Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Paris Guide!

Paris, my favorite city abroad.
This post was so nostalgic to write! It's been a little over a week since I've returned and this was by far my best adventure in Paris yet. 
Notice I didn't say France, that will always go to my 2008 exchange student trip when I studied in Rouen about 90 minutes outside of Paris (by train). 


I want to give you the low-down on:
 +which restaurants/bars we loved
+where we stayed
+what activities to do
and some tips for travel in Paris!


Before you go:
(1) Check with your phone provider about your plan. I use ATT, it was $10 a day to have the same plan abroad as I have at home, which (lucky for me) was unlimited everything! Basically ATT towers connect you to local towers when you arrive. Easy!
(2) Check your ATM plans with banks and credit cards.
Capital one charges NO travel fees.
My bank reimburses for any other ATMs and there was no fee on top of the regular fee.
Because of this, I waited until I arrived, and used an ATM at the airport for euros. 
(3) Make sure you have a converter for your plugs.


Packing:
I HIGHLY recommend using the smallest suitcase possible if you plan to take trains and metros to get to Paris (cheapest method) or honestly just in general. Paris is not built for large pieces of luggage. You'll get stuck in the metro exits (I witnessed this happening), and even the walkways are very small in many places. The lighter the better. Some metros either just have stairs or the escalators tend to often be broken. Plan on being able to carry whatever you have up and down stairs! Most places (air BNB's) have a washer (but be warned, no dryer, so they do usually provide a drying rack). I loved washing my clothes halfway through to save room!

How to get to Paris from CDG Airport, the CHEAPEST way:
You will want to look up where you are staying ahead of time to see which metro stop is the closest. We stayed in Bercy Village first, so our stop was right by the village. You will take the RER B train direct from the airport to a connecting train stop (with several metro connections), the easiest for us was Gare du Nord. 
However, it was also the only way we could go, as there was a SNCF strike that day. 
By the way, in the event of a strike, you can still take trains, but it will be a bit more delayed. It's worth saying, as there are strikes pretty often in Paris. 

Side note: How I feel about UBER in France- Unless you have a good grasp of the french language (fluent status) and Paris...avoid and take a taxi. Taxis in France are actually cheaper than Uber. We found this out on the last day...oye. 


Metro Pass:
Recommend (if you are staying a week or more) getting the week long unlimited metro pass. 
It's about $27 and is unlimited metro stops so you can go everywhere you want as many times as you want. If you stay more than a week- no problem- just reload!



OK! Which "touristy" sites are worth seeing:
I avoid most tourist places like the plague. I'm not a fan of touristy spots in different countries, and prefer to live and see like a local. However there are some places that are a must for your first time in Paris, so I'll give you the low down. 
+Notre Dame Cathedral 
-See the architecture and take a photo in front of it.
+ Tour d'Eiffel/Eiffel Tower
-don't recommend paying to go up. 
Who wants a view of Paris in photos without the tower?
Plus, it's shakey at the top. Yikes!
+Sacre Coeur/MontMartre 
- Beautiful town and cathedral, great views of the city.
+Arc de Triomphe
- also conveniently shows you the way to Champs-Elysees, the Rodeo Drive of Paris.
+Champs-Elysees
- shopping, more shopping, in winter = amazing Christmas Markets
+ The Louvre
- Mona Lisa, among other amazing works of art.
Plus Bey & Jay vibes. I mean...what's better?
+ Versailles Palace
- the gold, the mirrors, what's not to love. 
it's truly amazing.
+ Mont Saint Michel
- just make sure you don't go at high tide, it becomes an island!
Home of the best Croque Monsieur in Paris. 


When to go:
Springtime or Summer
Fall starts getting cold, winter is VERY cold.


Where to stay:
Want to live like a local? Stay in Marais.
We went to all of the arrondissements in Paris (I'm still tired) and by far my favorite was Marias.
Why? 
It's trendy, not overly expensive, hardly any tourists, and amazing food and bars. 
There were plenty of cute stores, it's close to all major stops by metro, and there is so much to do!
I really miss the fact that there was amazing coffee, pastries and food on every corner at any given time. 
Also recommend an air BNB, it was the coolest thing to stay in actual Paris homes/apartments.


Favorites

Restaurants:
Le Mary Celeste
L'Ilot (oysters)
Chalet des Iles Daumesnil
Pink Flamingo Marais
Les Chouettes 
Les Funambules 
Muesli's Bar 
Richer

Bars:
Au Petit Fer A Cheval 
La Belle Hortense (library bar)
Cafe la Perle 
Chai33

Macarons:
Pierre Herme (Marais)

Type of Coffee to ask for:
Noisette 
Cafe au lait 

Parks:
Square du Temple (for a picnic)
Parc Zoologique de Paris
Parc de Bercy
Places des Vosges
Jardin du Luxembourg

Juice Bar:
Wild & Moon (Marais)

Stores:
Nature et Decouvertes
La Maison du Savon de Marseille
Petit Bateau (kids)

Activity:
Bike Tour - Promenade Plantee 
Walking Tours (free online)


A few last things:
Grocery store tips:
There are several - just look for an "Intermarche".
We are partial to Carrefour but most of them are great. 
The electric GREEN CROSS signifies a pharmacy and they are on just about every corner. They have several of the same products from home!



Currently on trend in fashion:
Still flats for shoes, but also some sandals.
Plain white sneakers. 
High waisted, tie shorts. 
Sundresses. 
Simple ankle length pants with blouse. 
Yellow rain coats.
Scarves as shoulder covers in the evenings. 


Let me know if you are planning to go- I will tell you where the secret speakeasy was...maybe :).

-SBR



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