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The Departure: Paris

By Lotuff Leather

The most recognizable and celebrated city in France, Paris is the ultimate tourist destination for many. Others purposely avoid it just for that reason, as they don't feel it's "authentic" enough and would rather experience something more unique. Much more than just the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, however, Paris is a cultural melting pot and a superbly diverse locale with the power to charm every sort of person, even the most resistant curmudgeon. 

Instead of hanging around the tourist attractions, drop by the Marais district in the 3rd arrondissement, the former neighborhood of Victor Hugo and John Galliano alike. It's hip and has great architecture. But beyond that, the Marais also has amazing falafels. The most well known is L'As du Falafel, but the countless other cafes lining the streets are just as good, and often less crowded. 

Later, follow in the footsteps of countless film students and see an independent film at the grungy and stylish 5th arrondissement Cinema du Pantheon, which has been in operation since 1907. It's widely recognized as the first in the world to popularize foreign films as shown in their original language without voiceovers. 

Finally, admire the quirky piece of modern art that is the Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou, inspired by such works as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Bring the Tripp along with you as the lightweight, hold-it-all bag that won't be a burden as you pass through each arrondissement. 

 - Liz Silvia