Bonjour, mon petit painters!
Why am I speaking French? Well, I was in France last week, more precisely Paris. I know, I know, I’m super lucky! But I can tell you we made a huge mistake, though: we only stayed one full day, the other two days were pretty much ruined with arriving and departing. This was an awful idea because I barely had any time to relax and we had to run around instead of really enjoying the city.
People usually stay about 4 full days in Paris, and I’d say that’s a good number as to not break the bank, since the life cost there, compared to Portugal, is through the roof! Getting an apartment might be the best idea, since if you’re staying longer, you’ll save on accommodation and specially food! If you go to any street cafe, a single course dish will be over 10€ and a menu (la formule) might be around 14-16€. Just imagine spending that much money twice a day! And the cheapest cup of coffee I saw was 1,20€, when here that would be 0,50€. The most expensive cup of coffee was 3,80€ at a small restaurant – just imagine the cost in a fancy one!
As far as views go, there isn’t one boring moment. People will look at you like you’re a tourist, but who cares if you’ve been staring at a building for 5 minutes? It’s a gorgeous building! Like the others around it, honestly. That’s why Paris has a vibe, a je ne sais quois: it’s full of jaw dropping architecture, charming little cafes, great smelling food and fashionable people. Now, don’t be fooled – there’s also a lot of the opposite, nasty smells and trash, degraded buildings, people begging, pickpockets and such, which is predictable in such a huge, cosmopolitan city. So you have a lot of diversity in Paris, but that’s just part of the charm.
Getting around the city isn’t hard at all – there’s plenty of public transportation coverage, with the metro, buses, tram, funicular and the RER. We got a Mobilis pass the first two days, it’s 7€ per day and you can travel all you want within zones 1 and 2, which are the ones that matter anyway 😉 There’s loads of lines, so that’s very confusing, but if you try to get a bit familiar with it and try to keep calm in the face of adversity (which I was awful at all, sadly), you’ll be just fine! It’s not worth getting a car, because it will be expensive and there’ll be loads of traffic. The metros I took, on the other hand, ran by the station every 10 minutes at the most.
I also recommend going when it’s sunny, everything looks prettier! There are so many gardens and, because it was a holiday, everyone was out in the gardens, eating lunch and enjoying the sun. It was beautiful and peaceful, so I don’t think even snow would beat that for me! We also went for a boat ride in the Seine, which made me feel far more relaxed and let me rest for a while. The sights are gorgeous, you get to see all the bridges and several monuments and the movement of the river is super calming – don’t worry, you won’t get seasick 😛
There are also a ton of churches, which are always my favorite monuments because of how peaceful and impressive they are both inside and outside. Paris’ churches were made in a time of deep detail, and that makes them absolutely haunting. Notre Dame was a bit less impressive than I expected in the front, but when we went inside and around I finally got to see all the gothic architecture I love! And Sacré Coeur was a beautiful surprise, it filled me with a great sense of wonder.
My favorite non-sightseeing moments were walking around Montmartre, down through these really picturesque little streets, walking down an avenue filled with typical parisien houses, parallel to Champs de Mars, hanging out at Jardins du Luxembourg and walking around my hotel at Canal Saint-Martin. Also eating pain du chocolat and having a coffee in the bakery next door, it was so good! Though food might have been all of my favorite moments, now that I think about it 😛
All in all, I’m so happy we went, although I do feel sad I couldn’t enjoy it more. But, don’t worry, painters, I’m already making plans for next time 😉 Au revoir, Paris!
Stay awesome – or should I say, séjour génial!