The biggest piece of art
Paris, I think we will all agree that there is no other like it. The whole city is a piece of art. So beautiful that you do not really need to do anything special to be happy there. Just walking around its streets, admiring the architecture of the buildings, enjoying the superb food and getting lost into its secret spots, that is enough to fall in love with it.
Although what I said in the last paragraph is true I am not writing this article to recommend you to walk around Paris and be happy. I will give you some tips about places to visit, to eat, and how to move around the city. Let’s start with the basics.
How to move around the city
If you arrive by plane you are very likely to land at Charles de Gaulle Airport. You could take a taxi to get to your hotel but the prices are extremely high. So my recommendation is that you take the train into the city, which is called RER. It takes between 25 and 50 minutes depending on the area where you are going to and it costs 10 euros per adult (one way). That ticket also includes the metro lines until you arrive to your exact destination. You can get it at an information or tourist desk at the airport.
Before you leave the airport you should also get day passes to use the public transport in Paris. Ask at the same place where you get the RER ticket, which option is the best one to move around. The idea is that once you drop of your luggage you will be able to go wherever you want without having to worry about buying tickets for public transport.
Saint Germain de Prés
This is by far my favourite area in Paris. If you like the classic Parisian neighbourhood style, this is where you have to go. The atmosphere of the area is unique. Walk around it as much as you can. Every street is full of cute little restaurants and shops. Try the amazing food and go into all the little art galleries, handcrafts and clothing shops. You will be amazed by how many gorgeous little things you can find in this place.
If you are a fan of tea like me, you HAVE to visit the Mariage Frères Store, located at 13 Rue des Grands Augustins, St. Germain de Prés. They sell every type of tea you can imagine. All of them are a delight, my recommendations are Marco Polo Rouge and Marco Polo. Buying at the store is a whole experience. From the decoration and the smell, to the outfit of the employees. If you get a bit hungry or if you want to enjoy a tea, you can walk upstairs where they have a little café. The store is located in a little peaceful street that is far away from all the tourist crowds.
The other place you must visit in this neighbourhood is “Café de Flore”, located on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue Saint-Benoît. It opened in 1880’s and is one of the oldest coffeehouse in Paris. It has something magical that I can not describe, you have to be there to feel it. Numerous famous writers and philosophers have visited it for years and many of them get inspired by it. As you can see, I am not the only one who thinks that it has something special. They offer a variety of drinks, snacks and meals. Everything I tried was delicious.
The Opéra & Place Vendôme
The Paris Opéra is the National Academy of Music. You can take the metro to get there. If you are interested in music you can go into the building and walk around it. It is lovely, and if you are an opera fan you should not miss the opportunity to go to a show in there. If you are a fan of little performances, sit on the stairs at the entrance of the building. There are always amazing musicians playing out there. The perfect free and cheap way of enjoying charming music with a fascinating view.
From the there you can go walking to Place Vendôme, it is a nine-minute walk. The elegant architecture of the buildings makes the visit worth it. If you are into fashion, the stores of some of the best designers are right there.
After a good walk, it is time to eat an exquisite French must, a soufflé. The most amazing restaurant in Paris to eat them is five minutes walking from Place Vendôme. It is called “Le Soufflé” on 36 Rue du Mont Thabor. Just thinking about them makes me want to fly to Paris just to eat one! The flavour is absolutely delightful. This place is very well known and very small so you should either make a reservation or show up 10 minutes before they open so that you can go straight in. I recommend for the salty soufflé, the chicken and mushroom one, or the cheese and ham one. As for the sweet ones the Grand Marnier or the vanilla and almonds one. You will be blown away by the flavours!
I can not finish this article without talking about the iconic spots of Paris. First of all, a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower is classic. And you can not leave the city without visiting the magnificent Notre-Dame Cathedral. You can take the normal tour inside the church or, my recommendation is to go to see the Catacombs of Notre Dame. If you are not a fan of human bones do not go, but if you want to give a different touch to your Parisian adventure you definitely should visit them. This is the only place in the city that I would not call beautiful, but it still has an artistically creepy magical touch. Imagine walking through an underground hallway full of piles made out of human bones. It is quite the experience, totally different, interesting and fascinating.
Another place that you have to visit is the Sacré Coeur Church in Montmartre. From there you can see the whole city, and you can walk around Montmartre which is another pretty Parisian neighbourhood. This one if famous because of its street artists. Finally, the Louvre Museum. This museum is completely breath-taking, and you can see the marvelous Mona Lisa in person! After your tour around the museum ask for the square where the glass pyramid is (the one outside).
The last two tips
If you feel like eating good but cheap go these supermarkets, Monorpix or Franprix. You can find them pretty much anywhere in the city. They sell nice and cheap food, and you can make your own fresh orange juice, pack it in a bottle and take it!
To end your Parisian adventure, you should go to any of the little bars on the Seine River, the atmosphere is dazzling. You have the option of going to a bar or bringing your own alcohol. You will meet amazing people and it is the best way of ending your day. Relaxing with a beer, a cocktail or a wine with fun people around you.