Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Travel Diary: Falling For Paris (Literally)


These are a series of posts covering my 5 weeks in Europe, and each country I see in bite sizes. Or as my best friend likes to say, “speed touristing.” I visited most places for 4 days, with the exception of Germany and some day trips. This is my way of taking you guys on my adventures through Europe, giving you guys my thoughts on each place and any tips I’ve picked up! 

Falling For Paris


My trip to Paris was pretty much almost a blur and to be quite honest, I barely did anything at all. You can thank my unstable ankle for that, as I rolled it whilst walking in the city (hence the title haha).When people say Paris is the city of love, they’re not wrong. The city itself has a very romantic vibe, mostly because of its beautiful buildings and monuments. That's really what I fell in love with, how picturesque the city is. There are definitely a million spots that are instagrammable. However, because of that I felt like it wasn't the best place to travel alone and wouldn't do it again unless I had someone with me.

I caught the EuroStar from London to Paris, a 2 hour train ride that made it easier to get right into the city. From there, I made my way to Hotel Vendome Saint-Germain. It’s a cute, modern place that was close to a number of train stations and walking distance to some tourist attractions. The Notre Dame Cathedral, Fontaine Saint-Michel and Shakespeare & Company Book store were all nearby! 

Address: 8 Rue d'Arras, 75005, Paris

What I Saw

The Lourve | Arc de Triomphe | Eiffel Tower
I went to three major tourist attractions, which really is somewhat of a poor effort. 

The Lourve is insanely big, and you can spend hours and hours in it. The main attraction is the one and only Mona Lisa, and that’s where you’ll find majority of the people.


If you really want a photo with the Eiffel Tower in the background, do not head to the actual site - unless you’re planning to climb it. Instead, find a park nearby to get it in its entirety. 

TIP: Definitely pre-book tickets to the places you want to head to. It makes it so much easier and skipping lines is a plus. You can also download the app “Duck The Line” to skip the queue at the Notre Dame Cathedral

Activities


Really, the only activity I did in Paris was sign up for the Paris Bar Crawl. The guide takes you to three different bars around Montmarte, with free shots at each and the last one lands you near the Moulin Rouge. I met some really friendly people and had an enjoyable night! The next day wasn’t so fun though.

Places To Shop


Paris is THE number one place to shop. Or France at least. It was a shame that I couldn’t get to all the places I wanted to go to. 

Le Grande Epicerie de Paris
Have you ever seen a luxury grocery food store, because this is it. I was on the hunt for some Foie Gras to bring home for my parents but really could’ve bought everything - from the cheese to the charcuterie. I settled for pastries instead, and the croissant was to die for.

Paris Lourve Duty-Free KAMS 1960 
It’s not as big as I thought it’d be, but they’re all about giving you good deals on top of claiming back VAT. I grabbed a couple of items for my mum, including some Lancome creams and a Chanel perfume and the amount was a whole lot cheaper than at home.

Other places I wanted to check out were: Nose, Fragonard Boutique, Parle Moi De Parfum and Galeries Lafeyette.

Where I Ate

I was very underwhelmed with food in Paris. But I also think I was daunted by not being able to comprehend the menu and the fact that I didn’t entirely enjoy the first meal I had. I do regret though, not eating all the pastries I could.

Le Relais de L’Entreconte
This is one of the more well known restaurants in Paris. People queue up as soon as it opens to grab a table. They’re famous for steaks and fries, with pepper sauce. I wouldn’t say I loved it but that’s because steak in Australia is already so good and I couldn’t stop comparing the two.

Foyer Mon Vietnam
Safe to say after the pub crawl I needed some comfort food, so I searched for a nearby Vietnamese restaurant and had Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio.

Matsumi 
Can you tell I gave up finding French foods? My friends took me to Matsumi, a sushi train restaurant, which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Strada Cafe
The last morning I was there, I found this gem across the road and loved it! The place does brunch differently every week, and the day I was in they were offering a “hot dish” that had eggs, some kind of thick sauce and grounded concoction. The taste was so good, because there were so many elements and flavours. Definitely recommend trying it out!

Transportation 

Public Transport is easily accessible, with the option of bulk purchasing tickets beforehand. You can buy 10 tickets in one go, which is convenient. In Paris there are a number of public transport options including Metro, RER and the bus, which all use the same tickets. 

Uber is also readily available, and I had to rely on that quite a bit after rolling my ankle and couldn’t walk as much. Rides were quite cheap seeing as it isn’t as far to get from one place to another.

Have You Been To Paris? What Was Your Favourite Thing To Do Or See?


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