After living in Paris for five months, I feel that I have visited the most famous tourist attractions numerous times. Whilst I could very happily visit the Eiffel Tower or Louvre Museum every weekend and never get bored of the incredible views across the city or the face of the Mona Lisa, I decided that it was time to explore the more secret areas of Paris.
When I return back to the UK in approximately six weeks I want to know that I have made the most of my time in one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting cities. I found a book online called ‘Quiet Corners of Paris’, I thought this would be the perfect way to discover Paris away from the crowds of tourists. One of the book’s online reviews was from a lady who had lived in Paris for six months. This lady wrote that she wished she had bought this book when she lived in the city because, only now did she realise, that there were so many areas of Paris that she had not discovered. With so little time left in such a huge city, I made a note of my favourite places that the book recommended to visit.
Usually every Sunday my friends and I will venture off to explore another quiet and undiscovered area. The first time we all went exploring with the book we found the most tranquil little tearoom. The tearoom was situated along a small and very quiet alleyway that led off one of Paris’ busy streets in the area known as the Latin Quarter. The tearoom was full of delicious looking cakes and served an enormous amount of different types of tea, which came from all over the world. I enjoyed a cup of tea that came from the Middle East and, of course, a slice of thick and creamy sponge cake! It was really special to sit and talk with my friends in such a quiet area. I could not believe that just a few metres away were the noisy streets of Paris’ city centre. I felt as though I had truly discovered a new part of Paris.
Since this outing I have visited several parks, where it has been lovely to just sit and read in the Parisian sun and Parisian peace. I have also found that whilst looking for the quiet areas I have discovered different quarters of Paris too. For example, on one of my visits to a secluded park I discovered the ‘marais quarter’. This is an area with lots of little restaurants and bars and it seems to be one of the more quiet quarters of Paris. The Marais Quarter is composed of many old buildings, so I truly get a sense of the history of Paris.
I think that when someone is lucky enough to live in a city like Paris; it can become too easy to follow the crowd and only discover the most popular attractions. With the purchase of my book I feel that I can maximise my time left in France’s capital city.
Do you think that a guidebook is the best way to discover a city?