A Tongue-In-Cheek Paris Itinerary
It’s known as the city of love, but that is not the only reason to visit Paris. And frankly, visiting Paris, solo, can be a lot of fun. Seriously, I have never travelled to Paris with another person, and I have never left the city thinking “Ugh, that sucked”.
Where do YOU go when you’re in Paris? Here’s my Paris itinerary.
I am definitely not writing about love and Paris, as that is not how I view the city or how I experience it. And I don’t really want to write about the places where most people go. You don’t need me to tell you to visit the Eiffel Tower, everyone knows about it. I will admit though, I have never been up the tower as the idea of waiting in lines makes my body twitch. I have however walked to the Eiffel Tower at dusk and watched it light up as the sun went to bed, and I should probably admit to getting goosebumps the first time I saw it begin to sparkle. That was pretty fantastic.
Everyone knows about the Eiffel Tower.
As churches go Notre Dame is cool. It’s famous. It’s a cathedral. Quasimoto, the hunchback was just a figment of Victor Hugo’s imagination, which is a shame cause if he was a real dude I may recommend going to Notre Dame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful church, but I’m a fan of Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre – mostly because I like to eat a lunch of baguette, brie, and fresh berries while taking in the view of Paris sprawled out before me. This is one of my favourite Paris viewpoints. And one of the reasons I always stay in Montmartre.
I usually stay in a hostel on rue Caulincourt. It’s not fancy, hell the showers are tiny and the bunkbeds are usually missing ladders, which makes it a challenge to get on the top bunk unless you’re a gymnast. The price is good though, and it’s a very short walk to Boris la pâtisserie (48 rue Caulincourt) which, as it happens, is featured on this month’s cover of enRoute magazine. They make the yummiest croissants, and the baguettes are good too. I love the crystal chandelier, and the French white crown moulding. The shop is filled with character, and the man behind the counter doesn’t seem to mind my bad French.
I’m not a fashionista, so asking me about where to buy designer clothing in Paris is a bad idea. Sure, I could Google it and tell you, or you could Google it yourself. Seriously, it’s the same thing. I know nothing about fashion – have you looked at my selfies lately? I don’t shop for clothing in Paris. I’m a big girl with bigger boobs, it’s pointless to even try. They do make pretty clothes though.
No, when I shop in Paris I venture out to the flea markets. I love vintage finds; keys, enamel cookware, antique French cookbooks, cloth. I can almost always find something interesting, and not too expensive. Finding Les Puces de Saint-Ouen Market is not an easy task, but it’s worth it. It’s the biggest flea market in the world. Did you know that? Yep, it is, and now you do. A lovely blogger wrote a post on how to find the market, which you should bookmark. You can find it HERE. This is the flea market to end all flea markets.
I also visit outdoor food markets. Farmer’s markets are another favourite activity when I travel. When I’m in Paris I sometimes pretend I’m a great chef in search of the freshest yummiest ingredients. I have Julia Child’s book, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, at home and like to play around with the recipes within. I’m also a big fan of My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz, he has a blog as well, which I follow regularly.
I am a huge fan of art, but I find the constant loud hum of people in the Louvre to be too distracting. I’ve never been in such a noisy art gallery before, and don’t get me started on the crowds of people. Art is meant to be enjoyed, and I find it hard to enjoy it when I visit the Louvre. Sometimes it’s best to be there as soon as the doors open.
Seeing great masterpieces is always fabulous, but sometimes I like to walk along La Seine and watch artists paint. Sometimes I try to get a peak inside a houseboat, or I’ll rent a bike and go for a short ride along the river. Many people love taking an evening river cruise along La Seine, listening to French music, dining on French food, and gazing at Paris all lit up and looking pretty.
The Champs-Élysées is cool, it’s a beautiful street and everyone should explore it. I don’t walk it every time I’m in Paris, I prefer to wander through neighbourhoods, experience a sliver of what it might be like to live in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe was erected in honour of those who have fought for France, and the tomb of the unknown solider from World War I can be found underneath the vault of the arc.
I spend a lot of time sitting at cafés, watching Parisians go about their day. I eat way too much brie and camembert, and probably too many croissants as well. I cannot resist going to Ladurée to buy macarons. It’s something I always do when I visit Paris. I sometimes like to take a small box to Tuileries Garden. I remember the first time I stumbled on the garden, after taking a wrong turn. I wandered through the gardens and sat by the large fountain. I sat under a tree and opened my box of macarons, snacking on a couple as I wrote down some notes and did a little people watching.
I love Paris; the people, language, history, architecture, food. I love to wander Passage Verdeau (I’m always surprised as to where I end up), and I am constantly cursing the French for their love of stairs.
My biggest tip for Paris is to wander, explore, get lost! All you need to do if know the name of the metro stop near your hotel or hostel, then go forth and explore Paris. The metro system is extensive, if you’re too lost, get on the metro and head back to your starting point. Easy peasy!