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Set Up Chez Vous

Paris has some gorgeous hotels, but why not live like the locals and rent an apartment for your Parisian adventure? Play house in these gorgeous Casa-recommended vacation rentals. They're located in either the central neighborhood of Le Marais or St. Germain, where you can wander the stylish streets together and then return to your own comfortable pied-à-terre for a glass of wine or a cozy nap.

If you want to opt for a posh hotel, check out landmark hotel The George V, a decadent favorite of Sarah Jessica Parker.

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Explore the Streets

You'll never have to hop in a car while you're in Paris. In addition to taking the insanely reliable and frequent métro, you can explore the winding rues and impressive avenues on a vélib — the inexpensive public bikes offered on almost every corner. Paris is peppered with over 17,000 bicycles that you can pick up at one kiosk and return at another station near your destination; subscriptions are €1 per day or €5 per week, plus about €1 per half hour of use.

After you finish taking in the sites by bike, sign up for a professional walking tour. Paris Walks offers two-hour tours for about €12 on themes ranging from Medieval Paris, Parisian fashion, and "The Village of Montmarte."

Source: Flickr User notfrancois

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Relax au Jardin

Run to your local épicerie for a baguette, creamy cheese, some saucisson, tomatoes, and a bottle of rosé. Then head over to the Luxembourg Garden. Eat your picnic among young French lovers, old men playing pétanque, and children enjoying a ride on the Ferris wheel. Chic Parisians enjoying their perfectly manicured urban garden make for delightful people watching.

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Watch the City of Lights Sparkle

A trip to Paris is not complete without a look at the Eiffel Tower. Take it in in style after dark at the Café de l'Homme, a trendy restaurant located near the Musée de l'Homme on the Place du Trocadéro. Skip the meal and sit outside while attempting to make one pretty-pricey drink last until you see the illuminated Eiffel Tower sparkle as it does for 10 minutes once an hour. It's a perfect, quiet after-dinner spot for two.

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Cook — and Eat — Your Heart Out

Mouthwatering French cuisine is surely a highlight of any trip to Paris, but why not learn the local tricks so you can cook some specialties for each other back at home, too? Located in Versailles, Cordon-Bleu-trained chef Patricia offers private cooking classes that will teach you how to make hot fish terrine with beurre blanc, roasted duck breasts with honey and spices, or even macarons. She offers classes in English, and you can come early to shop the local market with Patricia and select the ingredients for the dishes you'll cook and then eat. Bon appétit!

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