How to Have a Parisian Vacation From the Comfort of Home

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Can't get to the City of Lights? We'll bring la Ville Lumière to you.

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At the moment, travel is off the table—but that's not going to stop us from having a staycation inspired by our favorite cities. First up: Paris.

Of course, it's hard to sum up the allure of this iconic city. There's something unmistakably romantic about the plein air cafes and brasseries lining narrow streets; the bridges crossing the Seine; the bakeries and bookshops; the Old World glamour, both in plain sight and tucked into antique shops. It is one of the most adored and storied cities in the world, referenced in countless novels, songs, and films. And while we can't buy a ticket to the French capital at this time, we can certainly recreate a near-authentic Parisian atmosphere at home. After all, ce n’est pas la mer à boire, as the French would say.

Lucky for all of us, Departures consulted two experts on all things Paris vacations: Romain Meiran, General Manager, and Marie-France Grégoire, Chief Concierge, both reporting from La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. 

Have a French Film Fest in Your Living Room

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Consider it your version of Cannes Film Festival. Meiran and Grégoire recommend the following films: Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, Minuit à Paris, and La Grande Vadrouille.

Play French Vinyl While You Cook

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...French food, of course. Prop open a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking ($20, amazon.com) and put an Édith Piaf album on your record player while you whip up a Boeuf Bourguignon, or perhaps a nice Ratatouille

"For a typical French breakfast, don’t forget the French baguette (add jam, honey, or butter), pastries (chocolat croissant or plain croissant), and of course a coffee!" said Meiran and Grégoire. For those craving a sweet treat, the pair recommends Parisian chocolate. "French people love chocolate, so we suggest you order the best ones from Patrick Roger."

Dress the Part

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Beret? Check. Denim? Check. Stripes? Check. Cardigan? Check. A bold red lipstick ($38, chanel.com)? Mais bien sûr!  When it comes to wardrobe, the team at La Reserve recommends keeping it simple with Parisian staples: jeans, a white shirt, a trench coat, loafers, and an elegant Hermès scarf ($420, hermes.com). Check out the offerings at La Ligne, like this simply and iconic striped tee ($115, lalignenyc.com).

Below, Parisian It Girl Jeanne Damas, both a model and founder of clothing line Rouje, sports a typical everyday Parisian outfit.

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Sister sister 💘

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Curl Up With a Good Book

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The French are no strangers to grand, era-defining literature. Whether it's something written about Paris, like Hemingway's A Moveable Feast ($12, amazon.com), or something written by a Parisian, like In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust ($15, amazon.com), there is no shortage of rich and captivating stories about the magical city. For little ones, Meiran and Grégoire recommend the French bestseller Le Petit Prince by Antoine de St Exupéry ($16, amazon.com).

Consider a Trip to the Louvre

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...from the comfort of your couch. "The most complete virtual visits are the one of the Louvre," said Meiran and Grégoire. "It is a pleasure to visit the Louvre without the crowd." Here, you can find all virtual tour offerings from the Louvre, available right now. Additionally, you can take an online tour through the famed Musée d'Orsay.

If you're in the mood for a little home decorating project, consider ordering a Van Gogh or Picasso print online.