One and Not Done Trips
This trip for me was pretty unique, because it is one of the few where I actually stayed in one city in Europe for an extended period of time, and looking back I comfortably can say, I really saw and got to know Paris. In April of 2011, a couple girlfriends and I spent 10 days there, and we did it to death. I'm sure we didn't see EVERYTHING, but we got in a lot. We stayed in two different Airbnb apartments, one was a basic flat in the Latin Quarter right across the river from Notre Dame- which was the perfect spot to explore that whole area, St Germain, the Catacombs, the Pantheon, Pont Alexandre bridge, and many gardens nearby. Our second place was a gorgeous 5th floor apartment by the Arc de Triomphe, with the tiniest one person elevator that took you to a baller apartment with views of the Eiffel Tower. From there it was really easy to walk to not only the tower and the arc itself, but all the museums, the Louvre and it's gardens, place des vosges, place de bastille, etc. And we did a ton of walking, we walked the hell out of this city. The public transit here is also amazing, and for a few day trips we had no problem using it to get to Versailles, Pere Lachaise Cemetary (Jim Morrison's grave), Sacre-Coeur, and Champagne for different day trips. For the most part, the weather was really nice. Going in early April was kind of a crapshoot- you never know what you are going to get. A few days we needed light jackets and jeans, others tank tops and shorts. But no storms to speak of- which is great because you want to be able to walk everywhere! A word of caution: remember, you are in a large city. Just be aware of your surroundings and personal belongings. It didn't happen to me or my friends on our trip, but other friends have told me in Paris they were pickpocketed, or their phone was stolen, etc. Honestly, this happens in NYC so not unique to Paris at all, but just something to note.
Some of the highlights for me of this trip:
-Views: This city gives amazing views. The best in my opinion were from the top of Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, and the Arc de Triomphe. We did not stand it line to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and frankly any photo without it in the background would probably look weird! So don't worry about having to waste time in line on that, there are plenty of other spots to get that perfect instagram photo!
-The Parks: There are a ton of parks in the city which are great for a picnic lunch, a run through, or just to check out the beautiful landscaping.
-The Catacombs: This is a must-do. You have to buy a ticket to go through them but don't let that deter you. It's freaky and weird and just so cool!
-The Food: Faves: Almond croissants at any Boulangerie, (French) Onion Soup, the hot chocolate at Angelina
-The Day Trips: only an hour away you have the Palace of Versailles and Champagne. These are both worth doing for a quick getaway when you need a break from the city. We toured the house of Moet and Chandon in Champagne and had lunch in the little town (yes Champagne is the name of the region, not just the booze).
-The Vibe: We've all heard the French are rude and hate Americans. I did not get this vibe at all. Everyone was nice enough, would speak English once they realized I couldn't speak French. I think sometimes the tone French people have comes off harsh sometimes, but I really felt they were just being direct. Also, the restaurant scene is so laid back- amazing food options everywhere but totally chill if you just want a table to sit at and drink all day (champagne or espresso- no one rushes you!)
I really hope to one day get back to Paris to experience it again, this time with Joe, and to check out other parts of France!