Even before I arrived in Paris I was excited to explore the city. Working full time would leave me my weekends free, especially if I got my planning done at work, and I wanted to use those free weekends to do as much as I could.
Today was my first day doing just that! I had a vague idea of where I was going and what to expect, maybe, but I had no particular plan or route, just to wander and lose myself in the streets of this wonderful city, and maybe discover something great.
I met with a friend for my first time exploring Paris, more specifically a part of Paris called the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) which is in a heavily student-populated area thanks to numerous university buildings in that area. We started at Place Saint Michel and immediately headed off down a side street. Being Sunday, everywhere but the bars and bistros were closed, so unfortunately we couldn’t go into any of the many bookshops that make up a fair amount of the shops, but it was interesting to wander around and see the area.
We managed to walk our way out of the busy area and down some quieter side streets which led us to the river, so we decided to walk along the river and then cross a bridge into the Jardin des Tuileries (Tuileries Garden) and up to Place de la Concorde (Concorde Place). We then realised we were really quite hungry so headed back the way we had come to find somewhere to get some food.
We walked back into the back streets and happened upon a road with a whole load of bistros serving French food. They all had really good deal menus, and we eventually chose one which had an ‘express’ menu (like a basic menu) which included a starter, main and dessert for only 10 euros! For my starter I had French onion soup, and I finally got to tick something off my Hello France: Five Things I Want To Do list! It was every bit as amazing as I was expecting it to be, and I am deathly serious about saying I could happily eat it every day. The onions were super soft, and paired with the French bread and melted, grated cheese it was just divine. For my main I had steak with a pepper sauce which was yummy. I am having to get used to the French levels of cooking a steak, as they don’t seem to be the same as the English, but despite being a little undercooked for my liking it was still lovely. Finally for dessert I had chocolate mousse which I had been wanting to eat for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately I have no photo but it was also really nice.
The bistro itself was small, but a nice place. They also serve raclette and fondue meals which I definitely want to try at some point! A couple on the table next to us ordered a raclette but the flame didn’t seem to want to work and in trying to fix it the waiter managed to set the table and a chair on fire, which was pretty funny! He didn’t seem to bothered…maybe it’s a regular occurrence!!
After our very reasonably priced meal, we went for a hot chocolate in good old Starbucks. We then jumped on the RER C (an inner-city train) to go to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkling. We walked along the river to the tower and it started sparkling as we got to just the right point. It was insanely beautiful, absolutely mesmerising. Almost surreal! It sparkled for five minutes and then stopped, and we went for a walk around the Champ de Mars gardens. We managed to unintentionally spend an hour walking around the gardens, and as we walked back towards the tower to go on to Trocadero to get the Metro, the tower started to sparkle again. It was just as amazing the second time round, and I guess everyone else thought so too – we spotted a couple properly sucking face (not even an exaggeration) which continued for at least 10 minutes. Shocking behaviour. (It was hilarious!)
To finish our evening we crossed the river and walked up to the Cité de l’Architecture, which was a good place to get a few more photos and also where we got on the Metro to go home. It was a tiring afternoon/evening, and we did lots of walking, but I had a great time and really enjoyed just being out and about in Paris.
(Sorry for the Eiffel Tower spam but it’s just so amazing, I couldn’t help but take a billion photos! They’re a little blurry, so I want to take my tripod out one night to get some better photos.)
Next weekend I am going to the Chinese New Year parade on the Sunday, and my Saturday is as yet unplanned, so maybe I will go for a walk into Montmartre and explore a little bit more in my area. If you have been to Paris, or if you live in Paris, and you have somewhere you recommend, let me know!
Until next time,