A stroll in the City of Love – Part 2
Strolling through Paris and seeing its many historical monuments was amazing on its own. But if you’re looking for some experiences that will embellish your stay (as I did), try a few of these!
Walk in Sartre’s footsteps
I managed to do half the circuit before my feet gave way (lesson to wear more comfortable shoes!!!) but the article here outlines the perfect way. It's a fun way to walk in history's footsteps, imagining what the existentialist of the era and the great minds were conversing about.
Feed the pigeons
You might want to avoid doing it in a large space like Notre Dame, where hundreds (if not thousands) of them gather. But feeding the pigeons in a quieter park (as I did below in a park in Cergy-Pontoise) is like watching animal channel!
Take your time, and listen
Around Sacré Coeur, I ran into two beautiful demonstrations. One was a group that sang a well-known song, and the other was a gentle old man singing a chansonette. It doesn’t get more romantic than hearing the melody!
(I'll be posting that video on my fb page!)
Then there was the young man singing in the plaza across from the Eiffel Tower... <3
And the guys ripping people off with a game in the Montmartre district haha:
Jardin de Luxembourg
This is easily one of my favourite places! Though it was packed, it’s large enough that you can spend an entire day alternating between sun and shade, and the views are positively astounding! Sitting in the shade with a picnic, you can easily imagine how the kings of France spent their summers there with their courts.
This is not a spot that you can enter and leave in 5min, but rather something to be savoured – like an amazing wine.
Sounds kind of weird, shopping for groceries while on vacation, right? But if you’d like to avoid spending large amounts of money and dining out all the time, this is one easy way to lower your cost.
We were staying in Cergy-Pointoise, about 40min outside of Paris, and one such store was Auchan. Think of a Costco, twice the size and on two levels, with amazing deals, and you get the picture. The foods are fresh, the liquours galore (and cheap! Some wines will cost as little as 2 euros) and the cheese… Yum!!! Definitely worth experiencing!
And if you're into fresh foods, then the daily food markets are perfect!
Speaking of shopping, my best day in Paris was on a Saturday as I went with my mom to a brocante. It's basically a market where various vendors pay the city a fee and can set up under a tent to sell their wares. The particular one we went to was an antiquities one, and it was amazing! You can negotiate prices and can walk away with some pretty amazing things!
Besides a few decorative items, I walked away with 2 Lampe Bergers. They're air purifiers that in Canada I paid $50 for, and I got them from a lady in France for 1 euro each!
Forget renting a car in Paris. It’s useless and will cause more trouble than help you out. There is practically no space to park anywhere and if you’re not a seasoned driver in Europe, you risk accidents. Parisian drivers don’t joke!
Much better is spending your money on public transportation and traveling in style. For 28 euros (per week) you can get a Navigo pass. This is a pass that can be used on buses, subways, trains, you name it! It’s a cost-effective way of traveling, and if you hop on a bus at ground-level to travel in any direction, you’ll see much more than you would with a car, where your attention is focused on avoiding pedestrians and other drivers.
There are tons of places to eat in Paris, but you might want to avoid cafes and restaurants near large tourist attractions, as you’ll be paying double. One place I absolutely loved was Gyro’s. Located in the Quartier Latin (latin neighbourhood), it’s a jewel in disguise. The food is amazing and the service top notch! He also has this cool wall with currencies from all over the world!
Just be aware of the copy-cats – there’s a few Gyro’s around there!
As for the pizza, that was from a little pizzeria around the Luxembourg Gardens. Notice how the Coke is made in Denmark haha :)
The futuristic toilets
My mom laughed when I took pictures, but I was astounded at the great thinking behind this! In Paris, around any big tourist attraction or down busy streets, you’ll find public toilets.
Open 24/7, they’re free to use. And aside from an entirely automatic system, they clean themselves from top to bottom after each use! So no smelling pee when you go in – trust me on that!
In order to avoid leaving you with the image of toilets in mind, I’ll share another thing I thoroughly enjoyed in my trip: nature.
A little love & nature
In Cergy-Pointoise, there’s a little park where two swans chose to build a nest. Around them as well are some ducklings, and a few streets away is yet another park filled with bunnies! These two jewels hidden in an otherwise fairly populated cited amazed me with the experience of being so close to these animals. If you enjoy bird watching or a quiet stroll, they’re a must!
I went multiple times to see the swans, who had oddly built their nest near a fence. The female was sitting on 6 eggs, while the male was the lookout most of the time. I'll be sharing some videos of them on my social media, so follow if you haven't yet! :)
And some videos!
And last but not least, these are the pics & video taken taking off from France, heading back to Canada :)
Hope you enjoyed <3