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Jo Cooke

Things to do in Paris for a birthday

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What brighter way to celebrate than by spending your birthday in Paris - the City of Light...of love...in short, a city that oozes as much style as it does cheese, chocolate and champagne?! Whether you’re looking for romance, fun, or simply chic celebrations, if you’re wondering what to do in Paris on your birthday, unwrap our ideas and tear the ribbon off our recommendations. Soak up the best sights in Paris, the best French cuisine and, of course, the very best bubbly to guarantee a joyeux anniversaire!

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Breakfast in Paris

Why not start your day in style with coffee and the best Parisian breakfast you can find? Follow in the footsteps of famous writers, philosophers and artists; Oscar Wilde, Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway, not to mention Sartre - and Picasso - were all regulars at Les Deux Magots, maybe the most famous café in Paris. Just across the Boulevard St Germain, Café de Flore is another legendary literary hangout. Sample their classic specialties or drop into nearby Café Louise for a top-class coffee and traditional French breakfast to set you up for a day of good things.

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Learn how to make macarons

If you’ve a taste for macarons you could even try your hand at making your own, with a Macaron Pastry Class at Galeries Lafayette. Work with a French pastry chef to learn how to make the shells, the ganache and put it all together to create the perfect pastry sensation. Obviously you’ll have to sample a few along the way!

Over the river, Ladurée, shimmering on the Champs Elysée, is another contender for the best breakfast in Paris. Settle into the sumptuous 1950s decor and choose from specialty croissants and other sweet treats. Of course you can’t leave Ladurée without picking up a beautifully wrapped parcel of their world-famous macarons, 15,000 of which are sold every day! The delicious, disintegrating delight of these famous Parisian pastries make them worth every cent.

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Shopping in Paris

Oh look! Since we’re already in Galeries Lafayette it would be a shame to not spend some of our birthday money on that favourite Paris pastime - shopping! As the undisputed fashion capital of the world, we can’t begin to suggest which are the best shops in Paris. But whatever your taste or budget, from opulent department stores to world-famous designer boutiques, via every style of independent outlet, your shopping dreams will surely come true here.

If you’re looking for French fashion tips, maybe drop into the exclusive mini fashion show at Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann store? This 30-minute catwalk of couture showcases ultra-chic French style to help you get ahead of the latest trends.

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And, of course, no Paris shopping trip would be complete without a promenade along the Champs-Elysée, the most famous shopping street in Paris, running for over a mile between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. Historically the home of famous fashion names like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel and Balenciaga, you’ll also find mainstream brands including Gap, Zara and H&M. Don’t miss Galeries Lafayette’s four-story flagship store, featuring 600 brands and 300 designers in a stylish art deco building. Rather than traditional ‘departments’ it mixes items from different categories, encouraging shoppers to enjoy a fluid experience between fashion, food, accessories and loads more.

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Lunch in Paris

All that retail therapy has given us an appetite, but, once more, we’re spoiled for choice, since Paris is famously a gastronomic paradise.

One special way to enjoy a birthday lunch might be to hit one of the many fresh food markets dotted throughout the city. Bag a baguette, some choice cheeses, maybe a punnet of cherries and some patisserie items - perhaps even a cheeky bottle of wine - and set off for a Parisian picnic. The tempting food stalls of the Marché St Germain are particularly well placed to pick up something to enjoy whilst sitting beside the Seine, along the Left Bank, or whilst lazing on the lakeside lawns of the Jardins Luxembourg

Or, if you’re pushing the birthday boat out for something a little more high-end, perhaps consider a gourmet lunch at Mordu. Also under the arches of the Marché St Germain, and acclaimed by the Michelin Guide, this popular restaurant serves classic French and Mediterranean cuisine with a contemporary twist. Settle down in the rich dark wood interior or, if the sun’s shining, on the wide outdoor terrace - and pop a celebratory cork to accompany your meal.

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Browse the best Paris museums

You don’t have to be a culture vulture to find something to fascinate in the Paris museums - and there are 150 to choose from, including the Louvre, the world’s biggest museum. Taking an outside tour of the Louvre’s surroundings will help you understand its buildings, history and significance, before you head inside to meet Mona and the other masterpieces.

You’ll find a more laid-back museum experience at the wonderful Musée de l’Orangerie, where you can almost drown in the beauty of Monet’s large-scale water-lily paintings.

Meanwhile the Musée d’Orsay is home to a wonderful collection of furniture, sculpture and especially Impressionist paintings, breathtakingly housed in a soaring converted railway station. Get up close and personal with works by Monet, Renoir, Gaugin, Cézanne and Van Gogh, then recover in the café alongside the giant station clock.

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Explore Montmartre

For a relaxed afternoon, strolling the pretty streets of Montmartre makes for a perfect birthday outing. Take a walking tour, climb the steps to Sacre Coeur, peep through the gates of the only vineyard in Paris and soak in the history and culture of this atmospheric Parisian district, famed for its street artists. There are endless bars and cafés for snacks, drinks and people-watching. Or maybe get your portrait painted in the Place du Tertre as a lasting memory of a special day.

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Have a drink!

With apologies to the tee-totallers, another popular Parisian hobby is wine-tasting! And when better to raise a glass but on your birthday? Perhaps unsurprisingly France produces more wine than any other country - around 550 million cases per year. Les Caves du Louvre offers a choice of 50 different wines available by the glass. Sample your favorites (and cheese too!) in an historic wine cellar and learn about the different wine-making regions.

If beer is your preferred bevvy there’s another tasting package available at authentic Parisian microbrewery Brasserie BAPBAP. Sample some of their 35 original beers and take home a goodie bag, including two beer glasses, as a birthday souvenir.

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Perhaps you’ll opt for a cocktail in St Germain as an aperitif before your evening celebrations or, French style, mid-afternoon. Or, for the full romantic experience, relax on a sunset cruise on the Seine, spotting iconic landmarks and watching the city light up, with a glass of sparkling bubbles in your hand.

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Dinner at the Eiffel Tower

As evening falls, take your tastebuds on tour to the Tour Eiffel. For the ultimate Paris birthday treat, jump the queues and ride the lift to the champagne bar on the top floor of the Eiffel Tower, where you can gaze at the spectacular city view as you sip your bubbles at an altitude of 276m. Alcohol free drinks are also available and the view is just as good.

For a birthday dinner you’ll never forget, book well in advance for the sumptuous Eiffel Tower restaurants. Madame Brasserie on the first floor offers contemporary seasonal dishes served with a panoramic view over the Seine and Trocadero whilst, on the second floor, the Michelin starred Jules Verne is an unbeatable gastronomic experience. And who needs birthday candles? There’s no more magical sight than the tower’s 20,000 lights, glittering every hour from dusk until 1am.

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Visit a Paris cabaret show

To round off a birthday to remember, a famous Paris cabaret is a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. Both The Lido and The Crazy Horse are renowned venues with extravagant sets, costumes and choreography. But it’s the mesmerising Moulin Rouge that’s known the world over for its mixture of elegance and risque entertainment. Its Féerie show featuring 80 performers, including 60 high-kicking Doriss girls and over 1,000 costumes bedecked with jewels and feathers, is a jaw-dropping celebration of joie de vivre.

Can you see and do more with Go City? Yes you can can! The freedom to explore on your own terms is the best gift we can give you. Pick up an All-Inclusive Pass and you’ll think it’s your birthday every day!

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