I knowwww, I call myself a travel blogger. But what you have to understand is that until last year, I put all my time and money into experiencing far and wide destinations that took at least 12 hours of plane, bus and boat to reach. "Europe can wait!" I told myself.
So you see that's why I hadn't previously been to Paris. Technically I first went when I was in nappies, I even saw the Mona Lisa. But we're not counting that.
Leaving my student attitude of backpacks, burgers and beer behind, I began craving a more mature approach to seeing the world. I began wanting fine wine, top restaurants and accommodation that offered me something more luxurious than cereal for breakfast. (Note: I still demolish a burger and beer on occasion).
So that being said, when I found out a work trip was taking place in Paris, I practically insisted that I stay for the weekend, bringing my Ma along for the ride. Of course a city more loved than Barack Obama comes with high expectations, so as a first timer, I was surprised by some of my stay. Therefore I share with you, the 13 things I learnt on my first trip to Paris...
1 | The French aren’t rude and self-entitled as many stereotypes tell us
In fact they are super friendly and will even approach you if you’re looking a little lost. For example, when you don’t have a bladdy clue what train ticket you need or what ‘pintade rôtie sur l'os’ means (roasted guinea fowl don’t you know).
2 | Tourists are bloody keenos
Like will queue for hours to get into the most mundane of attractions just because a £1 guide book tells them too. Oh the joys of the internet guys. Pre-book my friends.
3 | Frogs legs, snails and mussels do not appear on every menu
You’ll have to either properly seek it out or head to a tourist packed restaurant to give either a go. But fois gras… that really is a true French favourite.
4 | You're better off going when you're younger
If you’re 16-25 in Paris, it’s assumed that you’re either a student… or poor. So say hello to free museum entries and discounted tickets to pretty much everywhere.
5 | The metro is bloody hard to spot
Like concealed entrances on non-obvious corners that are invisible on a dark night kind of hard. Thank goodness for Google map. Despite this it’s very easy to get around once you have found your way in and the trains are extremely regular.
6 | A typical Parisian evening is spent by the river
Parisian's bloody love chilling by the river. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm well jealous. As soon as the work day finishes the swarm to the riverside like flies, armed with wine and snacks. One pair of cuties even shared a KFC bucket.
7 | Paris is not that expensive
As a Londoner, I will happily pay 5-8 euros for a glass of wine. Happily. Sure if you want to go to a ridiculously fancy restaurant than you’re going to pay big bucks. But I found a lot of restaurants with divine 3 course menus for just 35 – 40 euros. Fine by me.
8 | You might as well not be sober
Okay perhaps contradicting my above point… the only generic thing I found to be expensive is soft drinks. For some reason you can get a beer for 3 euros but a Coca Cola? Mate you might as well be an alcoholic. It’s cheaper.
9 | Sunday is the day of rest
Do not expect all shops and boutiques to be open.
10 | Paris does not do all day dining
Lunch finishes around 2.30pm. Dinner is between 7 – 9.30pm. If you get hungry between then, well grab a macaron.
11 | The drivers are fucking mental
In the back seat of a taxi surrounded by Friday night traffic, I felt like I’d been transported to India as cars went in all kind of directions, bibbing each other and driving across lanes. Madness.
12 | Parisians don’t do cocktails
It’s all about the grapes.
13 | People watching in Paris is a real thing
The streets are packed with people in cafes being watching and becoming observers. Take a minute, grab a drink, watch the world go by.
Ah Paris, I'll be back soon my love.
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