Embrace their bohemian attitude to life and get lost in this fantastic city.
All the cliches are true – Paris is always a good idea. No, actually it’s not a good idea.
It’s a freaking fabulous one.
I don’t understand how anyone could hate Paris. It is one of the most charming cities I have ever visited and there are so many ‘awww’ moments that make you think how did they get it so right? From the food, their style and even their supermarkets I can honestly say I love Paris.
Sleep in on Sundays, the rest of Paris does. However there are benefits to getting up early on this day. If you are an early riser, head over to Le Marais and skip the queues. Once everyone else is up you’ll hate yourself when you start to see the lines sneaking out the door. I loved Le Marais – a clash of modern and traditional. If you come across L’Eclair de Genie, get an eclair. Get many eclairs. You and your waistline won’t regret it.
My highlights and hints:
- Do visit all the landmarks – the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Lourve, Musee D’Orsay, the Jardins, Arc de Triomphe etc. Don’t spend thousands going to Paris and miss out on these modern day wonders. You’ll kick yourself later.
- Visit the Eiffel Tower at night for the best photos but during the day for actual sightseeing. Only walk if you’re prepared for a lovely (long) walk by the river.
- Unless you are fluent in French and general French history, invest in audio guides. They don’t cost that much and will improve your visits to museums etc by 250 per cent. I didn’t get an audio guide for the Lourve and probably missed out on pretty much the whole point of the Lourve.
- Speaking of fluency in French, do learn some French. A little goes a long way. The most handy phrase I used was ‘je no parle Francais’ (I don’t speak French) – works a lot better than giving the sales assistant a confused look when she asks you in French if you need any assistance. Also, a cheery ‘bonjour/bonsoir’ and ‘au revoir’ works wonders. I recommend Duolingo for a great language learning app, and the Coffee Break podcasts for conversational French.
- Eat the snails, the frogs legs (Roger la Grenouille on Rue des Grands Augustins in the Latin Quarter is a winner), foie gras, croissants (as many as you can) and even the duck gizzards – don’t waste this opportunity!
- When visiting Versailles, pay for the golf buggy when you get to the gardens. You’ll curse yourself when you’ve only reached the first section of the garden and realise there’s another four or so to go and you’re already exhausted. They’re expensive, but so worth it and they’re a bit of fun too!
- Sleep in on Sundays, the rest of Paris does. However there are benefits to getting up early on this day. If you are an early riser, head over to Le Marais and skip the queues. Once everyone else is up you’ll hate yourself when you start to see the lines sneaking out the door. I loved Le Marais – a clash of modern and traditional. If you come across L’Eclair de Genie, get an eclair. Get many eclairs. You and your waistline won’t regret it.
- You’d be a fool if you don’t visit Montmartre – go see the Sacre-Couer and Moulin Rouge. Get lost in Montmartre, it really is as pretty as all the guidebooks say. And SO MANY PATISSERIES. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the patisserie (one of those artisan ones) but I had the best caramel eclair in my life that I still dream of it.
- On the topic of sweet things, you have to have a cornet from Amorino – they’re served in the shape of roses but make sure you get a female server, the men tend to be a bit stingey with their servings!
- If you enter a French pharmacy hoping to find a cool French beauty product, be prepared to be upsold at every opportunity. I was told, very diplomatically, that I could improve my skin by purchasing a range of products. Being the vain person I am, I caved and walked away with 187 euros worth of cleanser, serum, moisturing cream… oops.*
- Take a moment to browse the stalls along the Seine. They do have some pretty cool stuff. I purchased a Chanel advertisement print I’d been wanting for only 10 euros, and an interesting conversation with the vendor about his vintage Playboy collection!
- Most importantly, just enjoy the moment! You’re in Paris! Embrace their bohemian attitude to life and get lost in this fantastic city. Try everything and be friendly – I promise the Parisians will reciprocate with just as much gusto.
*I have only just started my new skincare routine so will report in three months if I start to become prettier.