Trying to be a local in Paris
Some of my friends and I have just returned from a weekend in Paris. Now of course there is plenty to do in Paris as a tourist: the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre museum, the Sacré Coeur, a river cruise along the Seine and shopping along the famous Champs Elysées. All of these things are all stunning and well worth a visit….
However since my friends and I had already been to Paris several times already we decided to try and spend a weekend as locals in Paris and we also set ourselves the goals of making most of our activities free! We rented a beautiful Parisian apartment close to the Gare de l’Est in the 10th district of Paris. The apartment was in a grand building in a lovely private courtyard, we really felt like true Parisians staying. The street where we stayed was full of multicultural things and was bustling with life, there was an array of restaurants, bars, cafés and bakeries. Here is a breakdown of what we got up to over the weekend.
We arrived in Paris on Friday lunchtime and went straight to our apartment. We then went for a walk around our area and realised how close we were to the centre of Paris. It only took us 20 minutes to walk to the Louvre. After a walk around the Tuileries gardens, we went for afternoon tea in a café called Angelina which has the most delicious hot chocolate. After warming up we then walked along to the big department store 'Printemps', on the top floor there is a terrace where you get a wonderful view of Paris (this was free!). We walked along a street called ‘Grands Boulevards’ which was beautiful with all its Christmas lights. The shops on this street are famous for their Christmas window displays. In the evening we cooked at the apartment and went to a Scottish pub which was funny as two of my friends are Scottish.
In the morning we went for brunch (a meal between breakfast and lunch) at a really cool café called FAB (French American bakery), we had waffles with bacon and fresh carrot and ginger juice. We found out that we were really close to a chocolate museum, so of course we took a visit - who doesn’t love chocolate! In the afternoon we went to a Christmas market with unique handmade gifts and crafts. In the evening we ate at a Tunisian restaurant and had roast chicken and vegetable stew with couscous. It was delicious and the restaurant was tucked away in a cute little lane.
On Sunday we went for breakfast at the same café and we caught our train back home at midday, carrying shopping bags full of lovely presents that we had bought at the Christmas market. We had a great weekend in Paris. Exploring this beautiful city with no plans was an unusual but great idea as we got to do things we wouldn’t normally discover. I highly recommend spending a weekend somewhere trying to be a local!