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We know you don’t really need another excuse to visit Paris, but just in case you haven’t booked your ticket yet, maybe the thought of drinking at new hotspots along the Seine this summer or swimming under spectacular Art Deco ceilings will inspire you. Or how about the 125th birthday of that little tower you might have heard of? While annual events like Nuit Blanche, Paris Marathon and Bastille Day always attract droves to the City of Light, there are a few nouveautés to look forward to in 2014, if all goes well. Here are the 14 things to look forward to in the new year, with a little help from Paris.fr.
1. A brand new zoo experience
The zoo in the Parc de Vincennes will reopen this spring, offering modern facilities and a unique way to experience wildlife. Not far from the Chateau de Vincennes, the zoo will be the perfect addition to a day in the Bois de Vincennes for kids and adults alike.
2. Picasso comes back to life
The Picasso Museum will really re-open this June. It was slated for last year, as we so proudly announced in last year’s New Year recap. But this year we mean it. We hope.
3. Art all over town
Other exhibitions are a sure thing this year, from the Louvre to smaller galleries around town. Frank Gehry and Jeff Koons will have their turn at the Pompidou while Robert Mapplethorpe will show off at the Grand Palais. A part of the collection destined for the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be on show at the flagship location, where the Winged Victory will also be coming back after restorations. Welcome home!
4. Jump on the bus
Don’t forget the bus! Maybe 2014 will be the year of cheap weekend trips with the low-cost bus service called IdBus. For a few euros, you can select big destinations like Lyon, Milan, Amsterdam and London, or places where even the low-cost TGV Ouigo doesn’t go!
5. A new face in Hotel de Ville
Just like New York in 2013, municipal elections will usher in a new Paris mayor this year. Our dear Betrand Delanoe will not run again, having held the spot since 2001. It will be an exciting time for Paris this spring as a new leader takes his or her seat at the Hotel de Ville.
6. Guidebook expert advice
If we’re not convincing enough, maybe Lonely Planet’s endorsement will help. The popular guidebook chose Paris as the number one urban destination for this year. Surprised?
7. Les Halles revamp
All of that horrid construction in the center of the city around the historic Les Halles district will be shaping up—finally. The green canopy that will be the standout of the new construction project is set to be completed this year. Whether it’s as monstrous as it looks in images remains to be seen. The neighborhood, however, is sure to change drastically over the next few years, so visit it now while it’s in transition.
8. Swim in style
The Piscine Molitor and the Piscine at Butte aux Cailles will both reopen after years of renovation, allowing you to swim like a lady or chap from the 1920s under beautiful Art Deco ceilings and décor.
9. New event complex
The Carreau du Temple, on the site of the old Knights Templar complex, will also open this April. Another of our failed prediction from 2013 (Paris can move slow sometimes), this year the former market will host local sporting events, performance artists, and various events in a totally renovated structure.
10. Cool souvenirs
The official Paris boutique, already online, will open up a store at the Hotel de Ville—as if you needed more souvenirs? Check out the offerings on their site and stop by the shop once it opens later this year.
11. Sipping on the Seine
The Berges de Seine (opened last year) will have even more restaurants and bars this summer. It will be the new “it” spot for Parisians on the Rive Gauche, and others who dare cross the river. Head down to the 2.3 kilometers of renovated river bank to mingle with the locals at a variety of bars and cafés, including the Rosa Bonheur outpost.
12. Sainte Chapelle revealed
Sick of scaffolding? We are, too. Fortunately work will end on the Sainte Chapelle this autumn (probably December) meaning those gorgeous stained-glass windows that people wait in line for will finally be visible as King Louis IX intended back in the 1200s.
13. Food trucks on the rise
If all else fails, come for the food. Sure, there are plenty of farm-fresh menus at high end bistros, but have you tried a gourmet burger out of a cart? Paris is bursting with food trucks right now, and 2014 is shaping up to be the year to eat on the street. And if you think you’ve eaten everything in Paris already, Burger King has come back to the French capital, so why not try a Whopper à la francaise?
14. Eiffel Tower turns the big 125
Last year Notre Dame celebrated the big 8-5-0. This year, Paris’s Iron Lady, the Eiffel Tower will celebrate its 125th birthday. Renovations will be finished on the first floor, after two years of construction, featuring a glass floor, new exhibits, refurbished pavilions, and a more eco-friendly approach to running one of the world’s most famous monuments. So far no special party is planned, but the lights will shimmer each night, while fireworks will illuminate the landmark on July 14th, as if she needs any more pomp.