I am officially the most horrible blogger ever. University started again and I was completely swamped with work, but I’m back!!
I love Paris! Its one of my favourite cities in the world. I feel like over the past couple of years it has gotten a bad reputation. I have heard so many people say that the people are rude, that it’s overly crowded and that you will most likely be pick pocketed. I apart from the city being crowded I have never felt that Parisians were overly rude and I have always felt really safe in the city.
In the past 5 or so years I have been lucky enough to be given the chance to go to this city every 1 and a half years or so I discover something new every time. Here are some of my top tips to make your stay more enjoyable.
1. If you hate crowds go in winter, the weather may not be as nice as it will be cold and wet but compared to winter most of the famous sites are empty and hotels are cheaper too. During the winter months there are also various outdoor ice skating rinks set up around the city. Look out for the ice skating rink on the first floor of the eiffel tower or in front of l’hotel de ville. The dates when they are up are easy to find online, make sure to look it up before you leave.
2. If you are going to go to the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay pre purchase your tickets at La Fnac this means that you get to skip most of the queue. In summer Musee D’orsay can have queues that last for hours. Pre purchasing tickets may be slightly more expensive I think about 2 euro more per ticket, but it is totally worth it!
3. Walk every where. When taking the metro you don’t see half as much and walking means that you get to explore parts of the city that you might not have seen before, also walking makes you hungry which means that you can eat more of the delicious french food.
4. When going to the Louvre choose maximum 3 sections that you want to see. You can not do the whole thing in one day it is huge. By the time you get through about a quarter of the museum you would have already had enough. My favourite exhibit is the ancient Egyptian one I love it, I have ever since my grandfather first took me there when I was a little kid. I have always found ancient Egypt super fascinating. Another thing to note is that most of the information about the exhibits is posted in French, so if you don’t know french get a Nintendo DS guide they are really informative but they do take some time to get used to.
5. Do not go to Disneyland, go to Parc Asterix instead. It’s just as fun but a lot more French plus even in the middle of summer it can often be empty but there are school groups that go there so beware.
6. Go the Berthillion. Its an ice cream parlour located on Ile St Louis not far from the Notre Dame de Paris. The sorbets are particularly good. My favourite is the wild strawberry (Fraise des bois in french) I believe that they may only have it in summer, try it if they do, it is amazing.
7. If you are a shopaholic much like myself make sure to reserve one day just for shopping. I love Zadig and Voltaire it is a brand that you can find everywhere but they have a outlet in Le Marais on Rue Bourg Tibourg which stocks the previous seasons clothes, these are at a reduced price from 30-70% off. I always love a good bargain on designer clothes. Next to Zadig and Voltaire there is Marriage frere the famous tea shop, they have amazing quality tea and most of it is quite reasonably priced a regular earl grey is about 7 euro for 100g, compared to T2 in Australia thats cheap. Other good purchases in Paris are perfumes, there are many perfumeries scattered around Paris that are not so easy to find in other parts of the world. Galeries la Fayette and Printemps also have a good selection. Perfumeries/ perfume brands to look out for are:
L’eau de Cassis, L’artisan parfumeur, James Heeley perfumes, Dyptique, Creed and Honore des pres. Guerlain on the Champs Elysees is worth a visit just because it is a stunning store.
8. Try the jewish food in Le Marais, for something cheap and tasty try L’as de falafel.
9. If you are travelling with more than 2 people take a taxi to the airport instead of the train, it will cost you around 40 euro to take a taxi where as the metro will cost you around 15 euro each. Taking a taxi is also a lot more convenient than trying to navigate through the metro with luggage especially if it is peak hour.
10. Stay somewhere central. We stayed in an apartment last time we went, it was great it meant that we didn’t have to eat out every night and it was very reasonably priced, well reasonably priced for Paris.
Try airbnb.com for serviced apartments otherwise I have stayed at the Novotel Montparnasse and Tour Eiffel both are good and in a fairly central location.
11. If you have a sweet tooth try the pastries at:
Fauchon, Laduree and Pierre Herme. Pierre Herme is my favourite the macaroons are better than Laduree I think and the cakes are amazing, some of the stores even do croissants, try the Isaphan croissant it is to die for, it is the perfect way to start the day.
For chocolate go to:
Pierre Marcolini (Not french I know. but still devine) or La Maison du Chocolate.
12. Lastly if you want to go out for a fancy meal, always go at lunch time. At lunch you can get a set menu for a quarter of the price of the dinner menu and they are often the same thing. The best set menu for value for money is Robuchon on the Champs Elysees its at the top of the street near the Arc de Triomphe.
Hopefully this post was useful. I hope that you all get to experience going to Paris one day. I can not wait to go back even though I only went in February. I never see everything that I want to, there is just so much to do!
Last little note:
Out of all art museums in Paris the l’orangerie is by far the most impressive. Go, and be amazed! And as some one once told me if you squint and tilt your head impressionist art looks realistic :).