Paris, city of love. City of the best food in the world and city of blinding lights. City filled with meandering cobbled roads, filled with culture and the city we’ll always have. Paris is so great it has become a cliché to say so. I really should not like this city, just to proof I AM A REBEL who will not let other people’s likes be her likes.
But I do love Paris. Ever since I first set foot under the Eiffel tower back in high school, I knew this would be a city I’d return to over and over again. And I did. I went with friends, I went on the first – and only – road trip there with my mum, I went there the first time I ever went travelling completely alone – oh my what a joy! – and the first time Erik and I went on a holiday, we came my beloved Paris.
After multiple visits – but never enough to really get to know the city – I have my favourite spots picked out, that I just have to visit if I can. However, I am also always looking for new places to see. And eat and shop at. For now, these are my all-time favourite things to do in Paris - as they change every time I go there.*
*yes, these are very much touristy places. I am a tourist in Paris, not a Parisienne – sadly – and so my top things to do are touristy ones. To find out how to locals live, find another blog (and let me know what it is so I can read it too!)
1. Browsing the books at Shakespeare & Co.
Now as a travelling feminist who loves books, this should come as no surprise. This famous bookshop is a true Walhalla for the true book-addict. The old building is stacked to the brim with English language books (sadly my French is not good enough to actually be able to read French books) and boasts being visited by Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald amongst many writers. I could honestly literally – “literary” – spend hours here – and I usually try to every time I visit Paris.
Are you as much of a book addict as I am? Then be sure to visit this lovely quaint old fashioned bookshop on the south bank just across from the Cathedral Notre Dame. And be sure to be hospitable to strangers, lest they’d be angels in disguise – as quoted in the bookstore!
2. Dream an hour away at L’Orangerie
Monet. In 3D. Need I say more? Honestly, if I do, you are either a barbaric person when it comes to culture, or you just don’t like impressionism. Otherwise, this small museum where Monet’s most famous water lilies adorn the walls, is well worth the visit. Try and come early as a quiet atmosphere attributes to the beauty – and hordes of tourists are just annoying wherever you go.
3. Eat a baguette with cheese at the Eiffel tower
Granted, this may be even more of a cliché than actually visiting Paris, but to me, eating a picnic at one of Paris’ many parks is something you just have to do when in Paris. If you are going to visit the Eiffeltower anyway – or one of the many amazing sites surrounding it – why not have lunch in it’s vicinity? I do recommend getting your food beforehand as tourist prices are no joke – though they are ridicules – and also to find a spot well away from the actual tower. You’ll have a lovelier view and less tourists gaping and taking pictures of themselves.
4. Visit the Église Sacré Coeur and stroll about Montmartre
I like visiting the white church on top of a hill for many reasons. One of them is the anecdote my mum always tells about how I took her there when we visited Paris together. In my memory, I simply took her to see one of the sights. According to her, I took her through all these dodgy back allies only to have the vista opening up to her. She performed the same trick on my dad when they visited Paris together, so it’s become kind of a family tradition.
It was only last time I went to Paris – a recent college-trip – that I started to actually appreciate the surroundings of it. Montmartre has had a bit of a bad rep – perhaps at times rightly so – but it is beautiful once you get away from the annoying street vendors and seems to provide you with a feel of Paris you only read about in books. The small back streets, the tiny restaurants where you get the best wine available, the slight rebel feel intermingled with a definite sense of style. Visit this area if you have the chance. I know I will next time I go!
5. Take a trip to Versailles
Choosing just five things to do in any city is hard – in Paris, it is simply impossible. However, listing every single amazing thing to do, is too much trouble – not to mention impossible – so I am sticking to my goal!
And for that, I advise you to get away from the city and get yourself over the Château Versailles. King Louis XIV was such an arrogant piece of sh*t that he named himself the Sun-king and had an immense castle build to show everyone he was the one and only king – by divine right.
I don’t really like the castle all that much, but I really enjoy the gardens. During the summer, this is a lovely and beautiful retreat from the city. Especially the gardens made by the maligned Marie Antoinette are very pleasant and feel like you are walking in nature just a short drive away from the hustling and bustling from the busy Parisian streets. Get some nature in here, to recharge yourself for more time spent in the city.
So, these are my 5 favourite things to do in Paris. What are yours? Tell me in the comments and maybe we'll visit them some day!