Paris is another one of those cities that I was in twice during the same trip. Shelby and I went from London to Paris on a Friday afternoon, and were joined for the weekend by my other bestie, Carley, who is currently working in Germany. Then, at the veryyy end of my trip, I came back alone.
When I initially started planning my trip, I didn’t exactly even have a plan. I knew the time when I could leave, and when I needed to be back, and a general idea of where I wanted to go, but that was it. So when I booked my flight home, I had no idea where to book it from. I ended up deciding on Paris based on the fact that it’s fairly central and I thought it would be easy to get to, even if I wasn’t in the area. It ended up working quite well, because I spent the last few days of my trip in the South of France visiting family (which you’ll hear about later!), and then just stayed overnight in Paris before my flight. Soo anyway, the reason why I am explaining all of this to you is to give you a bit of a background as to why I technically spent four nights in Paris, but they don’t really flow together very well.
Our first night in Paris was not particularly adventurous, but it was exciting – for us. Shelby and I hadn’t seen Carley in a few months since she left Canada, so we were ridiculously happy to be a trio again. We literally bought a bottle of wine and a couple bags of chips and sat on a random bench somewhere in the middle of Paris and talked for hours. And that was it and it was perfect.
The following day was also a bit… well, not typically Parisian. One of the first plans we made for our trip to Europe was that we needed (yes, needed) to see One Direction on their World Tour. We literally bought our tickets a few days after we had paid for our flights. And no, we are not 16. My love for that beautiful, beautiful boy band only continues to grow with time and there is nothing that you can say to make me love them any less. And if you think you are not a fan, I dare say you are kidding yourself. But anyway; we walked around a bit in the morning – saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and strolled along the Champs-Élysées, and got crepes. And that was all lovely. But in reality, that day was dedicated to 1D. The concert was seriously amazing (obviously) and despite some slight issues (dehydration, sunburn, forgetting to bring food – to name a few) this was definitely one of my favourites from the trip.
For our last full day (at the time) in Paris, we had a very long day of walking – my favourite way to see a city, if you hadn’t noticed – and saw the Louvre, Notre Dame, the “love lock” bridge (don’t get me going on how I feel about love and locks and bridges and anything else you can put a lock on in Europe), and the Luxembourg Gardens. I adore the St. Germain district that is between the River Seine and the Luxembourg Gardens. It is full of quaint, narrow alleys, with restaurants that have been there for 100’s of years (or at least look like they have), vintage book shops, and gritty bars. Everything that I want to see in Paris in one little area. We stopped at a small restaurant called La Jacobine, and were treated to a massive salad (there was a full slice of quiche, on top of the salad) and the best french onion soup I probably will ever eat.
When I was coming back to Paris, I knew I wanted to go and see the Montmartre district, so I booked a hostel a little closer to that area. I felt like I was really able to enjoy myself this time, because I had less of an agenda, even though I only had an evening. I grabbed a quick dinner at Boco, a takeout restaurant with dishes created by Michelin Star chefs. Their food is 100% organic, 100% creative, and 100% delightful. It’s served in adorable little jars, and if necessary, they will heat it up for you. I had the hardest time deciding what to eat, but ended up getting a savoury take on tiramiso – think tomato sauce, mascarpone, some sort of savoury cake thing, salted caramel ice cream, and some yummy kombucha.
From the Saint Lazare location, I walked up Rue Blanche towards the Moulin Rouge (which I was really happy that I got to see, despite the area being crazily busy), and then began the trek up the hill to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica. On the way, I caught a few glimpses of the Montmartre Cemetery, and even though cemeteries are not normally my thing, this place looked very impressive, and I was sad that it’s gates were closed. I also got a crepe from a street vendor for my “evening snack” (it was my last night!!)
The Sacré-Cœur itself was impressive, but what I was really wowed by were the views. You can see basically the entire city from the view points here, and it is crazily beautiful. There were also some incredible street performers in the area, including a (10?) person jazz band that I wish I could remember the name of. After hearing that the district was basically taken over by tourists, I was honestly pleasantly surprised by how beautiful and Parisian the area still felt, if you can look past the gift shops and people selling Eiffel Tower keychains. In the area just south of the Moulin Rouge, there were even some cool looking bars with what looked to be locals spilling out onto the streets with after work drinks.
Although Paris may not have been my favourite city on the trip – I didn’t always feel entirely safe, especially at night, but most of the areas were cleaner than I expected, and the people were actually really, really friendly in contrast to what I had been lead to believe. I don’t have to tell you that the things to do in Paris are endless, but the city was surprisingly walkable, and of course, really beautiful. I will be back.