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The New Year is upon us and it’s once again time to start planning that next trip to Paris, n’est-ce pas? Start searching for cheap airfare and the perfect hotel (in our Paris guide, naturally!) and, in case you need a little push, consider some of these 13 reasons to visit Paris in 2013:
1. Notre Dame’s birthday
Notre Dame is turning 850 and the party is going strong. With renovations, new bells, and a platform allowing a unique elevated view of the church, there will be plenty of activity around the world’s most iconic cathedral.
2. Because you “like” Paris
Paris is a social media phenomenon with more likes on its Facebook page than any other city. If that’s not reason enough to come visit, then clearly you’re behind the times. Be sure to tag us in some of your photos if you do decide to come.
3. Nothing to sneeze at
Have a food allergy? No need to hide! Along with Helmut Newcake, Paris’s first gluten-free bakery, other food establishments are offering more and more allergy-conscious dishes, making this culinary capital even more all-encompassing. Check out Noglu, a gluten-free and often dairy-free restaurant in the 9th arrondissement. Grocery stores are also increasingly displaying their gluten-free varieties, so we’re excited to see what 2013 has in store!
4. New life in the Marais
The Carreau du Temple, a 19th-century covered market, is opening sometime in the spring or summer, bringing even more life into the Upper Marais district. Haven’t checked out this area yet? It’s full of great shops, cafés, and the Marché des Enfants Rouges, the city’s oldest covered market. When the Carreau du Temple opens, the renovated pavilion will host a cultural center with different halls for events ranging from sports and theater to markets and art shows.
5. A new Place de la République
A new Place de la République will be unveiled, creating a more attractive journey between the Marais and the Canal St-Martin districts. Once construction is finished, the renovated plaza will boast new fountains, energy efficient lights, and an overall brighter atmosphere than of olden days.
6. New dedicated Right Bank bike lanes
Biking across Paris will be even easier as a path between Place de la Concorde and the Bastille will be opened, connecting the east and west of the city along the Right Bank. Currently, biking by the Louvre and the Tuileries towards either end of the city is a nightmare, but in 2013, Paris will become more of a biker’s paradise, allowing you to cruise along the river without worrying about buses and cars.
7. Last call for the food trucks?
Food will return to the table in 2013, at least it’s looking that way. The famous Camion Qui Fume and other food trucks don’t have quite the mobility that their American counterparts do, since the city doesn’t make things easy for these movable feasts. I predict that the novelty will wear off soon as Parisians and tourists alike realize that sitting down while eating wasn’t really a problem in the first place.
8. Picasso comes home!
At last, at last, the Picasso Museum will reopen! Few remember when we last stepped foot inside the Marais haunt, but starting in the summer of 2013, as long as all goes well with the renovations, we’ll be able to relive the Blue Period and wrap our minds around Cubism all over again.
9. A little night music
Theatre doesn’t stop surprising us. After a hugely successful run of “West Side Story,” Sondheim’s “A Sunday in the Park with George” will be presented at the Théâtre du Chatelet April 15-25, 2013. And if Broadway isn’t your thing, the Opera Bastille and Garnier will hold stellar seasons as usual. “Hansel and Gretel” anyone?
10. The Louvre through another Lens
There’s a second… Louvre? Yes, Mona Lisa’s home just wasn’t big enough to house all of the Louvre’s treasures, so the museum just opened a second address in Lens, a nearby coal-mining town. Take the train ride, just over an hour, to experience a very different and modern experience, the Louvre-Lens.
11. Bon app!
Parisians love apps. Forget reading books and newspapers in the Metro (well, not really…). Now they’re scanning the news on their tablets and smartphones. Need a pastry? There’s an app for that. Need to get to the airport? Check. Want to know where to find the nearest Vélib stand? Got it covered. There’s no telling what our smartphones will be doing in 2013.
12. Exhibits galore!
In 2013, Paris is still the place to be with some fun and fresh shows in the city’s most iconic museums, as well as some lesser-known ones. See Chagall at the Musée du Luxembourg (February 21-July 21), experience a collection on Miss Dior at the Grand Palais (March 22-April 3), or explore Da Vinci at Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (now on through August 18). And don’t forget the continually rotating free shows at the Hotel de Ville, including the upcoming Haute Couture exhibit (March 2-July 6).
13. €25 fares on the TGV
Trains are getting Cheapo, finally! The SCNF is introducing a new idea, the TGV-Eco, that will offer at least 1 million TGV tickets each year for under €25. The first trial will be on the Paris—Montpellier line, and include stops in Lyon and Marseille. If all goes well, this could mean good things for budget travelers looking to take a trip out of Paris for a day or two.
Your reasons to visit Paris in 2013?
What are you looking forward to in Paris this year, Cheapos? Add something to our list in the comments section!