Why You Should Go to Paris This Fall

Those who love Paris know there’s never truly a bad time to visit the city. But if art and culture are on your list of things to experience in the French capital, fall is the best time to visit, with a particularly exciting lineup of exhibits on the calendar this year. Added incentives: a colorful new hotel from a beloved food shop, the hottest cocktail bar of the moment, and a pedestrian-friendly initiative in the city center. 

Walk through the city center sans voitures

Parts of Paris have been car-free for the first Sunday of the month since Mayor Anne Hidalgo introduced the “Paris Breathes” initiative in 2016 to improve air quality in the city. Starting on October 7,  the four neighborhoods that make up Paris’s city center on the Right Bank (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th arrondissements) began taking part. This means you can now walk, rollerblade, ride a bike, or scooter from Place des Vosges over to the Louvre and up to the Paris Opera between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. the first Sunday of every month without having to worry about traffic getting in the way. paris.fr/parisrespire

The Frank Gehry–designed Fondation Louis Vuitton is hosting two major exhibits featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele this fall.

See Jean-Michel Basquiat and Egon Schiele at Fondation Louis Vuitton

From October 3, 2018, to January 14, 2019, the Fondation Louis Vuitton is hosting separate exhibitions from two of the 20th century’s most influential artists: Jean-Michel Basquiat from the later end and Egon Schiele from the beginning. Spanning four levels of the building, the Basquiat exhibit features 120 works from the New York painter, including collaborations between Basquiat and Warhol. The first show in Paris for 25 years solely dedicated to Schiele’s career includes around 100 drawings, paintings, and gouaches from the Viennese artist who helped define the early expressionist movement. One ticket gets you into both exhibits. 8 avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne,  €16 (US$18), fondationlouisvuitton.fr

Sip cocktails at Cravan

This café that opened in the quiet 16th arrondissement in June 2018 gets its name from Arthur Cravan, the Swiss poet-boxer who was not only Oscar Wilde’s nephew but also hailed as a precursor of dadaism. Go in the evening to work your way through the extensive cocktail menu at the zinc-top bar, or grab a café table in the morning to admire the antique mirrors over coffee and eggs. It serves a simple menu of bar food every day from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., plus a weekend roast on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 17 Rue Jean de la Fontaine, instagram.com/cravanparis

A suite at the newly-opened Fauchon L’Hotel

Check into the new hotel from Fauchon

Fans of the Technicolor pastries and hot pink decor of the gourmet food store Fauchon can now spend the night in the first Fauchon L’Hotel, which opened in September 2018 in the company’s original 1886 headquarters just on the other side of Place de la Madeleine from its current store. Each room is decorated in a similar style to the shop and also includes a rose-gold mini bar stocked with Fauchon snacks and pastries customized to your tastes (salty, sweet, healthy, or all three, if you’d like). 4 Boulevard Malesherbes, hotel-fauchon-paris.fr

See Karl Lagerfeld’s debut sculpture exhibition

You may know Karl Lagerfeld as the creative director of the Chanel and Fendi fashion houses, but from October 19 to December 22, 2018, you can see his first foray into sculpture at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery in the Marais. Architectures features a series of fountains, lamps, and tables inspired by Greek antiquity and carved out of rare white and black marbles. 54 Rue de la Verrerie, carpentersworkshopgallery.com

Vistors at Paris Photo in the Grand Palais, 2014.

Explore the Paris Photo art fair

Every November since 1997, collectors and enthusiasts alike congregate at the Grand Palais for Paris Photo, one of the world’s largest art fairs dedicated to photography, which takes place this year between November 8 and November 11, 2018. You can choose to wander through more than 180 gallery spaces and exhibitions on your own, or sign up for a free guided tour to get an insider’s look into the fair. Grand Palais Paris, Avenue Winston Churchill, from €30 (US$34), parisphoto.com

>> Next: Plan Your Trip with AFAR’s Guide to Paris

AFAR Travel https://www.afar.com/magazine/why-you-should-go-to-paris-this-fall


You Can Pay to Attend a Traditional Wedding in India

Indian weddings are known for their vibrant decor, elaborate song and dance, symbolic rituals, and overall opulence. Attending one of the colorful ceremonies is among the most authentic cultural experiences a foreigner can have while visiting India. But the extensive festivities aren’t just spirited—they’re intimate, which is why not just anyone gets a spot on the guest list.

Now, a startup company called Join My Wedding is making it easier than ever for travelers to score an invite—er, buy a ticket—to one of the traditional celebrations in India. And while it might sound like an invasion of privacy to purchase space at a stranger’s nuptials, attendees can rest assured that the hosts are on board with the situation because it’s the couple-in-love actually offering up the tickets to take part in their big day.

How Join My Wedding works

Couples in India who are interested in hosting travelers at their wedding ceremonies can share details about their upcoming event on Join My Wedding’s website. From there, the listing will appear to international visitors who are searching for traditional Indian wedding ceremonies taking place during their trip in the areas they’re planning to visit.

Once travelers purchase tickets to a wedding ceremony, they can connect with the “host couple” to introduce themselves and ask any necessary questions. Most of the funds from the ticket sales go to the happy couple, but Join My Wedding does, of course, take a cut.

The concept does in some ways feel slightly uncomfortable, but the idea behind it is intended to be inspiring. According to cofounder Orsi Parkanyi, Join My Wedding’s founding purpose is to facilitate the sharing of culture by “connecting people through life events.”

“If you think about it, there’s nothing more cultural than a wedding,” Parkanyi says. “The local people, local food, customs, the outfit, the music—basically every cultural element is right there.”

Because many traditional Indian weddings take place over more than one day, travelers can choose to attend just the ceremony itself (from $150), or opt to partake in several other ceremonial rituals over the course of a few extra days. Among these additional ceremonies is the Mehndi, a henna party of extreme Hindu significance in which artists paint the bride and her relatives with the ancient body art designs (from $250).

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It’s not hard to understand why travelers would want to experience the joy of attending a traditional Indian wedding ceremony—the beautiful rituals; the colorful fabrics and flowers; the flavorful cuisine; the familial hospitality. The more puzzling aspect of this arrangement might be: Why would couples actually want to host strangers at their marriage ceremonies? 

Some hosts might be inspired to open up their weddings as a way to expose non-Indian people to a rich side of the country’s culture. Others might simply want to gain back some of their wedding expenses. But when travelers have the opportunity to experience a collection of India’s richest traditions among the locals who keep those rituals alive, an invaluable cultural exchange takes place.

And that’s cause for celebration in and of itself.

>>Next: The Extraordinary Confessions of an International Wedding Crasher

AFAR Travel https://www.afar.com/magazine/you-can-pay-to-attend-a-traditional-wedding-in-india