Recently I won the FA equivalent of the goddamn lottery and ended up with three glorious days off in Paris.
Eager to make up for 20 odd years of Parisian dreaming, I chalked up 15-20km on foot each day, crawling back into my hotel as the clock struck midnight while half expecting my reality to return to pumpkins at any moment.
If anyone has ever told you Paris is overrated, dirty, unsafe, or dull, do what I effectively did by covering your ears and shouting “LALALALALA” until you just get there and conclude that you are truly the real-life embodiment of Amelie with your fresh raspberries and camera slung around your neck, and you shan’t be returning. Sorry.
I will say, go in summer (although to be fair if I’d been in winter I may be giving different advice) and eat salted caramel Berthillon ice-cream on Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île. After that, allow the waiter to casually recommend the pear flavour for “next time” and watch him attempt to supress his vague look of French disdain when you order it immediately.
My top picks;
- Breakfast at Claus (prepare to wait; you are NOT the priority here, peasant)
- Accidentally walk towards the Seine, realise that’s the real life Eiffel Tower in the distance, and promptly cry for no reason in public behind your new Parisian-esque Karen Walker sunglasses because you finally, finally made it here and even though you’re by yourself it’s strangely the most romantic moment you have ever felt and think you will ever feel (see photo below taken from the bridge to immortalise the moment)
- Pompidou if you have time because its MASSIVE, same with the Musée D’orsay
- Wander the gorgeous boutiques at Le Merais – admire the archways, brickwork, plants and doors; realise you are sounding more and more like your mother
- Try not to accidentally have eaten too much at breakfast so you can fit in falafel from Rue de Rosier, the one with the green awning – nice one Nadia
- See Notre Dame from the outside, which is a lot free-er
- Visit Shakespeare & Co Bookstore, instead of realising you forgot and are now 5 suburbs away
- Burger, Mac n’ Cheese and dessert at Ferdi so you can die happy (MUST book)
- Eat said ice-cream from Le Flore en L’Île before it melts in the 30 degree heat
- Remember fashion is important and that you suddenly need to “buy all the things”
- Pay too much for a boat along the seine because your feet ache
- Go to the Eiffel Tower and take photos of everything from the also-free ground
- Remind yourself to visit Le Palais du Tokyo next time because you’ve trekked 20km, it closes in an hour and you are wondering if you’ll ever walk again
- Eat and drink your way through the most quintessential cafes you can find, especially Le The near the Picasso museum
- Fall in love at the Picasso museum and question what you’ve achieved in life comparatively
- Master the metro and nail your French with the lady behind the glass
- Swan around with Mandy in the Rodin gardens
- Order an omelette and overpriced orange juice from a cute tiny glass at Café de Flore because people like Georges Bataille, Pablo Picasso and Caroline Presbury ate there
- Try the fancy Pierre Hermé passionfruit macaroons
- Contemplate an early retirement as you stroll through the perfectly manicured Jardin de Luxembourg
- Eat steak frites at Le Relais, impress everyone with a joke in French
- Lament the wasted time searching for a laundromat while you could have been doing more ‘Amelie things’
- Spend 5 hours in the nude at the BEST SPA IN THE WORLD Hammam Pacha, where “gummies” will come and scrub you and massage you and love you and leave you otherwise undisturbed in the sanctity of the tiled Hammam with multiple pools and steam rooms (women’s only, suckers)
- Peruse St Germain, twice
- Enjoy your own company
- Accidentally forget to eat a croissant the entire time
- Message your Mum to say I wish you were here (et tu me manques, Maman)
- Post a blog about the best time you’ve ever had and what it’s like to be the luckiest girl in the world. x