This post picks up where this post left off, on our fourth day in Paris.
Eiffel Tower? Check. Standing in line at Versailles? Check. Paris by day and by night? Definite check. Countless croissants? Checkity check check. So now the question was, how do we make the most out of two more days in this city after we had already seen everything?
Turns out we hadn’t seen everything.
Day Four: The City on the Hill
One of the things I got extremely good at while in Paris was navigating the metro. Public transportation is one of my favorite things to use while abroad because it makes me feel like a local. Taxi? No siree, I will figure out how to read this metro map in a foreign language thank you very much. I am traveler, hear me roar!
Just a note though, the tickets cannot be used all day, contrary to the opinion of my mother. Take it from her in this photo: you will get stuck in the turnstile and instead of helping, your travel buddy (moi), will simply take pictures of you while a kind Parisian woman helps out instead.
That being said, about twenty minutes north of Paris proper by metro is a quaint little area known fondly as Montmartre. For francophiles, this is where the movie Amelie took place that helped many people fall in love with Paris. This slightly dilapidated, or rather, well loved, arts district is a great place to visit if you are looking for a change of pace and scenery from the glamorous streets of downtown Paris. Not to mention a bit of a workout, since the entire neighborhood is one large hill with the beautiful basilica of Sacré Coeur (Sacred Heart) situated at the top.
Start from the Abesses metro station and climb the (what feels like) 18 flights of spiral stairs and emerge at the I Love You wall where you will see the phrase “I Love You” written in 250 languages.
From there, just wander! Get lost in a part of the world you’ve never been to without a plan. We popped in and out of boutiques, coffee shops (for croissants, surprise surprise), and even galleries, since it is the art district! Some of these galleries are full of big, expensive, beautiful art but many others are chalk full of pieces from local painters who want to make money off of their hobby. I love collecting art when I travel, so this was definitely my happy place.
In a more centrally located plaza sits the famously photographed Le Consulat cafe. This cafe seems like the essence of French life: couples seated next to each other outside, sipping their coffees, listening to a street musician, next to a sidewalk full of art vendors hawking you into their boothes. Yes, it is as dreamy as it sounds!
It was exactly how I wanted to spend my day: no plans, no destination, just a relaxing walk through a beautiful neighborhood of a lovely city.
Day Four (also): The Art of the French Aperó
After we had soaked every ounce of relaxation from Montmartre, we boarded the metro once more and headed to the left bank of the Seine for a food tour with La Cuisine Paris. If you have followed older blog posts (like this time in Barcelona or this in Florence), then you know that one of my favorite things to do in a new city is either take a cooking class or a food tour. What a better way to learn about history and culture, than while eating delicious treats?
Our mission was to build an aperó (appetizer) platter that you would typically enjoy while having a small get together with friends or family before a meal. This platter consists of meat, cheese, bread, small fruits, and of course…wine! Our lovely tour guide brought us all around the glamorous Le Marais neighborhood to show us some of her favorite stops.
Things we learned:
- The difference between a good and great cheese platter is in the types of cheeses on the platter. Hard, soft, smelly, mild, just make sure to have a good mixture.
- When cutting the cheese (don’t read that sentence out loud to any second graders), make sure to always cut slivers of it lengthwise rather than across horizontally. It is rude to leave someone with only a slice of the rind of the cheese.
- Butter is not just butter, it is an experience. Choose your experience wisely.
- Think out of the box when it comes to fruits! We chose seasonal figs instead of grapes and they were a wonderful addition.
- Research your wine choices to go best with your cheese and meat pairings.
And voila! The perfect aperó was born!
After a brief jaunt to Colmar, France (stay tuned for that post), we arrived back in Paris for our final day. How on earth do we say goodbye to the city we had come to love in five days?
We decided to end our trip traipsing through Le Marais for a few hours, collecting a few final souvenirs for friends, family, and ourselves, before deciding to walk the three miles back to our hotel. We couldn’t bare to take the metro and not take in the final glimpses of this place.
While I am usually an avid Airbnb traveler, my mom and I decided to splurge on a high end hotel for the night because why not? We decided on the lovely boutique-y Hotel Daniel, located on a hidden street a few blocks off the Champs Elysées. Thanks to the très French decor, attentive staff, and decadent brunch selection, we soaked in all of the amenities of our high class living for the night.
The next morning came too quickly, and with that, our departure from Paris. Luckily the ungodly security line at Charles de Gaulle airport allowed us to reflect on our trip a bit longer. Everything I had heard prior to my arrival in Paris had been that I would either love it or hate it.
Thank goodness, I loved it!
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