I have to admit that Paris is one of my favourite destinations. Walking in the footsteps of famous authors and artists opens up my mind to the many possibilities in life. The smell of fresh baked bread, the sight of beautiful architecture, the culture of the French people, fills me with excitement and a strange sense of belonging. From the moment you land in Paris, she welcomes you.
Paris of course is known for it’s tourist attractions, like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, and of course it’s wonderful to see these amazing places. A hop on hop off bus tour will get you around to most of these attractions and is a good place to start your visit. You can return to the places you’d like to see more at your own time and leisure. If you want to go in to see some of the attractions, it’s definitely best to go early in the morning before the large crowds amass. Just be mindful that there are some lovely treasures to be seen if you perchance wander off away from the tourist throngs.
The Paris I love is the Paris I find wandering the streets and I easily forget that I have been walking for hours on end.
A stroll down the banks of the river Seine will find you surrounded by the Bouquinistes. These are little bookshops that line the banks of the river and have a rich history dating back to the 16th Century. The Seine is thus described as ‘the only river in the world that runs between two bookshelves.
The back streets of the inner arrondissements (districts) and beyond will take you away from the maddening crowds and provide a wonderful introduction of life in Paris. Little streets filled with food shops where you can pick up some fresh produce, fresh baked bread and pastries to die for, along with cheese that will set your tastebuds alight, are just a few things you’ll find on your adventure. This is also where you will find the best restaurants that cater to the locals, where the food is a true taste of France. La Poule au Pot is my favourite, it’s in the 1st arrondissement and the place where the chefs of Paris dine after they finish work. In these back streets you can also find little cinema’s where you can pop in and watch a great movie.
The French love to sit in the many gardens you can find on your wanders. The parks are filled with chairs and benches (do not sit on the grass) and I love sitting and watching the world in these places. You will also find little parks in the middle of the residential areas where you can sit and rest your feet. Another favourite thing for me to do is to sit outside a cafe with my cafe creme and croissant inhale the sights and sounds of this wonderful city.
There is nothing better than a little stroll around the Île Saint-Louis (Island in the Seine) where you find the best ice-cream and little boutique shops that offer something a little different from the normal tourist shops.
But the best thing of all about Paris for me is just being there!