The first part of our trip went safely and smoothly and I started to write this post from the train directed to Lisbon.
Now, a preamble. As you read the introduction to Desirée’s periodical “The urban explorer”, you might wonder: does really a post about Paris have place in this blog? I say yes (maybe someone else is saying no, is it so, Desirée?) and I explain you why. I’m not going to lecture you about Paris, the Tour Eiffel and the Louvre museum, saying how in love I am with this city of l’amour or anything like that. I’ll show you Paris from my perspective, which is probably a little different from the one of a “normal” turist. So, let’s start with my mini guide to help you find the spirit of Paris.
Where to stay
We stayed in one apartment from PerfectlyParis, to be more precise the Damremont Classique, in Montmartre at a walk distance from Sacre Coeur. The apartment was just stunning, it actually little bit felt like sleeping in a museum given the amount of collectable pieces you can find there: vases, plates, paintings and so forth.
In my opinion, if you really want to see the essence of a city, don’t stay in a hotel, but rather go for an apartment. That is because by staying in an apartment you’ll blend in better. You’ll probably already be located in a building where normal people live. All you’ll have to do is just step outside and you are there, where real, normal, common life begins.
Where to eat
I love to observe people. For instance, we noticed that you can see people going around with baguettes only in the evenings after six. We also noticed that there is an incredible amount of cafeterias in Paris, or at least in the area where we stayed. I mean, at both corners of our building there would be one and you just had to cross the street to find the one belonging to the next building. So could it be that French people are so methodic that they go
always very often to the same cafeteria, probably the one in their own building? At least we like to believe that, but there has to be some logic and people have to go a lot to cafeterias because otherwise they couldn’t keep them all open. And to us it felt that the people in those caferias were usuals, knowing the barman and having conversations with them. For instance, we realized that our apartment was very close to the Café des deux Moulins, the one where Amélie Poulain works in the Amélie movie and of course we wanted to go there! What we expected was a place full of turists and references to the movie in every corner. We realized quite soon to be wrong. The turists weren’t so many and we got the feeling like the barman was treating us in a cold way. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you not to go there, on the contrary! My point is that those people could have made a huge business out of that place, I mean, Amélie was and is an incredible success and turist want to see that place. Instead, they kept it as it was in the movie, a normal cafeteria, where the same handful of people come everyday to hear the latest gossip and drink their espresso. This, in my opinion, is commendable and tells a lot about the café culture in France.
So, if you’re planning to stay or visit Montmartre, these are the places I feel to recommend you around the area:
- Café de Deux Moulins, if you love Amélie
- Le café de la Poste, really kind and friendly staff
- Arnaud Delmontel, for delicious macarons
- Boulangerie Banette for good and cheap Baguettes and Eclairs
- Restaurant Le Relais Gascon, if you’re really hungry, want to eat well and still not spend a lot. At lunch time from Mondays to Fridays they have a fixed menu for 17,50€ that includes apetizers (you’ve got to try the Champagne paté, it’s something from another world!), main course and either a dessert (their créme brulee was probably the best I’ve ever eaten) or a coffee or a cheese selection.
What to see
I will not tell you to go to see the Tour Eiffel or Notre Dame, that you already know without me. What we thought with Klaus was that we didn’t want to stress ourselves out in queues for museums or similar, but we just wanted to get a glimpse of the Parisian atmosphere, what the people usually do and how they live. If you also wish that, your area is Montmartre. The apartment where we stayed was in Rue Damremont, which is a very quiet road, but still at a good distance to walk to places like Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge and Le Café de Deux Moulins.
The biggest wisteria I have ever seen!
Dress by Son de Flor
One specific place I knew I would have to visit if I ever did go back to Paris one day was a park, called Saint-Julien le Pauvre. When I was a kid I visited Paris with granny and dad and I basically don’t remember anything about it. Some years later, when I was maybe around 15 years old, I found a picture, of a pigeon in a park and a flash came into a mind. A memory of a gray day in Paris, eating some sandwiches and chips in a park close to the Notre Dame and feeding the birds. Well, I made some researches and that park was Saint-Julien le Pauvre, right on the other side of the bridge that leads to Notre Dame, on the left bank of the Seine. And that’s where we went. It was exactly as I remembered, well, maybe a little smaller. Somehow I have a connection with that park and it just felt so good we could go and sit there a while.
Dress by 220linen
Just next to the park another amazing place was in store for us: Shakespeare&Company. Now, if you don’t know about this place, go and see now Midnight in Paris, amazing movie in which the main character would spend some time there. The real surprise of the place is the inside and especially upstairs (sorry, it wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside :(). So the place works like this: outside you can buy secondhand books, on the ground floor there are new books and the upper floor is an amazingly old library with amazingly old furnitures where one can just sit and read a book in peace. Klaus said that there he felt for the first time at home in Paris. Ah, of course, all the books are in English there. As a cliché, we bought a classic, The old man and the sea by Hemingway which I had read already but not in English and we are confident that that is best souvenir we could have ever get from Paris.
How to move around
From the Orly airport to the apartment we went by taxi. Nowadays the taxis have a fixed fare for this route, that is 30€ from the airport to the place you want to go in right bank of the Seine and 35€ for the left side. If you’ll stay in the Damremont Classique or anyways somewhere in Montmartre, with the metro number 12 (for us the closest station was the Lamarck-Caulacourt) you can get anywhere really easily. We bought a carnet of 10 t+ tickets for 14,10€. With one ticket you can change between metro lines and even with tram and REF trains within 90 minutes, never exiting the station.
I love Parisian attics!
I hope you enjoyed my mini guide about Paris! But #tkabroad is not over, it’s just started! Stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter for updates if you wish! The clothes I wore in Paris are from Son de Flor and 220linen, two amazing linen brands from Lithuania, thank you Vaida and Ausra for this collaboration!