Paris, the city of love. A place that you must visit at some point in your life. Yet it seems that not everyone who visits automaticly falls in love with it. That’s too bad. The French – and Parisians in particular – are known to be arrogant and unfriendly. In addition one does not speak well enough English – or refuses to – to really get social. Although the many attractions make up for a lot, a trip to Paris should be much more than just a visit to the Eiffel Tower.
It can make or break your trip. Don’t let the prejudices – because that’s what they are – put you off. I’ve been to Paris twice. Unfortunately, I do not remember my first time very well. I was a 14 year old brat and if I have to believe my parents I was everything but interested. Sorry mom and dad! I hope they forgave me by now. The second time I visited ‘the city of light’ with a dear friend. We had such a blast!
Go by train instead of by plane! Leaving from Rotterdam Central Station you’ll be in Paris within 2 hours and when booked in advance a return ticket costs around €58. Public transport is very well organized. For just over one euro you can travel from one side of the city to the other. That’s much better than what we Dutch are used to. Do use some common sense and mind your belongings but that doesn’t seem more than logics. Don’t speak French? Don’t worry! With my French: bonjour, au revoir, ça va, oui, merci beaucoup and ou est la toilette – which isn’t entirely correct btw – you will come a long way. Yes, you will undoubtedly come across some less friendly people. Just remember that there are unfriendly people living everywhere. My experience is that people are generally kind and helpfull.
Some advise: avoid the more popular squares as much as possible. Aspecially when going for a drink or bite. The prices are high, the service is low and your waiter will most likely be a grumpy ass – don’t take it personal. Probably some annoying tourist pissed him off before you did. Therefore it is much more fun to go for a coffee – or lunch – at a restaurant on less popular streets. Ile Saint Louis, near the Notre Dame, for example. We found Café St. Régis by chance. The staff was not only very friendly but also quite funny. Typical case of accidental luck. Would definitely recommend going for a coffee there. Rue Saint-Louis en l’ile has more cosy bars and restaurant where you can have a nice lunch. Interested in a quick walk through French Revolution? Then make sure to visit Cour du Commerce St. André. It’s a charming alley where – even if you never really payed attention during history class – old stories come to life. Don’t miss it!
You’re here so why not live the fancy life? Exactly! In a city like Paris prices are quickly overrated so while you’re spending money, you better make sure it’s worth it. I can really appreciate quality food and I don’t mind paying a little extra when I know it’s good. You feeling me? Try Au Bon Accueil for dinner! This restaurant can be found on Rue de Monttessuy. If you’re lucky there’s a table outside giving you a view of the Eiffel Tower. We had a lovely evening with delicious food and a great view. We payed €35 each for a three course menu. This guarantees for a successful semi chic night out. More the budget type? At Blend – a burger joint on Rue d’Argout within the trendy district Le Marais – you can get your teeth into a delicious burger. There are plenty of other bars and restaurants nearby. If you’re an art lover or want to stroll along cute little boutique shops all day then Le Marais is the place to be.
Montmartre is a neighborhood with lots of character. A must to spend an afternoon and get lost. The district is known for its artsy ex-residents. Picasso once worked here on his most famous painting – or so I was told. When making your way up to Sacre Coeur take the picturesque street Rue de l’Abreuvoir (top picture). Stop at the pink house on the corner. Maison Rosé is a nice place to have a drink or a snack. Enjoy the sunset from the top before making your way back down again. For dinner look for Le Moulin de la Galette on Rue Lepic. It’s a windmill so basicly can’t be missed. It also seems to have been the favorite restaurant of the French singer Dalida. Who? Haven’t heard of her before either but the food was to die for.