Oh bonjours Paris! Paris is a magical city that people often dream about. Whenever you’re talking to anyone about Europe, more often than not they will say something along the lines of “oh you NEED to go visit Paris. The Eiffel Tower. The baguettes. The cheese. THE WINE!”. They aren’t wrong: Paris truly is a fantastic city that is aesthetically beautiful and has some of the best food in the world. My history with the French capital is slightly different than most. My first trip to Paris wasn’t a romantic escapade but rather a storyline that followed closest to the plot of Eat, Pray, Love. I had just ended a two year relationship and my trip to London and Paris was a way for me to find myself again. It truly did help as I came back home feeling refreshed and reborn in a certain way. However my second trip to the city was done the traditional way, with my heart mate.
This marked the third trip to Paris for Andrew but he always felt like he didn’t visit the city properly the first two times so we aimed to rectify things this time around. Of course, we had to do the usual tourist attractions: going to the Louvre (with the addition of eating at Le Café Marly this time), walking under the Eiffel Tower at night and seeing it sparkle in all of its glory and going around L’Arc De Triomphe. I am not always the biggest fan of tourist attractions but there is definitely a reason as to why they are so popular with visitors right? On this trip, I also managed to go to Le Musée D’Orsay which had been on my bucket list for quite some time now. Seeing the works of Degas in the flesh truly was a dream come true. While we are on the subject of dreams coming true, we also sneaked in a day at Disneyland Paris for Andrew’s birthday. The two parks are roughly the same size as the original Anaheim location and they were equally fun. Needless to say that I left with yet another pair of Mickey ears on my head.
While we just talked about all the things that everyone coming to Paris wants to do, let’s also talk about the things that you should do as a visitor. Of course, the idea of shopping on Champs Elysée or Gallerie Lafayette might sound like fun but be warned that those popular locations are often jam packed with shoppers. Paris is a fantastic shopping city and you do not have to stick to those two locations to find great fashion pieces. if you are looking for a department store, opts for the equally great Bon Marché or even the beautiful Printemps which is location right next to Gallerie Lafayette. Printemps also recently opened a couple of new food floors that are absolutely breathtaking, culmination in Peruche, the rooftop restaurant that offers a stunning view of the city. Other great spots to shop at are Rue St.Honore which is close to the original Chanel boutique at Rue Cambon and Avenue Montaigne, home of the original Dior (although they just opened a stunning new store right next to the Arc de Triomphe now).
Food wise, Paris often had the bad reputation of being expensive. While it is true that eating out in the city can be expensive (especially in the touristy areas), there are also lots of amazing spots in the city. Big Love and Pink Mamma are two of my favourite Italian restaurants in the city and if you head over to Le Marais, you will find some delicious food spots including BREIZH café which is an export from Brittany. There you’ll be able to enjoy a galette de Sarasin along with a good bottle of crisp cider (trust me, you want to make the detour here). Our favourite French restaurant on this trip turned out to be a small bistro that we went to on our very last night with some friends from Montreal who were also visiting. Bistrot Victoires is located in the 2nd arrondissement close to Palais Royale and had huge portions and it was all very well priced. The funny thing about Paris is that you can sometimes get a glass of wine for cheaper than anything else on the drinks menu so I’d recommend skipping the aqua in favour of the vino.
There’s plenty more to do in the city but at the end of the day, I’d suggest just putting your phone down and strolling through the city. Paris is one of those cities where I don’t mind getting lost (although not at night as it can be quite a dangerous city as well). So just dress up, head over to a cafe, grab coffee and a croissant and just see la vie en rose.