Ah, Paris! This is a place that has nestled a charming little home for itself in the global cultural mindset as perhaps the most romantic, artistic, historic, and iconic city in existence. How does one approach such a richly multifaceted city within a measly 72 hours…and does Paris, in fact, live up to the hype?
Well, my boyfriend EZ and I managed to squeeze in quite a lot in three days, although of course we couldn’t fit in everything, and lacked the luxury of a more leisurely pace. While Paris may not have been quite what I expected, it was definitely a vibrant city worth visiting. Explore our whirlwind itinerary and decide for yourself!
Our flight landed in Charles deGaulle airport on a misty Friday morning, and the metro whisked us into the city by late morning. EZ and I had booked lodgings at a cute little AirBnB apartment in Montmartre for a mere $88/night. Although it might have been more convenient logistics-wise to stay in central Paris, we wanted to avoid the crowds of tourists. Instead, we opted to immerse ourselves in a more authentic Parisian neighborhood.
After getting settled into the apartment, we walked down the street for lunch at Le Souris Verte at the recommendation of our AirBnB host. It was a unique, shabby-chic restaurant bedecked with industrial materials, second-hand objects, and old machines…along with an unwieldy disco ball. The wait staff was friendly, the food delicious. I reveled in my decadent ravioli, while Ezra enjoyed a fresh and flavorful harvest salad.
After lunch, EZ and I took the metro to the Tourism Office to pick up our reserved Paris Museum Pass, which would save us money on our collective visits to Paris’ museums and historical sights, while also allowing us to cut certain lines/queues. We then walked to our first proper stop, soaking in the sights of enchanting cafes, bistros, boulangeries (bakeries), and brasseries (relaxed restaurants/breweries), along with stately old structures.
Finally, we arrived at our first stop: Tuileries Garden, which was quite near the Louvre (although we were saving that time-suck for the last day) and within viewing distance of the Eiffel Tower’s spire (in fact, we spotted the tip of the tower from many parts of Paris…it’s almost impossible to get lost when you have the Eiffel Tower as a guidepost). We meandered around the arch between the gardens and the Louvre, then wandered through the lovely gardens that had served royal purposes centuries ago. We paid tribute to the many captivating sculptures along the garden path before enjoying glasses of wine by the water feature.
Next, we walked toward the Champs Elysees, passing some embellished fountains, lampposts, and structures along the way. Champs Elysees itself was a wide, commercial boulevard not unlike Hollywood Blvd. The street was lined with major retailers and overpriced restaurants, and tourists swarmed on every corner. EZ and I passed a huge crowd by a movie theater, which turned out to be awaiting the premiere event for Jurassic World. We also spotted a massive Louis Vuitton store, which must have been Mecca for fashionistas worldwide.
We soon reached the Arc de Triomphe, which, while certainly impressive, wasn’t as revered as I expected. Instead of standing amidst an awed crowd, the arch sat right in the middle of a major thoroughfare, cars zipping around it without a thought.
EZ and I quickly grew tired of Champs Elysees, which, while worth seeing, was a bit of a tourist trap. We sought a more local experience, so we hopped a metro to Canal Saint Martin, a notorious hipster hangout. And indeed, we found many such Parisian youths clustered along the canal drinking their pick of booze. There was an abundance of “man-buns” in sight…a phenomenon that, to my chagrin, would soon spread to the U.S. Our stroll along the canal was quite pleasant, and in straying down a side street, we stumbled upon a funky pizza joint known as the Pink Flamingo. The pizza was fantastic, and the blushing décor was an eclectic mix of American diner nostalgia, exuberant kitschiness, and obscure musical references. We walked around the block and followed up dinner with cocktails at Bar Marcel, a chic, sleek restaurant and bar with man-buns galore.
After enjoying the bar scene for a bit, EZ and I were exhausted…and we had a chock-full day ahead of us. So we headed back to the apartment for some chill time before bed (and a nifty pull-down bed it was, at that! The Parisians sure know how to make good use of space).
To be continued… Read Day 2