Paris, France

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Paris, France is a city of the senses, and foreign travelers will notice this right away. Known throughout the 20th century as "the city of light," Paris also appeals to the other senses, particularly smell, taste, and touch. Walk down the streets in the city center in the morning and you'll probably come across the aroma of fresh bread baking or coffee brewing.

Parisians take both very seriously. Baguettes are purchased by the citizenry usually twice a day: before breakfast and dinner, keeping the hundreds of bakeries busy all day long. As for coffee, the people of Paris prefer theirs strong and rich, either espresso-style or, in the mornings, as cafe au lait (coffee with milk). Paris is filled with open-air markets selling fresh produce, meat, fish, eggs, olives, cheese ... and the list goes on. If it has to do with food, and particularly if it's fresh and flavorful, then Paris has got it.

More for the Senses in Paris

It's hard not to linger on the sense of taste when talking about Paris, for it's long been one of the most important culinary centers of the world. Paris is home to not just the fine, delicate and complex flavors of traditional French cuisine, but also to a busy and growing international and Asian "fusion" cuisine. Paris has become home to not only a thriving African and Middle Eastern population, but also Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants. All of these influences show up in today's French cuisine.

On to the final sense: touch. Stroll through the streets of Paris and you'll enjoy the cool fall air or the warm sun on a late spring day. Paris is also the world's center for fashion, which soon becomes evident; enter any of Paris's fine fabric shops and sample the most sensual velvet, silk, lace, and linens. Visit a women's hosiery shop for baby-fine, translucent stockings, or marvel at a wide selection of exquisite silk ties in the men's haberdasheries.

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