Nights in Paris

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Leica Montano
          There's nothing quite like waking up in Paris. It always takes a few seconds before the idea settles in, “Merde! I'm in Paris.” 
          So I snuggle my sheets, relish the moments in our cute, little airbnb in Le Marais, before I get up and continue playing pretend 
          as a well-composed French woman.

I was sitting in a cafe with no real, concrete plan for the day, too full to finish the petit dejeuner I ordered; not quite ready to take on the city on my own just yet. So I sat, watched the people pass by and eavesdropped into people's conversations, trying to catch the little French I know. 

I had been in Paris for three days already and it was my first time alone in the city of two million. The first couple of minutes were daunting, just me and my thoughts, and memories of people telling me to be very careful, to grab onto my bag always, and to not to go out at night. My mom didn't really want to leave me by myself and only agreed to it two days before she left for Denmark.

So, I was left alone in a cafe by Avenue Carnot, obviously had to foot the bill for brunch. But everything else and anxieties aside, I really had no choice but to step out of comfort and just enjoy every minute of it.

There really was no getting used to Paris. Everywhere I went, I was still mesmerised by everything - the mansard roofs, the river, the cobbled streets, the John Hamon posters everywhere, and even those Midnight-in-Paris-lampposts. Wherever I went, I’d think, “that’s so French,” and I loved it all.

There's this allure that the city exuded that made me feel like I fit in, that even if I didn't understand most of what people were saying, I got it. So the city stole my heart and it could've done whatever it wanted with it.. Probably should've given it to a cute French boy. (smh)

Leica Montano

It's six months later and that sinking feeling I got as I boarded my plane back home, still stings today. 

Because really, it's not that hard to fall in love with Paris, even on a boat as you slowly freeze to death. If there was even anything I did not like about the city, for all it's beauty and city of love-ness, it was the constant reminder that I was alone - no hand to hold, no one to have picnics by the Eiffel tower with, no one to attach a love lock with at Pont Des Arts. (Oh well, I'll live. Ha 💁🏻)

Those nine days I spent in Paris were something else. I'm already counting the days until I get back.

Leica Montano


Leica Montano

But first, Where to stay in Paris? The city is divided into 20 arrondissements and choosing the right one for you is crucial. I had a couple of choices that I looked into before finally choosing airbnbs in Le Marais (3rd arrondissements) for the first half of our trip and by Arc de Triomphe (8th arrondissements) for the other half.

My other choices:
1st arrondissement: close to Musée du Louvre; Palais Royal
5th/6th arrondissement: Latin Quarter and Saint Germain
18th arrondissement: Montmarte (for someone's first time in Paris, this probably isn't the best choice, unless you've got some time to spare)

Wherever you end up staying, make sure to do some exploring around the area (with caution, of course). From our place, we ended up passing by a local record store, a pretty cool looking covered passage, and a small weekend market selling different types of cheese for cheap.
Leica Montano

Of all the touristy things to do in Paris, the Eiffel Tower's one you really shouldn't miss. It's absolutely breathtaking. Every time I caught a glimpse of it, it drew me in and I just had to stare. It's great to see in the morning or at night, maybe a cup of cocoa in hand and crepe in the other (which I highly advise).

The best spot to see the Eiffel tower is by Jardins du Trocadéro. Take a few pics, sit by the steps, and catch the hourly light show.

From Tour Eiffel, you could cross the Seine and go to Notre-Dame Cathedral. Right around the corner from there is Shakespeare and Co.

Leica Montano

Take in the art and culture of Paris by visiting Musée du Louvre and Musée d'Orsay, where pieces like Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Van Gogh's Starry Night could be seen. The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world, so don't stress if you aren't able to see all of the museum's pieces. I read that it actually takes about 100 days to do so. (I guess that's one reason to stay in Paris for awhile.) Musée d'Orsay is significantly smaller compared to the Louvre but still houses a great collection of art.

These are the two that I was able to visit. But just take a walk along Avenue de New York and you'll pass by a couple more museums like Musée de l'Orangerie, Musée d'Art Moderne, and Palais de Tokyo.

Make sure to purchase your Louvre tickets in advance to avoid the long queue. For d'Orsay, they have days where the museum is free for all and some ticket price discounts if you're under 25 and such.

From Musée du Louvre, you can go to Angelina, a famous tea house known for their hot chocolate. Take a cup to go and enjoy it at Jardin des Tuileries or walk towards Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, passing by Place de la Concorde.

There is a restaurant that serves really good mussels by Champs Élysées called Léon de Bruxelles. I highly recommend this.

I read a ton of "best restaurants to go in Paris" and picked the ones that I liked the most. (I've pinned these places at my Google map link.) But if there's one thing you should always order in every one of these, it's that classic French rosé.

Leica Montano

In Paris, there is no doubt that there is a big café culture. I wanted to visit as much as I can so on one of the days that I went to the Trocadero, I decided to go to Café Kitsuné after. I didn't have my data on but I had a map. I could've gone on the metro but walked instead because it was so much nicer outside. I just had to walk along the River Seine, pass by 7 bridges, a few little streets and then I was in Palais Royal, across Museé du Louvre. Unfortunately, when I arrived it was a little over 6pm already and took in last orders. It was just my luck. So I went to Les colonnes de Buren instead.

There's so much to do in Paris that if some plans fall out, there'd still be something else that's great to experience. It helps if you know what's around you. (Or can Yelp)

TIP: Use Google maps and plot all the places you want to visit. Here's a link for mine.

Leica Montano

Paris is also one of the fashion capitals of the world. So surely you'd want to shop around like I did. Besides the shops at Champs Élysée, you can go to Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussman, Forum Les Halles, or Citadium. (Of all those, I enjoyed Citadium the most. It has a great selection of streetwear clothing brands. A lot of young people go there too, so keep that in mind if you choose to go.)

Leica Montano

On our last full day, we decided to take the Bateaux Mouches on the River Seine. We rode the 6pm cruise and it was perfect. You get to see the slow transition of afternoon light to sunset to nighttime. It was a great tour of the city and quite frankly, the best way to end our Paris trip. A friend told me to make a wish under Pont Marie. It's supposed to come true in a year, so I'll get back to you on that.

Leica Montano

 If you're into watching live music, research ahead and see who will be playing around Paris. I checked for our dates and saw Drowners, Lianne La Havas and Leon Bridges were having their own concerts. Pitchfork Music Festival also landed on the dates while we were there. I decided on seeing Drowners because they're my absolute faves.

So I saw them play at Supersonic, a small bar/club in Bastille. It was a free show so that was plus. It's always great to see your favourite artists but to see them in Paris in a somewhat intimate place was just beyond amazing. Definitely in my top 5 best concert experiences.

O, how I wish I was back in Paris. ~ le sigh ~ If ever I disappear for a long time, it's probably because I cashed out all  my bank accounts and went to Paris.
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