American novelist, Ernest Hemingway, dining here is an experience. 

For those who like to wine and dine in style, be sure to book months in advance to get a table at Epicure, a three Michelin star restaurant at Le Bristol Paris. It’s an unforgettable experience. Think crystal chandeliers, crisp white table cloths, Louis XVI furnishings, French windows and some of the best wine in the country. Dishes range from caviar to duck foie gras. 

Shop till you Drop
Shopaholics know that Champs Elysees, often described as ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’, is lined with top luxury brands. A stroll along the 2-km lane, which runs from Place de la Concorde to the grand Arc de Triomphe, is one of the best ways to plug into this fashion lover’s paradise. 

A section of the city’s covered passages has shopping arcades with glass roofs that were built between the late 18th and mid-19th century. It was the time when Paris was not paved, and streets could get slushy when it rained. From luxury shops, restaurants, bars to daily provision stores, one can find everything here. A walk-through is like a lesson in history and architecture.

For example, there are three covered passages—Valois, Beaujolais and Montpensier, around the gardens of Palais Royal that were built in the 1780s by the Duke of Orleans. It’s charming to shop in these galleries, admiring the stained-glass windows and ornate décor. Some of the popular ones are Passage du Grand-Cerf, Galerie Vivienne and Passage des Panoramas. One of them, Passage Brady, is popularly called Little India because it is lined with Indian and Pakistani shops and restaurants.

Then there are over a century-old luxury department stores such as Galeries Lafayette and Printemps that have history written all over them. The latter, which opened in 1865, was one of the first few buildings in Paris to get electricity. Home to some of the finest brands in the world, it offers a personal shopping experience as well. You don’t have to look beyond the grand architecture of the façade and dome to understand why these buildings have been declared historical monuments. 
 
Contemporary Art
Art and museums are one’s constant companions in Paris. While the Louvre, home to the famous Mona Lisa, is a must visit, head to another iconic site, Fondation Louis Vuitton. Also called ‘the glass cloud’, the unique building that looks like a glass sailboat, has 11 galleries that hold temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, an auditorium that can accommodate 350 people and a restaurant. Till August 28, they have an exhibition by American artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol.  
While there are a myriad ways to discover this city, treading a path less known is always special.

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