All the things people say about Paris are true yet there is no way to adequately convey the feelings this city invokes. Pictures and descriptions will never do it justice. Paris is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, ranging from food to architecture to the language being spoken around you.
My top 5 things to do in Paris:
(1) Walk around Montmartre: Do you consider yourself a bohemian? Dabbled in poetry, painting, or tell people that “yeah, I play the guitar pretty well”? Have a man-bun or man-ponytail? Then this is the spot for you. juuust kidding (sort of). Home of the French Bohemian Revolution, Montmartre was the old stomping grounds for Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, and other impoverished artists of the time. The Moulin Rouge is here as well and yes, I did sing every song from the movie, both going there and on my way home. If you’re lazy like us, take a cab up to the top of Montmartre to visit the Basilica of the Sacre Couer for a beautiful view of the city. Don’t leave Paris without dinner and a stroll in Montmartre.
(2) Visit Musee d’Orsay: Lesser known museum than the Louvre, the structure of Musee d’Orsay is that of an old railroad station, Gare d’Orsay, turned museum. I got there around lunchtime & waited in line and found it extremely worthwhile. Home to many paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (my all-time favorite artist, quite the character), Monet, Manet, Renoir, Courbet, Chavannes, & Seurat. Well worth the 8.50 student price.
(3) Use the BatoBus as a form of public transport: The BatoBus is a river boat that cruises down the Seine, making 8 different stops in various areas of Paris, including Champs-Elysees, Tour Eiffel & Notre Dame. It’s easy, fast, and purchasing one ticket lasts you the entire day. They also seem to have an attractiveness standard when hiring because every captain and crew member was good-looking…
,(4) Explore Le Marais: Part of the reason I think I enjoyed Paris so much is because I chose places to walk, eat and explore that drew less of a crowd than the huge landmarks. The Eiffel Tower is cool but you literally can’t walk around in Paris with your eyes open and not see it and to me, seeing it from afar is good enough. Instead get lost in neighborhoods such as Le Marais, on the Right Bank of the Seine. A largely Jewish area of town as well as home to many gay bars and clothing boutiques, Le Marais has beautiful winding streets with courtyards to peek into and restaurants down each little alley. Eat at L’Ilot Vache, a two-woman show with one of the best restaurant atmospheres I have ever been in.
(5) Eat whatever you want, whenever you want: Two words: Parisian food. I probably ate every 2 hours in Paris and I’m not sure why or how that was possible but I have never visited a city where every single restaurant I ate at served above average food. Without doing research or asking anyone, we would stop into little brasseries and restaurants and did not have one bad meal. The American style of eating, especially for women, has so much guilt and worry attached to it. I can’t remember the last time I ate toast with Brie cheese and jam, a cappuccino with full-fat milk and a chocolate croissant for breakfast and not felt terrible about it for the rest of the morning. So in Paris, unless you’re walking the Victoria’s Secret fashion show next month or just underwent gastric bypass surgery, dive headfirst into the baskets of French bread, chocolate croissants and crepes, barrels of red wine and cafe au laits and not think twice about. You didn’t do Paris right unless you’re wearing sweatpants on your way out because GOD KAREN SWEATPANTS ARE THE ONLY THING THAT FITS ME RIGHT NOW.
Note: We involuntarily skipped the Louvre because it’s closed on Tuesdays and we went on a Tuesday. However, it is known to be an all-day sort of thing & a massive crowd draw so go at opening to avoid them.
I found that the idea of Parisians being unfriendly towards tourists to be generally untrue. There were people who were not warm but for every one of them, there was another person who was helpful and kind. There was no comparison to Londoners (they’re the best) in terms of the affability of the people, but don’t let the stereotype of the stuck-up, cold Parisian deter you from visiting. Paris is a warm, delicate, romantic, comfortable city and most importantly, stocked with delicious cheeses.