Adventuring through the Parisian cobblestone walkways, looking at the Renaissance architecture and drinking as much French wine as we could carry back to the flat are some of the best ways to experience Paris.
Over Easter holidays, two of my best friends, Kiani and JD, came across the pond to visit lil’ ole me. They spent a couple days in our teeny-tiny flat with Nick and I as we took them around Berlin, and then we all flew off to Paris together for a weekend in the city of love! First and foremost, can I just say how much I LOVED Paris?! I feel like this is one of those destinations that people seriously hype up and can often leave tourists feeling a little underwhelmed when they finally get there (I.E: The Paris Effect), but I thought it was a great place to check out, and I plan on going back someday. The weather was beautiful, literally EVERYTHING we ate was so fucking good, and all of the customer service (except for one broad in McD’s who was obviously going through something very serious), was amazing.
Nick and I were on a different flight from our friends, so early Friday morning we flew to Paris, landing at the Orly Airport. In order to save money, we opted out of taking an Uber or Taxi to our hotel because that would’ve been hellllla expensive. Instead, we planned on taking public transit. We bought our tickets at the airport and thought we would be on our merry way, we were so, so wrong. To get to the zone where our hotel was located, we had to take the West Bus to get to our connecting station in the city. The West Bus was an absolute joke; there’s one bus that runs on a loop continuously throughout the day, and by the time it gets to the airport to pick people up it is literally packed to the point that no new passengers can get on. Like sardines in a can packed, don’t bother stopping at this bus stop packed. We had to wait outside the airport for over an hour in order to get on a bus that had enough space for us. Once we got to our connecting station, we hopped on a subway and then walked like ten minutes to our hotel.
As we had arrived in the early afternoon, and check-in wasn’t for a couple of hours, so Nick and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood and found this cute little cafe to stop off at for lunch. The weather was gorgeous in Paris, so we sat outside on the patio and enjoyed our lunch in the sunshine. They offered free water and bread, which is entirely unheard of in Berlin, or a lot of other places in Europe for that matter. I ordered a cappuccino and a really tasty Niscoise salad, Nick had steak and eggs with a side of fries. While all of the food we had in Paris was awesome, Nick and I both agree that this place was probably our favourite meal. After lounging at the cafe’s patio, it was beginning to creep towards check-in time, so we made our way back to the hotel to access the room. We stayed at Apartment WS Hôtel de Ville; this place was a weird crossbreed between an AirBnb and a hotel. It was marketed as a hotel, but definitely functioned like an AirBnb; no staff onsite, no cleaning service to turn over your rooms or to bring you extra toilet paper. The lack of easily accessible staff was a bit of a nuisance when we first checked in because our wifi wasn’t working. Neither Nick or I have phone plans in Europe, we just use our phones on wifi. Being as we had no access to internet, we couldn’t get in touch with the staff of this establishment to fix our wifi connection until Kiani and JD showed up and were able to contact them on their data. We were able to get everything fixed in the end, but this relates back to every hotel I’ve stayed in with unreliable wifi — it’s 2018, why does this still happen? The world runs on wifi.
Once JD and Kiani arrived, we all got ready to take on the city. We stopped off for our first meal all together, had a drink and then we were off to The Louvre. This museum is entirely deceptive from the outside, because once you’re inside it is HUGE; literal mile-long hallways adorned with thousands of artworks, it was insane. I’m still on a high over seeing Mona Lisa in person, I genuinely didn’t think that would be something I’d ever be able to see. After spending a couple hours at the Louvre, we spent the evening walking around the city and checking out whatever we came across. We found ourselves in a 24/7 wine store where they had tastings and wine for purchase, it was a really neat little shop! The guy that worked there was super helpful, and didn’t judge us for asking for cheap wine. We told him what we were interested in trying, the price point we were comfortable with spending and he suggested a bunch for us to try out. So, naturally we bought a bottle each and headed back to the hotel. On the way back to the hotel, we grabbed some McDonald’s and pizza for a lazy night of wine drinking and late-night munching.
We had a lazy morning on Saturday, we all took our time getting out of bed and starting the day. Once we were up and at ‘em, we headed towards the Notre Dame. It was early afternoon by the time we got there, and the grounds outside were absolutely packed with tourists. So, if you don’t like big crowds or are an avid photographer who needs the perfect shot, go either really early or really late. After we spent some time in the grounds outside, we lined up and headed inside the church to check things out. This was probably the biggest cathedral I’ve ever been in, and also the prettiest. The lighting fixtures, the stained glass windows, the ceiling; everything was so pretty. After we finished up at the Notre Dame Cathedral, we went for a walk by the Seine river and went to a really lovely bakery. We all picked up a few classic Parisian treats to try; Nick and I each got a plain butter croissant and a small assortment of macarons. I have had macarons on one other occasion in Amsterdam, and I didn’t really enjoy them. I was willing to give them a second shot though as we were in Paris and pastries are kind of their thing. I was equal parts confused and pleased with our macarons; we had a variety of flavours but, I found that for the most part they all kind of tasted pretty similar, unless it was a very distinct flavour. If I was having a blind taste test of those macarons, I don’t know if I would know the difference in the majority of them. While macarons aren’t my new favourite sweet, they are definitely still worth trying out! After our stop at the bakery, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our dinner reservations. JD had made us reservations at this well-known burger place; I lucked out with one vegetarian friendly falafel burger on the menu. We spent a couple hours eating and drinking before heading off to the evening’s main attraction; the Eiffel Tower!!! We spent some time in the park drinking wine and taking photos before lining up to go to the top. Once we were at the top, we hung out on the two different observation decks and took in the views of the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower. After spending a few hours at the Eiffel Tower, we hopped on the subway and took a quick detour to the Arc de Triomphe! The remainder of Saturday night followed the same pattern as Friday’s — lots of wine and snacks once we were back at the hotel.
We checked out of the hotel Sunday morning and all had some time to kill before parting ways, so we ventured off to see the Pantheon. I didn’t have a lot of cash left, so Nick and I opted to not go inside and sat outside in the sunshine with the luggage. JD checked it out and said it was really cool though!
Unfortunately, the time had come for us to go our separate ways — Nick and I back to Berlin and JD and Kiani continuing on their European adventure. Paris was an absolute dream, I’m so glad I got to see it with some of my favourite people!