Virtual Vacations

Bienvenue à Paris

Via Houston

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 Houston Pairings “le petit déjeuner”

Cafe Poetes will transport you straight to a Parisian patisserie, although they have more than sweets. Their morning pastry selection is killer, as is their coffee. They do a full take-away afternoon tea, as well as amazing Mother’s Day specials. Order now by calling 346-802-4969 or using Favor.

Start your morning off like a Parisian (minus the morning commute) and pick up some fresh pastries and coffee from Mademoiselle Louise. Call to order and pick up (346) 980-8763.  

Although it’s had its ups and downs, Common Bond has established itself as the go-to for pastries and coffee. With locations all over Houston now, you don’t have to travel far to get a decent croissant and kouign-amann. Order online for pickup, or use your favorite delivery app.

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 Houston Pairings “le dejuener”

Melange Creperie started as a food cart, and has blossomed into a full-fledged restaurant with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We love it so much we’ve been known to order a savory crepe and a sweet crepe in one go. Call 713-393-7578 to order a pick up, and check out their menu here. They’re also giving meals to first responders, so help them out by purchasing a gift card. 

Downtown and somewhat hidden on the first floor of an apartment complex across from Discovery Green sits Brasserie Du Parc. Their salads and sandwiches hit the spot for lunch, but for something heartier, go for their Plats Principaux. Call for order and pickup.

Completely unassuming and completely delicious. Julie’s French Pastries may not be a household name in Houston, but it should be. Check out their menu online, and then call to order. 

During these stressful times, we’ve been known to look to cake for coping. There is no better place than Oui Desserts in our opinion. A full selection of French-inspired fare, avaiable through pick up or UberEats. (Seriously, their Oreo cake is…*chef’s kiss*.)

Monuments d’histoire 

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 Houston Pairings “dîner”

With cheese AND wine in the name, you know you can’t go wrong. Order ahead at Montrose Cheese & Wine to put together your perfect pre-dinner dinner with cheese, wine, and other accoutrements.

We love champagne and great deals on champagne, so we also love A’bouzy. Known for its very enjoyable patio (facing Westheimer…how Houston), you can now get their daily specials (already paired with wine) or menu items to go. 

Another great Houston patio (facing Westheimer) restaurant is doing pick up and delivery daily. Brasserie 19 has fantastic French dishes and a wide selection of wine and bubbles. Go ahead, treat yourself to that bottle of Dom!

Artisans has been quietly doing its thing in Midtown for years, and we’ve always thought it was special. Their French-inspired food is available for pick up and delivery via GrubHub.

Cooking at home but need to amp up your drink game? Look no further than the experts at Houston Wine Merchant. They’re knowledgeable and will suggest the best things over the phone. They recently introduced us to Mesnil champagne that we now consider our “house.” Call or order online to pick up.  


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. 

For a very British summer-y cocktail to ease the days indoors, opt for a refreshing Pimm’s cup or a bubbly-blackberry Bramble

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