Paris was a place that I have always wanted to visit. Not a first priority though. I never really knew what to expect, and I am less that kind of person that explores the web for hours/days/weeks before planning a trip somewhere. I think that part of the magic of visiting new places is the ability to get lost and discover interesting new places, interacting with people, feeling the then-current scene. Maybe some in-hand recommendations from people you trust of having similar taste as your own, just to have some anchors. I also find the magic in traveling alone here and then. I thought Paris wasn’t the right place for that.
So about 6 months ago, a few friends offered me to join them for their long-back-planned trip to Paris. 5 days in Paris. Why not? The holidays season made it extremely pricy, so I booked a detour via Barcelona (for couple of days) and from there, 40 min flight to Paris. Perfect.
At the moment I first stepped into Paris I was pretty surprised. It felt like I’m part of a painting. The buildings, bridges, river, even the road and sidewalks, everything was so accurate. I’m a person of details, and I felt like everything there is about the details. Not sure I can explain the exaltation I experienced, but I couldn’t remove the smile off of my face (no drugs were involved. maybe some wine. because it’s France). Long story short, it was a the right combination of a-must-visit places, with an amazing food, wine and tiny special experiences that you have when you travel in a new place.
A-Must Touristic Atractions
There are enough tourists guides to list the must-visits in any location you travel, but this is not my thing. I’m mostly focused on how to amazingly experience those must-visit attractions.
I would normally judge a place by their food experience. Yes, I’m a foodie. Bus also, learning about a place’s culture is about trying their typical dishes, understanding their service awareness and experiencing their hospitality.
So just as a general comment (and also a general comment I received from a dear friend before traveling): No matter where you eat, it is just crazy good, even if you just stop to try deli on the street. Here are some selected food experiences:
2) Angelina – one of the most known and popular places in Paris (and France in general), and for a good reason indeed. The places is known for its rich hot chocolate (I’m not a big fan of hot chocolate, but the rest of the world is), and AMAZING pastries (indeed). Personally, I would not skip a visit even for my tenth time in Paris, and specifically recommend their chestnut & truffle soup (they call it volute as it makes it more rich and classy).
3) Breakfast in front of the Louvre – Café marly – a little bit pricy but the view is beatiful.
4) Dinner (when it’s cold, cuz it’s heavy dark design but very good) – Le dome du marais
5) Food market (cheese, Moroccan, French, whatever culture) – Marché des enfants rouge
6) Meat Restaurant – Didn’t try but heard good stuff (especially the wine): chateaubriand
7) On the 4th district you have the Jewish area so if you’re into falafel/shawarma or Eyal Shani (Ha’miznon) you can find it there 🙂
8) Macaroons: Piere Harme, L’adure
If we put aside the obvious touristic stuff (going up to the eiffel tower, visiting Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame etc.), the best experiences as I see it would normally combine food/good drink (and it’s Paris…they just know how to do it)..
1) Don’t miss – go to fromagerie, buy good cheese, nuts, fig jam and bread, wine and go to the Sene to have a tiny picnic on the river side (i personally find Dubois at the 4th district as one of the best cheese place ever).
2) Rainy or Sunny – breakfast in Cafe De Flore – I just enjoyed sitting there, eating, staring and feeling the good vibe of the area.
3) Find in the map the spot to which you want to head, and close it, and try to walk there through tiny streets, unexpected roads, and along the river here and then when possible, you will find an amazing artistic streets, galleries, chick coffee places, small cocktail bar.
1) Bario Latino – 11th district – it’s 3 floors bar, where the 2nd and 3rd are restaurant with cool Mexican/Cuban food, the first floor is dance bar (latin music during the week, more of a party during the weekend)…but it’s Cuban, not French.
2) HotelCost chick fun esto-bar
3) Underground bar, famous for its cocktail and interesting people Silencio (David Linch)
1) Street – Rue de Rivoli (touristic main street)
2) Gallerie Lafayette (they give 10% discount for turists in most of the stores and they have tax refund, ask to get the tax refunded to your credit card cuz in the airport sometimes you need to work with machine to get the refund and machines gives refund only to your card)
3) 30 min driving outside of the city you have big brands outlet – Vallée village.
4) Champs Elize – needless to elaborate. It is just beautiful. And wide. And royal.
I found my trip pretty impressive for a 4.5 days – first visit. Highly Recommended 🙂
Credits: Rona, Ced, Yosi, Stup, Nir