After my travels to Cádiz and Malaga, I thought I would take myself out of Spain and travel to France, the capital to be precise, Paris! Jake and I met my friend Yasmin (who’s currently on her year abroad in Lyon) there on Friday night and we didn’t waste anytime at all. As we were staying in our own studio apartment in the 3rd/4th arrondissement, we decided we couldn’t not go out. After a couple bottles of wine, some beer and a healthy amount of camembert, we headed out to the ‘trendy’ quarter, Le Marais, to some gay bars.
The first place we went to was Raidd Bar. Let it be clear that this place is not for everyone, especially if you’re newly out of the closest / easily offended / not comfortable with nudity. At 2am, this bar begins its ‘shower shows’. I can’t actually post many photos from the club itself because they’re very much NSFW. If you can get past the explicit nudity of gay men standing in a glass shower in front of you and showering himself with soap (among other things), and the €8 beers, you will have a great time. I recommend this bar as a one off experience, not your new weekly usual. One perk, it is free to enter and the music downstairs is actually really good. Anywho, the second bar was called Le Cud, located on a tiny little side street in the same area. It’s main dance floor is downstairs in a cave / tunnel type business, and it actually really cool. Although everyone was getting exceptionally intimate with one another, it was a really cool bar with very good music, and once again very much free to enter.
Even though we got back to the apartment at 9am (it was seriously quite the night), we decided to wake up at 12pm and hit the ground running and get some things ticked off our list of must-sees. We decided to head to the Île de la Cité to see the Notre Dame. We didn’t go into the building itself as the queue for entry was wrapped around the corner of it, but the exterior was stunning and one of the things you just have to see in Paris when you go.
From there, we went to Shakespeare & Company, which, according to Vanity Fair (see article here) is the most famous independent bookstore in the world. I would really recommend heading here – I was unsure at first “How good can a book shop really be?”. But, I was wrong. The staff were incredibly friendly and there was every sort of book imaginable. We all decided to pick up one of their “Lucky Dip” books, pay €6 and just see what you get! Managed to get myself Reflections in a Golden Eye by Carson McCullers. I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the inside, but I managed to at least get something!
From there, we headed up to the now removed Lock Love Bridge, or Pont des Arts. With the Institute de France at one side, and the Louvre at the other and a view of the Île de la Cité from the middle, it was a lovely part of the area. It’s just such a shame that all the locks got taken off back in 2015 as the weight of the locks made the railings collapse.
Then of course, we went onto the Louvre. Now, I can only recommend to you the surroundings buildings (the Palais de Louvre and Pyramide du Louvre) as we did start queueing to go into the museum and then we heard a really loud explosion. Given the current climate, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk so carrying on walking. There’s always another time.
From the Louvre, we took a walk all the way through the Jardin des Tuileries, all the way up the Champs-Élysées (all the shops are incredibly expensive, so just take yourself for a walk unless you can afford Chanel or Louis Vuitton) finishing our massive morning of exploring at the Arc de Triomphe (which students can go up to the top of for 5€). It was such a nice walk to go through the gardens and then the tree lined Champs-Élysées (especially in a time nearing autumn), it certainly cured any type of hangover that I may have previously had.
That night, we then found ourselves out again. Feeling a little bit worse for wear the next day, we took a visit to Breakfast in America. Jake had recommended this place to us. It’s yet another concept brunch location which serves a 16.95€ brunch of unlimited filter coffee, orange juice, a round of toast (which you toast yourself), a choice of eggs (I had scrambled with bacon, the other two had omelettes) and then a round of pancakes to finish. Although I was quite hungover and couldn’t eat all of it, it was definitely worth the visit. Except to queue for a table outside when you’re there though!
From there, we took a very slow walk around Le Marais to and window shopping at all of its many cool and quirky shops. Jake picked up a pink oversized vintage shirt from one of the couple of kilo stores for 15€ around in that area so it’s definitely worth taking a walk to see what you can find.
We then found ourselves queueing yet again for another eatery, this time Angélina which is essentially a very Parisian glorified tea room which charges 8.20€ for the most amazingly rich hot chocolate you’ll ever drink (Apparently the best in Paris?). And, let’s not forget about a 9€ patisserie (amazing, yet very very very rich).
We then just headed back to Jardin des Tuileries and sat in some of the many chairs which they just randomly have laying around and just relaxed for an hour or so while the sunset.
We spent our last night in Paris seeing the Eiffel Tower by night. I must admit, I was kind of disinterested in seeing the Eiffel Tower in the day time (I imagine it just looks awful?) so we decided to see it in the dark instead and it was so amazingly beautiful and we all kind of just stood there and had a moment of “Wow, we’re in Paris”. On the hour, every hour, the whole thing just lights up with flashing lights and it was seriously a sight to see. We decided to take further advantage of the nice evening by taking a boat tour down the river Seine. For 15€ (which seemed a little steep to me?). We sat on the top deck (so couldn’t listen to any audio commentary) and saw all the main sights of Paris in the dark – everything just seemed so much prettier. Definitely worth a go if you’re looking for something to do in Paris
The next day, unfortunately, we had to leave Paris. But before, I wanted to go to one more overpriced brunch. After a very quick search of places on TripAdvisor, we found out about Holybelly. Now, this place honestly served the best breakfast of my entire life. Although it was nearly 17€ and then 5€ for an iced coffee, it was seriously incredible. From the sausage patty, to super crispy bacon, perfectly poached eggs and the tastiest mushrooms I’ve ever eaten (oh and of course sour dough bread), it was completely worth yet another queue outside the restaurant.
With that concludes my trip to Paris. I wish I wasn’t so hungover all the time so I could have seen a bit more but Paris is such a huge city that it would have been impossible to see it all anyway. Paris was such a beautiful city and I’ll remember this trip for a very long time. I can’t wait to go back soon!
I’m off to Córdoba on Saturday so watch out for that blog soon!