9 Things you must do in Paris
When planning a trip to Paris it's easy to get wrapped up in the where you should's and where you shouldn'ts spend your time visiting. I can say that because I did it.
There is a natural compulsion to visit all of the landmarks, and rightly so, but there is more to centre your time in Paris around. The landmarks will fall in place as you travel around the city, I can assure.
There are a few things you have to do and a few places I'd more than recommend you visit and these are them:
1.) Visit the patisseries, all of them
I'm pretty certain that this is actually a law. Of course when you go you're going to want to hit the hotspots. Even the non-bloggers amongst us will know of the magical powers of the Laduree, but it's worth going off piste. The very first patisserie we tried out was Le Petit Lux in the 5th Arr. The smaller, independent patisseries may not be able to offer you big scale opulence but they can often offer you more interesting flavour combinations and their can be just as good as the big names. Of course we tried a couple - all in the name of research of course - and I will still urge you to pay the like of Pierre Herme and Laduree a visit because it's an experience in itself. An amazing experience.
2.) Wander through the gardens
Wandering through the many gardens of Paris is the perfect way to lose yourself. Even with all the hustle and bustle around it's easy to forget that you are in one of the most famous cities in the world. All of the gardens we wandered through or passed looked like an oasis of tranquil greenery. Flower lined greens and running fountains at every turn means they are equally as good for spending a few hours snapping away on your camera.
3.) Sit outside a cafe and sip on a coffee
Or a hot chocolate for the coffee haters amongst us (moi included!). Easily the quickest and best way to soak up the Paris culture. Sitting outside a cafe in the streets of Paris is almost a rite of passage. No matter what the weather it is an absolute must. If I can do it in the pouring rain anyone can.
4.) Ride the metro
You might have just rolled your eyes at this one, but stick with me. Of course you're going to ride the metro, right? It's the easiest way to navigate the city. Duh. Well, yes and yes. But if for even one iota of a second you thought it would just be a way to get around then, my friend, you have never been to Paris in what was apparently its monsoon season. It's amazing how much you gain a profound new level of appreciation for public transport in the pouring rain. Plus, the metro has a double decker train. That's right a double decker. I hadn't been that excited to ride a train since I was five!
5.) Take in the architecture
The rumours are true. The architecture in Paris is second to none. As we drove into the city we were confronted with high risers and the standard cityscape but as soon as we got into the city it all melted away. Protected by the modern, graffiti ridden boundaries the centre of the city is embraced by classic buildings. The best place we visited, by far, were the galeries lafayette. But this is easily rivalled by the churches, museums and palaces that are dotted around the city.
6.) Visit a museum
I'm not ordinarily a museum person, certainly not when there's a new city to explore waiting outside, but visiting the Musee D'Orsay was one of the highlights of my trip. A chance to see Monet and Van Gogh paintings in the flesh was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. And the terrible weather made hiding away inside all the more bearable of an idea.
7.) Visit the pigeons
Outside the Notre Dame there is a man, or a small group of men, and a rather large flock of pigeons. Fearless pigeons that will not stop at anything to get a free lunch. Whilst the Notre Dame is a must visit place itself, the pigeons are an absolute must see. If for nothing else but the photo opportunities!
8.) Visit the Eiffel at night
Visiting the tower at night is so much more different to visiting it in the day time. On our second night in Paris we arrived under the tower just before the very first lightshow of the evening started. I was busy trying to get photos whilst Mr M was busy being bored of waiting. We had been stood there for a mere matter of moments when the lights sprang into life. People gasped and applauded as if it was totally unexpected (which for us it was but people were there waiting for it to start). That moment was the single best moment of the trip. There was unanimous awe at the beauty of the thing. That is why you should visit the Eiffel at night.
9.) Buy and wear a beret. Obviously.
A raspberry coloured one if you can muster it.