Arrondissements, or neighborhoods, in Paris are numbered beginning with 1 and rising to 20. They spiral out from the center, like an escargot shell, until the city fades into oblivion, or rather, the infamous banlieues (suburbs). Having spent my Wonder Years in numerous boring bedroom communities, I prefer to be in the heart of the city, particularly the lst arrondissement, known as Le Marais. Named after the marshes that were drained during the 10th century, this historic gem was neglected by urban planners for centuries. As a result, sumptuous hôtels particuliers, or townhouse palaces, continue to thrive, and the streets are frighteningly narrow. Gus Van Sant directed a romantic vignette in Paris Je T'Aime about a guy who falls for a handsome stranger in a print shop in this tony enclave. The Louvre, the Jardin des Tuileries, and the Palais Royal all call Le Marais home, and I wouldn't mind doing the same. Plenty of pricey apartments are available for vacation rentals, especially along the Rue de Richelieu. Reader's Digest is giving away $19,500, which is enough to cover a few months in a charming flat, like the ones you've cooed over in movies. Digest the opportunity and enter.
Voilà - the link to the Reader's Digest Sweepstakes: