Saturday, 25 Mar 2023

Top 12 things to see in Paris

I always dreamed about moving to Paris. And eventually, many years later, me and my gi-normous suitcase arrived there . Since then I have fallen in love with this fast moving city, its slightly arrogant population and dirty subways. These are some of my favorite spots that I don’t think anyone should miss out on…

12. The Eiffel Tower

Even though I am slightly against it, it still somehow feels like it’s a given visit should you happen to be in Paris. If you have the slightest fear of heights – or creaky elevators – I strongly suggest you check out the rest of the list.

11. Bateaux Mouches

I promised myself never to go on one of those sightseeing boats on this extremely dirty river. Then, each time I found myself on one of them I was equally surprised of how much I enjoyed it. It gives you another view of this stunningly beautiful city with all its different areas – in less than an hour. Don’t waste your time taking millions of pictures – just sit back, watch the other crazy tourists run around, and enjoy the ride.

10. Sacre Coeur

After having passed through a crowded Montmartre you arrive at the Sacre Coeur. With many street artists, singers and tourists there is no doubt you are in Paris – but Sacre Coeur is well worth a visit even though it’s touristy feel. Go there to enjoy the spectacular view that completely takes your breath away, and to see the basilica itself, which is absolutely gorgeous on the inside.

9. Breakfast at “Le pain quotidien”

At this organic café in the heart of Marais you can enjoy a nice French style breakfast with a croissant (or a pain au chocolat if that’s what gets you going), baguette and a nice warm beverage.

I love this place, and I come back because of the cozy feeling I get sitting round their huge tables, eating my breakfast with strangers. This is all about meetings between people and cultures – around a nice cup of French roasted coffee.

8. Catacombs of Paris

Catacombes de Paris is a giant underground ossuary holding the remains of about 6 million people. It might seem morbid to go underground to be surrounded by dead people from centuries back but I couldn’t help the feeling of excitement knowing I’d soon be facing death.

Walking through long, dark and seemingly never ending tunnels until entering “L’empire de la mort” (The empire of death) where skulls and bones forms peculiar patterns around the passages, really makes you appreciate the daylight – and life.

This is quite popular though, so make sure you’re there early and bring snacks as the queues literally go around the block.

7. L’As du Falafel, Rue des Rosiers

In the Jewish quarter of Marais the air is filled with a lovely smell of freshly made falafel. There are a bunch of places selling the jewish specialty, but only one is worth the wait.

The line might be long to L’As du Falafel, but the falafel melts in your mouth in a way you never though fast food could. Don’t miss out!

6. Coiffeur Vintage, Rue des Rosiers

Just next to L’As du Falafel you find a tiny, but well filled, vintage shop. For those of you who prefer buying new clothes you needn’t bother, but if you like the smell of vintage clothes and the feeling of making a bargain – this is the place to shop.

Prices are real low – you can buy a fur coat for less than 50 euro and it’s not uncommon to get a hold of a nice designer piece. The shop is quite crowded – but stays open until late in the evenings with less people trying to find a bargain.

5. Centre Pompidou

The Pompidou building alone is worth seeing. I am not sure if I think it’s cool and edgy or completely tacky but there is no denying that it leaves an impression. I do love le Louvre but Pompidou is more accessible in a way.

I find it easier to digest – especially if you only have 1 hour of your precious vacation time scheduled for this visit. Come here to see their permanent collection featuring artists such as Matisse, Miró and Picasso, but do have a look at the temporary expositions as well.

While there, don’t miss out on the detour to les Halles, the super famous shopping centre 2 minutes away from Pompidou.

4. La Perle, Rue Vieille du Temple

This trendy Parisian bar is not only where Galliano racist rants was caught on camera but also the place where you want to be seen. Hang out with fashionistas, models and designers in this typical Paris café style bar.

You don’t go here because of the place itself but because of the people – this isn’t for everyone but if you want to hang with the fashion people of Paris – go go go!

3. Ladurée at Chams Elysées

What a way to combine two great things – shopping and sweets! Champs Elysées isn’t my favourite place for shopping in Paris – but there’s no denying it is a massively huge boulevard with many fancy shops.

At the far end of the street there’s the Place de la Concorde and the Jardin de Tuileries. Walk towards the Arc de Triomphe and you will find Ladurée on your left hand side.

I have a soft spot for anything sweet – and I absolutely love the macarons from this world famous café. You can buy the macarons all over the world, but some believe this particular place is the best you can get.

2. Picnic at Jardin du Luxembourg

The Jardin du Luxembourg is beautiful. It is also where the French go to relax a warm summer day. This is a perfect spot for a picnic. It gives you time to see the garden and get a feel for French life as well as resting your feet after a long days walk. Yes, being in Paris means walking. A lot.

1. Père Lachaise

Again, one of those morbid things you don’t really want to admit you like. I do. When I went there I got completely lost at first, I then found out that you could get maps at one of the entrances.

Strongly recommend that as this is a huge cemetery and a map will make it easier to find your way through the passages. Many go to see rock legend Jim Morrison’s grave.

As did I but I barely remember it. What I do remember is the tomb of Oscar Wilde. Go and make up your own mind about it.

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