When we were planning our European tour, Paris was not high on our list. In fact, I had always thought of Paris as being a bit cheesy. The Eiffel tower emblem is hugely overused (found on many a keychain, tshirt, or notebook cover) , but we just sorted of wanted to tick it off our bucket list.
Boy were we in for a surprise! As it turns out, Paris is the one place that I would so LOVE to be able to live! There is truly a special magic about it that you can’t quite explain. A je ne sais quoi.
Paris. Well dressed women walking down the street in perfectly put together, yet effortless outfits, bed head hair, and rouge lips. À la mode. Men in dark tailored suits riding motorcycles to work. Bakeries which beckon you with the most delicious smell of croissants and baguettes as you walk by. Flower shops – Fleuriste. Parks full of people relaxing, drinking wine – du vin, and chatting in french (bien sûr!). A city from which muses such as Jane Birkin, Bridgette Bardot, and Jeanne Damas hail. Street markets (marché de rue) – full of fresh juicy fruits, every kind of fish or squid you can imagine, and anything you could ever want to cook with. Watch as a lady will ask the man behind the fruit for what she wants, he will ask her when she will be eating it, or what she will be cooking with it, and he will select the Crème de la crème for her needs, and she will stow it in her market basket.( Did you know it is uncouth to select your own fruit, in France?) Lovely white appartements everywhere, balcons overlooking the city, the Tour Eiffel in the distance. That is Paris.
(View of the Eiffel Tour from the Arc de Triumph)
(View from atop the Eiffel Tour of the Arc de Triumph)
Paris is a place where you really do want to visit the classics, but don’t do it like the typical tourist. Here’s a few ways to do things a bit differently. Buy a french shopping basket at a little general store. Go to a street market and bakery, and fill your basket with scrumptious things to eat. Paris is full of lovely communal places, and the locals picnic at almost all of the best spots. The gardens of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tour, along the Seine River, the Garden’s of Luxembourg, for instance! As for the secret of the best place to see the Eiffel Tour sparkle at sunset? Climb the Arches de Triumph in time to see it and the landscape of Paris shimmering in the day’s last rays. A great way to take home some vintage french souvenirs, visit the french flea market first thing in the morning!
Le Marias is FULL of amazing restaurant and stores and bursting with energetic young people and creativity. Le Marias is the only place in Paris that you will see vintage jeans worn (jeans are too casual for Parisians in other places!) Wonder around here to get inspired! You can’t help but find shops that make your soul happy if you just walk along. I was excited to step foot into my first Acme store here, as well as many others.
Stay: The best way to understand the neighborhoods (Arrondissements) Paris is as a giant snell shape, with the first neighborhood in the center, and the numbers going up as it spirals outwards. Arrondissements 1-8 are best to stay in when you visit the city of Paris, because they were be near to the sites you want to see! Better to stay closer to the attraction, and you will spend more time enjoying the city and less time traveling. Maybe even enable you to walk to some of the attraction, a great way to be able to observe more of the culture of Paris. Real Parisians walk a great deal. We had a lovely stay in this airbnb.
Take a Picnic! We were planning to go to a fancy restaurant this evening, but instead took a picnic by the Seine for 13 euros and it was one of the best experiences!
Versailles: So worth the trip! Budget most of a day for it! And do my a favor and get a vanilla ice-cream when you are there – on of the yummiest of my life!
Gardens Of Luxembourg: If I lived in Paris, I’d be hanging out here all the time! It’s the most pleasant place, full of cute little kiddos floating boats and people doing yoga, reading in the sunshine, or chatting with a friend!
On our way to the gardens, we stopped for breakfast at this place called Judy. It is delicious and right next door to the gardens, and some serious design inspo as well!
Eiffel Tour: When you go, stop by a grocery store and bakery on your way, pick up some good wine, sandwiches, cheeses, fruit, and maybe even macaroons for dessert! Then you will have yourself a sweet little picnic to enjoy while you wait for the lights to start twinkling!
(how it really looks when you visit the Mona Lisa :P)
Arc De Triumph:
I highly recommend, if you are at the right time of year, so see the Eiffel Tour’s first twinkle from atop the Arc de Triumph!
(View of Sacre Couer from Arc de Triumph)
Sacre Couer (meaning Sacred Heart) in Montmarte Neighborhood.
Don’t these fruit look utterly delicious? The street market in Montmarte was full of juicy looking fruits, fresh veggies, all kinds of mushrooms, seafood, and fresh meat. The smells were a treat for your senses! We were so inspired to cook a meal from it all in our little airbnb.
Notre Dame: Stunning! Get ice-cream at the famous Berthillion and then enjoy a walk along the Seine to it!
Street Flea Market: Walking through the street market with coffee & croissant in hand looking at vintage french things was a highlight for me!
I wish I’d mailed this set home!
The cutest, classiest french gentlewoman!
Coutume Cafe is very close to the Flea Market and is so very delicious!
Le Marias: My favorite neighborhood in Paris! You will feel so inspired walking around. Anywhere you walk you will find some amazing shop or restaurant! It’s bustling with young people and the only place in Paris you will see vintage jeans or mom jeans – not dressy enough for Parisians everywhere else!
Eat: Le Marias has some of my favorite spots to eat! A few are:
Marlette: a lovely spot for lunch!
Pinson: best place for a coffee pick me up!
Wild & the Moon: breakfast, lunch, or a good chat!
Restaurant PNY (Paris New York) if you want some delicious Parisienne burgers with style!
(Restaurant PNY) We had to have some french fries when in France!
Some other top choices throughout Paris are:
Broken Arm Cafe
And for fining dining in style? Try L’Alcazar Restaurant!
Well, this is a very full post, but if you decide to go to Paris, I hope it helps! It was very overwhelming to me, figuring it all out for the first time, so maybe this guide will make things easier for you!
*Original Post in Erroguide!
Up Next? Switzerland! Blog post coming next week!!