lovetomtom went to Paris
Did you hear? I went to Paris. Of course you did I talked about it enough! So I went, I saw and I ate.
Although it was just a weekend break, I have rather a lot to say so there may be a part II. It’s no secret I love Paris. I have been a good few times now so for this trip, most of the main tourist spots were off the agenda. The aim of this little break was to wander the streets and see what we stumbled across.
Some say Paris can be an expensive city to visit but I think that is the case with many cities (Melbourne and Copenhagen spring to mind). If you plan on staying and dining around the Champs-Elysées well then you are going to go through your money pretty quickly. If that is up your alley then go for it, but there are other ways to experience this great city on a more modest budget without feeling like you are missing out.
My priority when travelling is to have decent accommodation (clean and a working shower are a must), good food and a bit of spending money. If I am going to stay anywhere longer than two days I would check out AirBnB for accommodation. Mr B and I have done this for our last four holidays and have been fortunate enough to have had great apartments every time. I like the privacy of renting an apartment and it gives you the freedom of preparing food to take with you on your day out or just to have your own space to rest your weary feet.
As for food, well there a lots of ways not to spend a fortune in Paris. Bakeries are your best friend for both breakfast and lunch. If you are smart about which bakeries you are visiting then you can pick up a croissant and a baguette for next to nothing. Dinner is where I’m happy to spend a bit more money, although being vegetarian, I often feel limited for dinner options when in Paris. My French is non existent so I can sometimes feel overwhelmed if I can’t see a vegetarian option on a menu. This is where I do a bit of research but I have learnt it doesn’t always go to plan. That is one of the great things about Paris; with a restaurant on every corner, I know I’m not going to go hungry.
Besides shopping (I’ll save that for part II) the things that can eat up your money are transport and tourist attractions. If you are up for it, walk as much as you can. It is truly a great way of discovering a city or neighbourhood. As for tourist attractions, pick which ones you want to see and spend the money. There are always different offers, tour buses, free days for museums etc so do your research, but in my opinion, these experiences are money well spent.
Seeing as we were only going to be in Paris for two nights, we opted to stay in a hotel. It was my first time staying in the 9th arrondissement which was great. You are never going to see everything the city has to offer, especially in just a couple of days and that is one of the reasons I love Paris so much; you will always discover something new each time you visit and even more so when staying in a new area. New bakeries, new cafes, and new shops. I was happy.
Something new needs something old, just to even things out and I’m one for sentiment and romance so Mr B and I go to ‘our bakery’ every time we visit Paris. It’s nothing fancy but there is something about it that keeps us coming back. Everything about it is great and your senses go into overdrive the second you walk in the door. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the glass cabinets full of pastries and cakes (well mine do) but before your brain gets to register any of that you are greeted with a very loud and efficient ‘bonjour’ by the women behind the counter, some who we recognise from visit to visit. So with cakes to my right, baguettes, quiches and other savoury delights to my left, and straight ahead, baskets and basket of croissants and all kinds of beautiful breads. You can understand why I like it here so much!
With my belly well stocked with coffee, croissants and pain aux raisins, I was ready to face the wet, grey day ahead. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and when you plan on walking everywhere this can be kind of tough. But fret not, we managed to soldier on and had plenty of wine breaks and there was also plenty of time for me to duck into ‘just one more shop’.
Thankfully our last day in Paris was wonderful and was filled with sunshine and a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.
Stay tuned for my shopping tales and my most successful packing experience yet.