After a year of abstinence from my favourite thing in the world: traveling, I squeezed in a week in july to visit Paris and Madrid. While I have traveled around Europe quite a bit and have seen London, Rome, Barcelona and Athens I have never made it to the most visited town on the planet: Paris. With this name come a thousand pictures of slender french girls drinking wine and smoking Gauloises, the Eiffeltower by night, fluffy croissants and a colorful palette of macarons.
Let me be honest with you: I fulfilled all clichés (except I was smoking Marlboro Gold, but I think I still pass). It was my first trip to Paris and I have not really left the tourist paths this time. Let me leave that for another visit.
Paris is a wonderful town and the most beautiful I have ever seen, however to me it was lacking a bit of soul, missing a bit of an edge. Paris was pretty and I would love to return, but for me it was a bit too polished. What are your Paris experiences? What would you do on a weekend there? Let me know in the comments!
Getting there & Accomadation
We spend our first nigh in beautiful Montmartre, in my opinion the most picturesque place in Paris. The steep cobble streets, the Basilika Sacré Coeur overlooking the quarter and the the little cafés all scream Paris right in your face. I loved it! From the airport Charles de Gaulle the RER B, a train runs until Garre du Nor from where we took the metro to our hostel. I stayed at the Le Village Boutique hsotel, which was central, easy to reach and cheap. However my friend stayed at the Plug Inn which in my opinion was a bit prettier, but also cost 20 Euros more per night. Your choice really.
From the second night on we couchsurfed and lived close to the Metro stop Bastille. Our host was incredibly lovely and showed us around basically everyday. Here you can find my Couchsurfing-Profile and in my friend list you should see my rating of him.
As we stayed in Montmartre, we spend the first day strolling around, overlooking the town from the platform in front of the Basilika. Of course we also entered there and had a look around, before having dinner in a sweet little restaurant right on the street.
We went to Eiffeltwer for the first afternoon and seeing that pretty iron thing really was breathtaking. I have only had this feeling once before in Rio de Janeiro, finally seeing something you had seen in movies and on photographs so many time right in front of you and not really being able to believe you really are there.
The next day was packed with sightseeing, we managed to see the Louvre (whose architecture to me was so breathtaking I could not pay attention to the artwork too much), the Arc de Triomphe (which you can enter and climb up to have a breathtaking view around Paris), Notre Dame, the opera, Laduree and the Galeries Lafayette.
After a quick visit to the impressionists at the Musee d´Orsay (loved the terrace and the Van Gogh exhibition) on our last day and some last minute Macarons to take home (may they rest in my belly) it was time to wave goodbye to Paris. All of these sights were truly stunning, but the glass windows in Notre Dame and the view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe were my favourites. We always travelled with a daily Metro pass for 3,75 Euro for under 25 year olds on weekends and 7.50 Euro on weekday, but you probably also get a lot of sights done by just walking. By the way if you are European and under 25 all of theses sights are free for you! Just another reason to pack your bag asap for a weekend in lovely Paris
Thanks to our host we managed to find a very cheap but delicious french restaurant called Chez Gladines. They have salads, cheese platers and for the fond hearted also snails. There are about five in Paris so you really should visit there. You may have to wait a bit, but in the afternoon it is quite empty. We payed only 9 Euros for a "salad" with cheese, potatoes and ham that could easily feed two.
At night time we went to Bastille, where a lot of little bars and restaurants from all over the world are located in the Rue de Lappe. We had incredibly cheap Sushi here, especially during lunch time the all you can eat offers are great. Apparently it is busiest on fridays and saturdays, but to me it seemed pretty full even on a sunday.
We spend one wonderful day at the happiest place on earth: Disneyland. You get there with the RER A. The ticket was about 16 Euros. After my visit to Disney World in Florida, which made my 16 year old self beyond happy I was eager to return. It was lovely, the Tower of Terror was still just as awesome, but to be honest if we would not have had the special offer of entering for 20 Euros it really would not have been worth it, as normally a day pass costs around 80 Euro. Our last night included a picknick of red wine, baguette and camembert in front of the glistening Eiffeltower and I could not have felt more french than in this moment.