Bienvenue à Paris
With a dash of joie de vivre and a carefree stroll to the Jardin du Living Room, we invite you to break out the wine, put on some music, and let your imagination wander to the coeur de Paris! The City of Lights awaits. Let’s go.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, FOUND is producing free Virtual Vacations to encourage everyone to learn more about global culture while social distancing.
The local businesses, restaurants, and bars in our own hometowns of Houston and Austin need our support too, so we encourage you to order take-out and delivery as often as you can via our Perfect Pairings.
France is home to some of our dearest friends, and we look forward to the day where we can do these things in person with them again, while celebrating with a fine glass of champange.
We’ll always (virtually) have Paris
Sure, these are pretty touristy things to do and in no way make up what Paris truly holds. But no long lines and certainly no other tourists!
While visiting in person is a logistical event in itself, you can now enjoy the Lourve without rushing through. Here are the exhibits currently available for viewing. You can also view The Carter’s art trail from their music video “Apes**t”. The Louvre also has an app that introduces you to the Mona Lisa dubbed, Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass.
The Catacombs consist of more than 200 miles of tunnels underneath the city and most are lined to the ceiling with skulls and bones. If the macabre is your cup of tea, take a peak underground. This view gets you even closer to the “Empire of Death.”
The sheer magnitude of the Invalides is seen from a great distance as you are walking along Pont Alexandre III. While not as virtually immersive as the other locations on your trip, it’s still worth checking out to see a 360 birds eye view of the Dome Church where Napoleon was laid to rest.
Out and About in Luxury
Still have some energy to burn? If you want to imagine yourself running along the Seine, whether that’s indoor on your treadmill or on your Peloton bike (we have neither but you may!), here is a virtual run you can do! If you’d rather take your time saying hello to Paris, continue your day taking a pleasant stroll through Jardin des Tuileries.
Just run all the way to Versailles while you’re at it. While not technically in Paris, you can now visit the famed “Château” in the comfort of your home! If you’re feeling inspired, we suggest putting on the Marie Antoinette soundtrack, Sofia Coppola really nailed it. Everytime we hear The Strokes or New Order, we think of the grand halls of Versailles!
Continuing the over-the-top theme, the designer of our dreams, Christian Dior’s Designer of Dreams, is available with a bts guided tour on YouTube! Admire his craftsmanship and choose what you’d like to wear to your kitchen, or out in public once all of this is over.
Local Austin Pairings “le petit déjeuner”
Start your morning off like a Parisian (minus the morning commute) and pick up some fresh pastries from Swedish Hill Bakery. Orders are placed via their website for curbside pick up only.
Elizabeth St. Cafe also has their breakfast pastries and housemade preserves available. While the restaurant is open for limited capacity, we still recommend picking up via curbside. Orders can be placed on their website.
Need some strong espresso or a coffee drink of your choosing to pair with your croissant? Lever Craft coffee and Fleet coffee (newly reopened!) on the eastside are two of our favorite small craft coffee shops. Both are offering curbside pickup via walk-up orders only.
Bakery Lorraine at the Domain is offering take-out, curbside pickup and delivery on their website. Their Croque Madame is worth it!
In the mood for something a bit different? Hotel St. Cecilia is offering their “Room Service” breakfast in bed style for pick up or delivery within a 5 mile radius of the hotel. That French Continental looking real good right now. Place your order via their website.
A Moveable Feast for the Eyes
One of the best “small” museums in Paris, the Musee de l’Orangerie holds the collection of Claude Monet’s water lilies. Let the stillness and calm feelings take over.
It’s quite a feat to see about 90% of all the artwork inside the Musee d’Orsay but well worth the visit. Now, you don’t have to spend 4+ hours and achy feet to see some of the highlights! In particular, the d’Orsay is a Van Gogh treasure trove including works such as Self Portrait, Starry Night, and The Siesta. You can also view some additional pieces of art via their YouTube channel.
One of the best modern and contemporary art museums in Europe, The Centre Pompidou has a YouTube channel to view some of their most famous artworks. Most of the videos are in French, but there are some exceptions. For example, “Chefs-d’oeuvre #PompidouVIP” is a series of short videos that invite you to discover some of the most important modern and contemporary artists from the Centre Pompidou’s collection.
Another modern and contemporary art wonder in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo is offering a handful of it’s exhibits virtually open to the public that are, “magical yet violent, poetic and transgressive, sensual yet meditative, huge yet intimate, public yet secret.”
