Sanyukta Iyer (MUMBAI MIRROR; June 12, 2017)

Paris, the capital and most populous city of France, is also one of Europe's most significant centres of finance, commerce, fashion, science and the arts. Charles de Gaulle is the second busiest airport in Europe after London's Heathrow, with 63.8 million passenger traffic recorded in 2014, while the city's subway system serves 5.23 million passengers daily, making it one of the busiest metro systems in Europe.

While Musée du Louvre is home to Italian legend Leonardo Da Vinci's two most famous works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, the Musée d'Orsay is hailed for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the Pompidou centre is acclaimed for the largest collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe.

The central area of Paris, along the Seine River, is classified as a UNESCO Heritage site and boasts of notable monuments like the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Sainte Chapelle, the former Universal Exposition Grand Palais, Petit Palais and Eiffel Tower, and the Basilica of Sacré-Coeur. In 2015, Paris received 22.2 million visitors, making it one of the world's most prestigious tourist destinations.

Actress-turned-bestselling author Twinkle Khanna aka Mrs Funnybones shares on her fave moments from a Parisian getaway:

Home away from home
I visited France 15 years ago and stayed in a tiny hotel next to Bon Marche. Thirty-five holidays later, I was back in France with one of my best friends, Bindya Lulla. Back then, we stayed in a quaint villa in Saint Remy, this time, I stayed in a Parisian home that I had booked via Airbnb. My host, Valentine, gave us a lot of insider tips. The day we arrived, we went to a fancy spa to knead out the jet lag and came out underwhelmed. Valentine then sent me to a dodgy-looking massage place five minutes from our apartment which I would never have entered on my own. I got one of the best massages there with each vertebra in my back wanting to write a thank you note! I like travelling to places rich in history, art and culture, ignoring the laments of my despairing family, who would rather just vegetate by the beach. I didn't use the metro this time but walked endlessly or jumped into cabs. Back home, I miss the cobblestone streets. I loved the feeling of belonging in Paris and greeting neighbours every day as I crossed our courtyard. A little girl once fired a water pistol at my friend and I had a laughing fit.

Live, love, laugh, Louvre
Even though I've been to the Musée Du Louvre before, I enrolled for a special experience called 'Laugh your way through the Louvre' this time. The host, Cedrik, had incidentally started his career as a standup comic in Pondicherry and gave us a lot of information about 30 important pieces of art in a way that it would stick in our head and made us giggle by pointing out that Mona Lisa would need a lot more cleavage to get as famous today.

Art is usually a solemn affair, but thanks to Cedrik, we laughed our way through it. I definitely want to take my son, Aarav, for this experience. I have a feeling then he will stick around the museum for longer than his stipulated 15 minutes.

J'adore truffle
This trip was a series of discoveries. On our first day in the city, while looking for an authentic French meal, we ended up eating Russian for lunch and Japanese for dinner. Then, Valentine told us about places Parisians frequent so we wouldn't be lost in the usual tourist traps. Monsieur Bleu had the most amazing truffle pizza and pasta. I went on a binge as I savoured their scrambled eggs with more truffle. Diets don't last, and neither does life, so just eat that bloody macaron tonight, right?