I had been thinking of going to Paris for a very long time, but sadly due to studying abroad (and studying online with a foreign University) most of my trips in the past couple of years have been to the UK. This year I rebelled. I did not go to my Masters graduation in London and instead booked 2 flights to Paris, found a nice hotel and that’s that. I did visit Paris when I was 12, but back then I was more interested in spending 3 days in Disneyland. This time round, Disneyland was one of the least exciting things on my to-do list.
My priority when going on holiday is food. Yes I love sight seeing, shopping, events and museums, but I love them because I know that afterwards I’ll be getting local food. Let me tell you, thank God I did a lot of walking in Paris, because if I hadn’t done so, I would have come back to Malta with an extra 10 kilos or so.. but before I start yapping on about food, I’m going to show you my Paris pictures in the form of an informal guide.. so if you’re planning on visiting Paris yourself, I’ll spare you some embarrassing moments, time wasting, and perhaps a blister or two
Before going to Paris, a lot of my friends told me to walk a lot and explore the city, and “take good walking shoes with you”. To some extent I agree, but if you’re like me i.e. not used to wearing walking shoes / trainers.. it will give you even more blisters. This is what worked for me in the summer: trainers + extra sandals in my bag. I ALWAYS change my shoes halfway through my trips.. my feet seem to like it for some reason… Problem is it took me a while to come up with this formula, so I got really bad blisters on my feet (some are still healing after a month!), and the below picture from Jardin Du Luxembourg is a sweet reminder that I was sitting because I couldn’t walk anymore, and I still had a long way back to my hotel room.
Jardin De Luxembourg is a beautiful park in Southern Paris. It’s in the Montparnasse district (where our hotel was located) so we only had about a 20 minute walk to get there. Recommended for a Sunday stroll where a lot of shops in Paris are closed (although we did find a couple of shops open at Quatre Temps which is the massive La Défense shopping centre. There is a Michael Kors store in Quatre Temps, so I helped myself to a bag So yes, that’s a picture of me with my newly purchased Michael Kors bag. See how I’m holding it? Ain’t noone’s gonna take it away from me! ;D so that was the most expensive accessory I got in Paris.. which brings me to my second point:
If (like me) you’re a lover of vintage clothing, do your research before going to Paris. Most vintage shops are spread around Paris so you’ll end up taking a lot of Metros just to find one (crappy) shop.. The best I’ve found were ‘Omaya’ and the general Montmartre vintage shops. ‘Omaya’ has a great selection and the prices are very reasonable. There are also a couple of ‘concept stores’ in Paris, you know the ones that sell cool accessories that don’t actually have a use.. At first these shops seem really awesome but you soon start to realise that they all sell similar stock.. so watch out for the prices.. A popular one is Colette that is located in the popular Rue Rivoli. So much cool stuff to look at but I ended up not buying anything from there because you do have to stop yourself and think ‘Do I really need / want this?’ Often times the answer is no, and I’d rather spend my cash on food
My partner is obsessed with comics and figures and the first thing we spotted on Rue Daguerre was a comic store, just opposite our hotel! Unfortunately most of the comics were in French, but fortunately I fell in love with two illustrated books One of which was a bit expensive, but I tend to buy things on impulse, and whether or not they give me inner joy (cheesy I know, but that’s how I spend my cash these days.. exception when it comes to clothing) and well these books were both funny and creative, so I had to have them. I also picked two mini books for some friends of mine.
Food, glorious food! Here are some food snaps. I felt silly taking pictures of my food, but I put my pride aside because I wanted a clear memory of my food because I LOVE my food. Thank God I did because I find myself looking at these pictures over and over, and also looking for recipes to see how I can replicate the Confit du Canard and the Tartare de Beouf, unfortunately they both take quite a while to put together.. Because food is just generally really good in Paris, and I have no control over my consumption of delicious food (but I’m also an organisation freak) I wanted to plan my food intake to eat as much as I could without feeling guilty. The plan was to have salads / split platters during the day (along with a glass of wine of course, to make it exciting, and an espresso to get me back on the go) lots of walking, and a decent meal in the evening. I actually lost a bit of weight on this ‘diet’ probably because I don’t walk as much in Malta.
As you can see, most of my food intake was done in the Montparnasse area, specifically at Rue Daguerre. I did eat at other places around Paris, of course, but just remember that the closer you get to the attractions, the more expensive the food gets, and if it’s a touristy place, the worse the quality becomes. Always check to see if a restaurant is filled with tourists or locals, it gives you an idea of whether it’s going to be good or not. My chosen touristy restaurant of choice was going to be one on the Eiffel Tower, and then ‘Le Train Bleu’ but ended up being ‘Montparnasse 1900′ that instantly got to me with its beautiful Art Nouveau decorations. Set menu is 35 Euros (without the wine) and the food is very good (besides my Crème brûlée which was a bit burnt)
The Eiffel Tower
There’s something magical about the Eiffel Tower that makes tourists like yours truly, walk the 45 minutes from their hotel just a few minutes after arriving to Paris (rather than say, settle in one’s room or have a little nap) to the direction of the tower. It does become a bit of a game.. walking for a few minutes and spotting the tower, then walking for a bit more and it’s gone.. looking at one’s map and walk a bit more – hah there it is again, bigger this time! When you do get to it, you take a few picture (more like 50..) and then you’re tired, hungry and you’re not sure what to do. There are quite a lot of tips from people online for cheaper places to rest and eat around the tower. We opted instead for a metro back home and dinner closer to our hotel (It’s nicer, cheaper and you’re not surrounded by tourists).
Well I suppose it does deserve its own section, mostly because it’s the subject of 50% of Tumblr posts..
I didn’t want to go to Disneyland because I’m not much of a theme park lover, but Mark convinced me to go for just one day, it was only a train away anyway, so we did! We ended up leaving at 2pm because of 4 reasons mainly:
1. Disneyland is stuck in the 90s
2. All the shops have exactly the same stock, EXACTLY
3. You can get mostly junk food that tastes bad and that is also overpriced
Nonetheless, when you get to Disneyland, the child in you does become excited, and you unknowingly start taking pictures like the crazy tourist that you are…