Paris is a city having multiple faces, and it just cannot leave you indifferent about it! Staying here for five days was just enough to realize that Paris is way more then an eye of a tourist might see.
I’ve visited Paris before, but it was related to business, more than pleasure. This time, I went there with my life partner Gaitis, who had never visited this wonderful city before and we both jumped in this wonderful adventure of an art, architecture, vine and culture exploring!
PICKING A PLACE TO STAY AT
Of course, it is wonderful if you have a bunch of friends at Paris, to stay at, however, if you do not, Airbnb is a wonderful choice. It is a platform providing you with a list of locals willing to be hosts for you. I find it precious in multiple ways – one of the main perks is that you can find out of places that have not been listed in main tourist guides. The second – it gives you a possibility to cook at home, which can turn out to be a very exciting activity, since it includes visiting the city market, getting to know local Gourmets.
A very huge role playing in this journey is the actual district you stay at. Paris is split in 20 districts, starting from Louvre towards cemetery of Père Lachaise.
Most of the tourists pick first three districts (counting from Louvre side). We were staying at the seventh, which if looked in the map, is just right next to the first one. Even though Eifel Tower is located within this district and therefore could cause a lot of noise, I might describe this district as rather calm.
I might say, that rather wealthy Parisians live within this district. Several madamoiselles and madames were spotted attending dinner dressed very smoothly. The sixth district, which happens to be just around the corner transfers a completely different vibe – a lot more youthful. A number of trendy boutiques were spotted by my eyes as well as concept stores and fresh cocktail bars.
If you truly want to stick around bohemian vibrations, then I highly suggest you to experience the Monmartre, which is located in the district number 18. Numerous art galleries, charming pubs and a lot of rather noisy youngsters very eager to party.
ENJOYING THE FOOD
Paris might be considered one of the main targets for all self aware gourmets. You can get quite dizzy from the wide variety of foods provided. To find the finest dining place within our quartier we used the Foursquare app. I could highly recommend to visit a restaurant Aux Prés, which is mainly Japanese food oriented (thus organic). Food sets containing two or three dishes are provided, accordingly by 34 or 45 euro pricings.
Have to claim, that portions are rather small, however I was very delighted by telling flavors. Thus – one of the best versions of Dark&Stormy cocktail within the city can be found here.
It contains rum, ginger ale and limes juice.
I’d like to express a thank you to my good friends recommending us a very nice place to have a branch at named Eggs&Co, where you can try out the best Eggs Benedict in the town. If you are a burger fan, I would highly recommend you to check out Ralph Lauren’s restaurant Ralph’s. It might be considered kind of costly (a burger costs approximately 30 euros), however, I found it completely worth it – the food was delicious and service was excellent!
An amazing adviser was a guidebook 38HOURS in Paris, that we bought in stylish Colette concept store. Thus guide suggests to avoid crowded places, instead providing information on the greatest French gourmets, especially new age chefs, that are more accessible in terms of price. So we discovered a restaurant Le Pantruche, owned by chef Franck Beranger (though, to get a free table I highly suggest to make a reservation). By paying just 35 euros, you can choose three dishes from the menu, which is more then just enough. I’d consider this place rather outstanding, by providing an opportunity to get to know French cuisine that is rather innovative.
Combined with excellent Chardonnay from Jean-Claude Boisset wine house, visiting Le Pantruche turned out to be a extraordinary experience of flavors.
If talking about must see places in Paris, I would suggest visiting Mini Palais restaurant, which is located within Grand Palaice on Winston Churchill Avenue. This place supervised by Éric Fréchon provides an amazing blend of classical and contemporary French cuisine.
Prices in Mini Palais are extraordinary friendly, taking in consideration the rather impressive interior with a wonderful terrace providing a view to Seine.
Mini Palais isn’t as Mini as its name – I would even say that it contrasts with the sizes of other Paris restaurants A LOT, providing a lot more space. In other places space is rather constricted, the placement of tables is very tight, thus interior isn’t as outstanding.
Though, that kind of environment makes you to focus on what’s on your place instead of the room itself. I should say that Paris is paradise of smokers – you are allowed to smoke in all of the outdoor terraces. Another pros, is that waiters are a very respected profession here, so you can see the difference in the level of service. Nobody is showing disrespect to waiters, not even close – they are considered one of the main people in the room and very much respected. However, even considering this, Parisians consider their kindness just enough of a thanks to leave some extra tip. Exception might be done in a case you are seriously thunderstruck by how delicious your food was.
I should put an accent on insider spots as well, such as La Pallete. Since 1913 all of the creative Parisians are gathering here (it’s unnecessary to say that tourists are hated as much as a tooth ache here). Well, I think a little not so welcoming looks can be tolerated if you can sit by the table Hemingway himself once sit. Another legendary must visit place would be a coffee shop Le Flore, which is considered to be one of the oldest and most prestige of the café’s in Paris. This place was very beloved by French writers and philosophers, and has been recorded in multiple movies and books.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE
If you go to Paris just for a few days, you should not put yourself in a rush and desperately try to visit all the tourist hot-spots. We chose on place worth sightseeing for each day, thus somehow road to it took us to some other worth seeing places.
Just when we walked out of our destined Le Pantruche restaurant we noticed Montmartre just around the corner, on other occasion we bumped into the Arch of Triumph by wandering around the city after coming out of the amazing Palais Galliera. I have to admit that here in Paris, my feet perfectly know where to put the next step to lead us to the most amazing places. Since due to the flood Louvre and d’Orsay museums were closed, we decided to get into modern art instead. We visited Le Musée d’Art moderne, Art Paris Art Fair and approached the art of Pablo Picasso in Musée Picasso.
Huan Yong Ping exposition Empires Art Paris Art Fair.
Mural painting Le Musée d’Art moderne.
Pablo Picasso sculpture Buste le Femme.
I had love to had visited the museum Fondation Luis Vuitton and Centre Pompidou, however this time we did not manage it. My opinion on this is that it is way better to have a relaxed excursion, then a big rush trying to cope with every tourist target possible. A little hack I could suggest if you’re going to Paris – get yourself a press card (even if you have nothing to do with it). Nobody really pays attention which magazine you are representing, however you can get into multiple museums not only without standing in the line, but also without paying a cent. By saving this money you can definitely spend it any other way – like buying a pair of shoes, maybe?
The best way to travel Paris is by feet – I’m serious! Very often the most amazing places are hidden within very small streets. Me and my partner, we walked approximately 15 km a day and saw A LOT! By the help of Google maps (and in SOS cases metro as well) it turned out to be a great adventure!
During the walk through Montmartre, ended up spotting Sacred Hearts Basilica (Sacré Coeur), which is to remark having a lot of life during night time.
During the warm weather Parisians can be met in parks, squares or on the Island – Ile de la Cité. This is a place where you can find Square du Vert-Galant, where if visited you can surely take a bottle of vine with you and enjoy the bohemian life of a Parisian. Another place I would recommend visiting is a bookstore Shakespeare and Company (but be aware – you can get lost in it for a quite a while!).
You can find amazing literature for yourself and friends of yours.
Even though we planned to see the view from the top of Eifel Tower, this time we did not really manage to do it, however instead of this adventure we climbed to the top of Triumphal Arch and had a ride on a Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde. It goes without saying that it ensures and amazing view of the whole city of Paris.
The view from the Triumphal Arch
Paris is an amazing pit stop for shopping, however I’ll tell about it another time. It is truly a Paradise of concept stores, stylish boutiques, tasteful antique stores and much more. However this will be another story.