But back to the city of lights, Paris has so much to offer, so much history, so many romanticized locations, so many literary and historical monuments, really so much life where do you begin?
Paris, Paris, Paris, City of lights, epicentre of art, culture, food, Paris. I have hesitated to write about Paris, thought i have visited twice. Not because I don’t’ love it, I do but how can i possibly do Paris justice? I can’t. Paris can be divisive, people love it or hate it. I fall firmly in the former. I love love love it. Despite its reputation Paris is clean, crazy amazingly beautiful and in my experience, very friendly. Sometimes if I am talking to someone who has outdated stereotypes about Paris, they will sneer ” friendly, are you sure you were in Paris?” Yes I am sure. By the way, the same said people do not like it when you suggest it is their attitude that may be the reason they don’t experience the same level of friendliness. But back to the city of lights, Paris has so much to offer, so much history, so many romanticized locations, so many literary and historical monuments, really so much life where do you begin?
Well it is probably best to begin the first time I saw Paris (the cliches will be endless). My first European trip, I was the most excited about Paris! So excited that I exited the train at the Gare du Nord without a backwards glance and @benton8tor struggled to keep up ( well not really but he wasn’t quite as excited as me). Because we exited the train below ground I was surprised and none to pleased to see a pigeon on this level. Pigeons are my nemesis and by far biggest fear. This was not boding well. It didn’t get better, Gare du Nord was undergoing construction and pigeons were abundant. I was starting to panic. @benton8tor was busy scanning for a place to queue up for a cab. “There’s no time” I say calmly to him, “there’s too many pigeons about.” @benton8tor still maintains I screamed it at him. Regardless I was busy hailing a cab. “that won’t work here”, he tells me ” we have to queue up.” While he is relaying this inaccurate but actually polite information, a cab stops in the centre lane and the driver is beginning to load our bags. I jump in the cab, grateful for the pigeon respite and @benton8tor follows suit, though still gobsmacked. We set off for the Hotel Beaubourg in the Marais district.
This is the point my brain started to function again and I can now give my commendations for Paris Must Dos (according to me).
- Stay in the Marais. Because I love France so much and travel there as frequently as I can, people often assume I am traveling to Paris ( I am not ). So when they decide to travel to Paris they ask me where to stay. Based on my 2 times, I always recommend the Hotel Beaubourg in the Marais. Located right beside the Centre Pompidou, the Hotel Beaubourg is friendly, elegant, and affordable. Our room had a beautiful terrace to sit out and drink wine at the end of the night. http://www.beaubourg-paris-hotel.com/
2. Paris is an art lovers dream. Though it is huge ( and I mean huge) the Lourve is an absolute must do. However be prepared, the Mona Lisa is small and the lineups to see it are huge. Also they do not allow photography and it is imperative to respect that. The Venus de Milo is right there however! The Louvre offers lots to see including the French crown jewels, which you can see up close!! http://www.louvre.fr/en
The Musee D’Orsay located in former train station offers the best opportunity to see the works of the impressionists! And a stunning view of the Sacre Couer from the upstairs window! Musee D’Orsay offers an easy to maneuver, unique experience. I also have a thing for dance so I particularly like the Degas paintings. They also feature lesser known impressionists too. http://www.musee-orsay.fr/en/home.html Don’t miss it. And The Centre Pompidou is an amazing venue for cutting edge art. See both https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en
3. Wander around! Paris is a very walk able city and any arrondissement will offer a fabulous array of restaurants, squares, side streets with charm and shopping. My personal favourites are the Marais, The Opera, and the Rue du Rivoli. Walking the Rue St Honore just off the Rue Du Rivoli is a must do. It is Paris’s first upscale shopping street easy to walk and a fabulous place to watch the world go by. I recommend Le Musset a great place for a snack and a drink. The food is delicious and fresh. http://lemusset.paris/categories/share/.
4. Go to Paris Landmark such as Le Dome ( In Montparnasse) not by the Eiffel Tower which is another restaurant entirely and the only sub par restaurant I have ever encountered in Paris. The Famous Le Dome is famous for a reason and worth the visit for the food and the art deco atmosphere. https://menuonline.fr/en/le-dome Cafe De Paix is also worth the visit!http://www.cafedelapaix.fr/en/
5. Sit and watch the world go by. Any of the restaurants in the Ile de Cite offer stunning views of the Notre Dame Cathedral (where you should visit once you are done! both the inside and the outside are exquisite) and good wine selections. If you want food or different views cross the bridge back to the Marais and sit on the patio at Bistrot Marguerite along the Seine. Enjoy a red wine from anywhere in France and some delicious salads and steak http://www.bistrotmarguerite.com/.
We arrived late to Bistrot Marguerite once and they sill seated us, gave recommendation, ensured we enjoyed our food and were very kind. Or walk back the Louvre and cross the street for the Carousel for some pasta, French wine and beer and a super arm welcome! Also you are more likely to eat with Parisians at this spot. https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g187147-d2395201-Reviews-Le_Carrousel-Paris_Ile_de_France.html
6. Finally Visit the Famous Les Halles market. I is amazing and you will be so stoked you did!http://forumdeshalles.com/ And then walk back over to the Pont Neuf and get on a boat for a sunset tour of Paris. Paris from the Seine is beautiful, As well many people relax along the Seine with wine, food and sometimes music. http://www.bateauxparisiens.com/It is a delight and confirms every romantic notion you will have ever had about Paris. Finally get a bus tour. Paris has so much to see the the hop on hop off tours are an excellent way to see the main sites including the bastille, Place du Concorde, Arc de Triumph, Champs Elysees, Sacre Couer, Monmarte, etc…
Paris, I really can’t do it justice but suffice it to say Paris, je t’aime.