Rue Mouffetard in Paris Video by Nils Ruinet, Getty Imagse The French are said to hold a certain je ne sais quoi, making their allure seem all the more attractive to outsiders. And while they get a rep for being on the unfriendly side, a simple bonjour will open more doors than you think. This is the country known for its world-class wineries and haute cuisine, after all.
There are plenty of opportunities for a rendezvous if you know the right spots to look for and meet others, from the most happening cocktail bars to the coolest quartiers, or neighborhoods. Play ping-pong alfresco on the Sunday-only rooftop bar or head down to the main watering hole for a round of foosball and cheekily titled cocktails like the whiskey and absinthe infused Monkey Business. Where to go for a drink: Start the evening in the onetime working class quartier of Oberkampf at Ober Mamma , whose Italian-inspired aperitivo draws a well-clad crowd seeking craft cocktails and light bites like couture-style Jambon Culatello, or cured ham.
Some cultural tips for your trip: Parisians tend to stick to their neighborhood, so rent an apartment and explore your surroundings to really feel like a local in the city. ParisBouge is a guide to weekly happenings in the city, from museum exhibitions to concerts and restaurant openings.
Artist Le CyKlop turned street poles into portraits of famous painters like Picasso, who once lived and worked in the area. To snag the best deals and avoid waiting in notoriously long ticket lines , book ahead on the SNCF site and download your ticket to the app. In their eyes, nothing else compares.
Get your bearings at wine bar Aux 4 Coins du Vin , where you can taste your way through a menu of over bottles from around the globe and 40 wines by the glass. Its curved wood and glass paneled architecture mimics the flow of the Garonne, as well as the swirl of wine in a glass. From the eighth floor Belvedere, sample a global selection of wine while taking in degree views of Bordeaux and its vineyards. Take a seat on the shabby chic vintage furniture while sipping on New Orleans-inspired cocktails and tuning in to music that wavers between live jazz and vinyl-spun soul and funk.
How to get to the next city: Locals tend to hop to the next beach town over, Villefranche-sur-Mer, for its crescent-shaped bay lined by coarse, sandy beach. The vibe here is no fuss: Best place for a leisurely dinner: Cultural tip on what not to do: Skip the heels and the tie. The French Riviera may have a glam reputation, but Nice is much more of an understated cool kind of place than its more spruced up sisters, Cannes and Monaco.
Where to go for a night on the town: The New Zealand-run bar caters to an English-speaking crowd and has a house party feel with its couch seating and tucked away enclaves. Lane Nieset is a freelance travel journalist from Miami who currently calls Nice, France home. Take a look at her travels LaneNieset or follow along on Twitter.