It’s hard to believe that my time in Paris is almost over! I’ll definitely miss the delicious pastries and crêpes that took over my diet for the past month. I figure it’s only fitting to write a blogpost on my favorite experiences and learning opportunities I’ve had in Paris. Maybe this unofficial travel guide will come in handy for future Caroline or for anyone who plans on traveling to Paris.
Favorite place for ice cream:
- Berthillon on Île Saint-Louis–get the pear and honey nougat flavors!
Best place for inexpensive, American-sized coffee:
Best place(s) for an afternoon picnic:
- Parc Montsouris, on the hill overlooking the lake
- The quais of Île Saint-Louis
- On the lawn in the Jardin du Luxembourg, across from the fountain with boats
Best place to watch the Bastille Day fireworks:
- Pont Mirabeau–If you walk there along the Seine from the Pont du Garigliano tram stop, you may encounter a cover band singing Rage Against the Machine’s Killing in the Name.
Best place for inexpensive breakfast:
- Café Crêperie Rouge Pomme on Avenue du Général Leclerc–only 7.90 euros for a coffee, juice, a basket of bread with jam and butter, and a sweet crêpe!
Best place for a croque madame sandwich:
- Café du Rendez-Vous
- Musée d’Orsay–Impressionists galore!
- Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
- Musée du Louvre
- Musée de l’Homme
Best views of Paris:
- From the patio area in front of the Sacré-Cœur
- From the top of the Centre Pompidou
- From the top of the Eiffel Tower
Favorite day trips:
Most frequented grocery stores:
Favorite parks and squares:
- Parc Montsouris
- Bois de Vincennes
- Jardin du Luxembourg
Spookiest (but coolest) experience:
- The catacombs
Favorite area for architecture:
- Neighborhood of Le Marais (also a good place for falafel!)
Areas with the most restaurant options:
- Latin Quarter
- Denfert-Rochereau area
- Père Lachaise
- Honey flavored gommes véritables from Maison Moinet on île Saint Louis
Favorite place to get a baguette:
- Paul bakery for 1 euro! Stays fresh the longest.
Area with the most bookstores:
- Left bank, near the Seine, in the area between Blvd. Saint-Michel and Rue Saint-Jacques
Best area to shop for gifts and treats:
- Île Saint-Louis
Tips and findings:
- Download the Paris Metro app. It automatically tells you the fastest ways to get between stations, as well as the nearest metro stations to you. It’s easy to plan routes with the paper maps, but it’s nice to see how long it’ll take to get to where you’re going.
- Don’t freak out if you get lost…just look for the nearest metro station and you can reorient yourself to the station near where you are staying. Zane and I once wandered randomly around Bois de Vincennes and ended up in the Zone 3 suburbs. We had to walk a little bit to find a metro station, but we made it back!
- The Navigo pass is really convenient if you are staying awhile and plan on using public transportation because it works on the metro, trams, buses, and RERs. I think you might even be able to rent a bike with it, but don’t quote me on that.
- Petite beurre cookies with chocolate are ADDICTING.
- Monoprix has a lot of tasty, cheap pre-made meals.
- Buy a fan if you are sensitive to heat…I found mine at Darty in Les Halles. Kind of expensive, but worth it.
- If your cell phone service provider doesn’t provide international coverage, buy a burner phone or a French SIM card (which is what I did). 3 gigs has been enough to get me through the month.
Thank you, Prof. Smith, for an amazing month in Paris!