Let’s take a break from the cynicism for a moment and actually talk about Paris.
Ohhhh, sweet Paris.
I’ve been fortunate to visit the City of Light a number of times in the past and each time has been as spectacular for it’s own reasons. The first time I went, I left my heart there and everytime I’ve been back since has been an attempt to recover it. She will be out of my system one day but, until then, she will be my second home. This time around we refused to take the Metro and walked everywhere. We lived in an apartment in Montmartre, sipped on the most delicious Lager we’ve ever had in our lives, ate handmade Croissants from the local bakery, and I lusted continuously after Parisian fashion in the height of Summer. I wouldn’t say I’m a Paris expert but, if I could offer a few tips for enjoying Paris, it would be the following:
1.Unless you are going all out and have a shit ton of disposable income, try to make your own food. Food is the biggest expense in Paris and probably the most money we spent was on meals. Where possibly, buy some things from the supermarket and have Breakfast and Lunch self-catered. Then, you can spoil yourself with a meal out in the evening if eating out is your thing.
2.The Louvre is great but it’s fucking massive and trying to get around the entire thing in an afternoon is near on impossible. There are other museums which often get left out in the shadow of the Louvre’s reputation – Musee des Arts Decoratifs is free – FREE – and houses a wonderful Art Nouveau collection. If you adore anything Victorian, need some home decor inspo, or can’t be arsed to fork out for another visit somewhere, this is a great one to go to. Similarly, Musee d’Orsay is just down from the Louvre and, although you have to pay, it has some iconic artwork and a wonderful collection of sculptures.
3.Don’t be fucking ignorant – at least attempt to speak French. Saying Bonjour, Merci, and Sil Vous Plait instead of Hello, Thank You, and Please go a long way. It’s not hard to learn basic French phrases and, usually, the French can tell you’re British a mile off and won’t buy your bullshit and respond in the Common Tongue. At least you tried.
4.Walk. Walk walk walk walk walk. Walk until you can’t anymore because not only is this good for your general health and the only form of exercise you will do during your stay, but you see so much more of Paris that way. Get involved. Yes, it is time consuming, but get up early, beat the morning rush, and have more of the day to enjoy.
5.Visit Paris at all times of the year. She’s beautiful in the rain, she’s magical in the sunshine. I would probably say that my favourite time to go would be March/April time or September/October. It tends to be warm enough to walk around comfortably and not wear a coat but, also, the sun sets early-ish. Paris night life is fantastic and really laid back. They stay up late. Head to Bastille for some wonderful bars and, please!!, buy some bottles, and a picnic, and head to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower at night is truly an unforgettable sight.
6.If you really want to get into Paris life, forget the Hotel and go to Hostel World or Air BnB. You can book whole Parisian apartments and live like a Parisian for however long you stay. It has its own pros and cons but I would always go down this route because it’s just that little more special.