The greatest city on Earth
Well, the best I’ve been to anyway. Disclamer: my full intention of this post [and the few to come] is to make you all fall madly in love, and then hire me as your tour guide 🙂
I had a mad dose of nostalgia over the weekend and went through all my hundreds of pictures from Paris two summers ago, and I’m missing it. Bad. So let’s take a trip down memory lane shall we? I figured, since I lived there, I can give you all some insight into where you should go and what you should do. You all have a separate savings account for a Eurotrip ya?
For a little background, I lived in Paris for 4 weeks during the summer of 2009 studying architecture and urban planning, then 1 week was spent traveling around nearby France. Not a bad deal. If you’re going to study urban planning, Paris is the place to do it. Ever been to D.C.? Yeah, it was based off of Paris. Ditto for our metro system. I don’t think I can say enough good things about this place, but really you wont be able to appreciate it unless you go there end experience it for yourself [tax returns anyone??].
How about for this first post I lay out a good sight-seeing filled day? Awesome? Awesome.
First up: Trocadéro.
In a little apartment with 3 other girls, this was ma maison for 4 weeks. Our prize was a direct view of the Eiffel Tower every morning when we took the metro to class/what have you. Very residential, but it has it’s merits. Like, say, being within walking distance of the Champs de Mars for afternoon picnics complete with bottles of wine, fresh cheese, and fruit from the street stand. Perfection.
It also made the Bois de Boulogne a great morning run many days of the week. Another great one was heading down to the Seine and running along the river. I think I ran everyday while I was in Paris- never got tired of the views. Fun fact: the Parisians NEVER dress down. Not even for their morning runs. I felt under-dressed. Who wears Polo shirts on a run!?
Next: the two islands, Île de la Cité and Île Saint Louis.
Not to be overlooked, they are small but amazing. Often, if I had a free weekend or afternoon I would wander around the islands with friends and gelato. Sure, there is Notre Dame [try and go for a Sunday mass, it’s beautiful], but there is also Place Dauphine, Sainte-Chapelle, and cute shops. Just walk around, explore, observe. It’s great for a morning or afternoon because the islands are so small and you can walk from one to another very easily.
Walk across one of the many bridges [or take the metro- it’s excellent] back to the right bank and head to the Rue de Rivoli. It is the epitome of Parisian urban planning. Long sight lines, repetitive, autonomous architecture. Thanks Napoleon. This picture look familiar?
As you stroll under the covered walkway, you will soon come across the infamous Louvre. If your trip happens to fall in the beginning of the month: you can go for free! Many museums [including le louvre] offer free admission on the first Sunday of the month. Considering its usually about $15 admission, it’s a great deal. Either way- go early. It’s packed. Warning: don’t expect to get a close-up view of the Mona Lisa.
Once you’re done navigating the museum, don’t forget to walk through the Tuileries [yes, more walking]. It’s a beautiful garden, and also a great spot for a quick nap if your feet need a break.
Next: Arc de Triumph/Champs Elysees
To get to the top you have to walk underneath the traffic circle and then once you’re in the center, prepare yourself for some more climbing. The view at the top is worth it though:
Just consider all of this walking and climbing as an excuse to eat a lot of pastries. The patisseries in Paris are all. over. the. place. I wouldn’t go to one in the more touristy areas- they’re often overpriced and not great quality. Ones I loved the most were hidden in back streets near the Marais area [more on that later]. Expect to pay 2-3 euros/treat, or more if you decide to go to Ladurée for a macaroon. I’ll admit it: I did. It was delicious too. I say go for it- who knows when you’ll be in Paris again!
By now you’re legs will probably be tired, and I’m tired of typing. So go wander some streets, find a cute café for dinner, and take the metro home. The Parisians love to party too so after a siesta [they normally don’t go out until 11 or 12] I would recommend venturing back out to the Latin Quarter. That place is FUN. If you want more of an ex-pat place to go there are several Aussie bars [called Café Oz] throughout the city that have a lot of Americans. Pick your poison 🙂