Experience Paris Without Leaving The U.S.

Drink wine, taste cheese and practice the language of love, all right here at home

Step back in time at the French Quarter, the oldest section of New Orleans.

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A major European city known for romance, high fashion and, of course, champagne, Paris could set you back a few thousand dollars, easily. But we’ve got some ideas of how you can experience Paris on a budget! You don’t have to leave the U.S. to get a truly Parisian experience—one that’ll leave you with a lifetime of France-inspired memories, and without a hole in your pocket. Trade the hefty price tag of overseas travel for local joie de vivre in these four cities with experiences so chic and magical, you might just forget you’re still in the States.

Delve into architecture and culture in New Orleans, Louisiana

Say oui, oui to a weekend stay in the French Quarter. Established by the French in 1718, the oldest section in the city of New Orleans is also known as the Vieux Carré and combines French Colonial architecture with Southern charm. Stroll through tree-lined squares filled with tarot readers, painters and solo jazz musicians. Peruse French Market, which has been around since the 18th century, and enjoy a glass (or a bottle) of champagne outdoors. Entertain your inner thespian with a show at Le Petit Theatre. The stage dates back to the early 20th century and is the oldest continually operated theater in the U.S.

Eat, drink and wander the streets in Winter Park, Florida

Florida may not come to mind when you think of France, but the pastries at New General in Winter Park will change your mind.

France in Florida may sound like a long shot, but the cobblestone streets, authentic French food and charming little shops in Winter Park, less than 20 minutes north of Orlando, would invoke true appreciation and nostalgia in any Paris lover. Chez Vincent offers traditional French cuisine—owner Vincent Gagliano has worked as a chef since his teenage days in France and opened his own place in Winter Park in 1997. With a full coffee bar, a fresh food cafe and a carefully curated selection of clothing, books and accessories, New General is reminiscent of a French market. And for those Florida locals and/or creatures of habit, there’s always the France pavilion at Epcot in Orlando. Hotels in Winter Park and the area near the amusement park will put you in touch with a waterfront similar to the Seine, flower carts and, of course, more French food and coffee.

Delight in Parisian pastries in Charlotte, North Carolina

Featuring several locations in the Charlotte area (as well as a shop in Atlanta, Georgia), Amelié’s is laid-back, inexpensive and still authentic. At this bohemian bakery the decor is cozy and the staff welcoming—lounge around with a café au lait and a (twice baked!) chocolate croissant or grab some macarons to go. Serving Parisian pastries minus the attitude, this bakery is open 24/7 and, according to one Zagat review, is a must-visit during your stay in Charlotte. The reviewer described it as an “old French bakery shop transport[ed] to North Carolina.”

Venture off the beaten path in New York, New York

You might do a double take when you see the Washington Square Arch in New York City. It’s modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

New York City, in parts, feels very European thanks to its massive cathedrals, Victorian architecture and pedestrian lifestyle. Greenwich Village, or “the Village,” is a cafe-and-boutique-dotted area in the city that’s been referred to as an artists’ haven—and compared to Paris’ Montmartre—for decades. At the center of the community is Washington Square Arch (located in the neighborhood’s Washington Square Park), a monument modeled after Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. Plan on staying in a nearby New York City hotel so you can hang out and people-watch on a bench or head to Aedes for a Parisian-style perfumery experience. They say scent is the strongest memory trigger; find a quintessentially French fragrance and let it carry you away to a place of nostalgia, daydreams and the Eiffel Tower.

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