In a collective effort by Paris Musees, masterpieces from Rembrandt, Courbet, and Delacroix have been made available to the public. You can even download a few to make for a killer zoom background for your next meeting!
If you need some background music while you peruse all the art, we highly recommend local Parisian expert MessyNessy’s “Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris” playlist!
Local Austin Pairings “le dejuener”
Dia’s Market is our favorite north central specialty grocery and deli that offers the best rosemary ham sandwiches that remind us of a toasty jambon-beurre that fills the soul with happiness. Order online for curbside pickup.
If you’re looking for a contemporary take on a French “brunch”, June’s All Day should be top of the list. Offering their brunch menu on Saturday & Sunday, go for the Steak au Poivre and a bottle of June’s Sparkling Rose. Order online for curbside pickup.
Our favorite little french-creole-esque bistro, Epicerie is offering curbside pickup and delivery within 5 miles of the restaurant. They are also doing pre-orders for Mother’s Day, you know mom would love that mimosa kit!
Need something sweet to break up the day? Julie Myrtille, a true french bakery on the eastside, has the best pear tartellets and macarons that will have you going back for more. Order online for pickup (bakery is located in Building 1 at Springdale General complex).
While not necessarily French, we can’t help but add Mozart’s Coffee Roasters. They are also offering a special High Tea & Coffee box (yes, we know this is more British but work with us) for Mom to pre-order for Mother’s Day. Order online for curbside pick up or delivery.
Before the fire ravaged our beloved Notre Dame, you are still able to view the beauty inside the cathedral. Nothing beats waking up early on a Sunday morning and hearing the church bells sing in the wind.
Words cannot describe how beautiful it is inside Sainte Chapelle. Until we can visit Paris again soon, take a look inside this architectural gem and admire the colorfully luminous stained glass windows that adorn the chapel.
No need to climb those stairs to get here, you can now enjoy Montmartre’s famous Basilique du Sacre-Coeur and discover both the inside and outside (even from above).
Also another monument that requires some heavy pre-cardio to get to the top, The Arc du Triomphe has the best seat in the house right before sundown to view the Eiffel Tower twinkle against the midnight sky.
End your day by paying a visit to the Iron Lady of Paris. While perhaps the most touristy thing you can do in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is worth it! There are a handful of virtual tours, but this elevator ride to the top floor is our favorite. You can also view this time capsule of the Eiffel Tower dating back to the 1900’s.
Local Austin Pairings “dîner”
Antonelli’s Cheese House is our go-to spot for the best cheese and accoutrements. On May 17th and 24th, they are offering their Taste of France Virtual Cheese Tasting. A special promo for all FOUND travelers you’ll receive a complimentary chocolate bar with your cheese plate. Use FOUNDFrance promo code upon checkout.
Serving more than just french bread, Texas French Bread is doing dinner meals for 2-4 people. You know a place makes the best food when they can prepare their rotisserie chicken just right. Order online for curbside pickup.
Reminiscent of that one crowded, intimate, timeless bistro in Paris, Justine’s Brasserie is one French transplant in Austin. Offering curbside pickup, their Steak Frites and Ratatouille are probably some of the best things on the menu. A classic Parisian late-night dinner. Bonsoir!
La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin means “Life is too short to drink bad wine”. These are our top picks for curbside pickup or delivery for some really great wine by the bottle:
- LoLo: For a natural approach, Lolo is offering same day curbside pick up and delivery on orders of six bottles or more.
- House Wine: Bottle Shoppe is open for curbside pick-up and deliveries on bottles of wine via their website.
- Apt 115: Offering to-go wine via phone calls and curbside deliveries. The bar’s usual 30% discount on retail bottles still applies.
Close out your evening at one of our favorite cocktail bars in London, Cahoot’s. They are posting a cocktail masterclasses on their Instagram. Drinks while taking the Tube that don't come in a can...yes please!
Learn to make an East Gin & Tonic from Bombay Sapphire Cocktail’s website. We had the honor of visiting Bombay Sapphire's amazing distillery last year and was wowed by the hospitality and their focus on conservancy (oh, and the gin).
Since you're upping your cocktail skills at home, join the blokes from Here Nor There (HNT) on their Instagram IGTV for some serious lessons. They learned their trade at one of our favorite bars in London, Trailer Happiness, and now we get to enjoy their drinks locally. While some are not traditionally British cocktails, learning how to make a proper Margarita is always welcome.