Hello everyone, good evening and welcome back to Tea and Paperbacks, new posts every Monday 🙂 For this week’s Sunday Updates, I’m actually gonna tell you my exciting, wet, and very tiring trip to Paris! I went to France for the first time last week for 5 days, where I met my mom and little brother. It was super fun and of course the whole 5 days cannot be summed in just one post (well, it can, but your finger would probably break from scrolling through the super long post), and so I’ll just give you all the highlights of the trip, and a little personal tips and trick for those of you traveling to Paris in the future.
The Metro in Paris is annoyingly complex and difficult. In one side I am amazed by how they were able to build it so elaborately and under the ground, but on the other side I am so frustrated by the amount of times I got lost in there. Always bring a Metro line map with you, and plan your way before you actually go.
On my first day we went to watch a musical, Cats, in the Theater Mogador (which is near the Galeries Lafayette). My tip for you is to check thoroughly before you buy any kind of tickets whether they play the musical in English or not. Because my musical turned out to be spoken entirely in French (even the songs). I Googled it before my mom bought the tickets and knew that it was in French, but my mom insisted that it’s definitely in English. Well as a result we spent the whole 3 hours not knowing anything about the musical. It was still wonderful – the music was great, and you can still appreciate the costume and the setting and all that, but it’s still a huge shame.
Of course this applies to wherever you’re going – always check the weather forecast not only the day before, but when you go packing before the trip. I checked and even so, I was still very ignorant. The second day of my trip, it was raining so hard, and I only brought a hoodie and a jeans jacket! It was horribly cold. Fortunately the second and third day was sunny. The last day was raining heavily as well, so another tip for me is to bring an umbrella when you know it’s gonna rain, especially the foldable ones, cause a mere hoodie or hooded coat will not help you. They’re super handy and unlike the rain in the Netherlands (with the whole wind where it’s practically useless to have an umbrella), the winds in Paris is very mild so it’s alright to use a weak/foldable umbrella.
Again, applicable to all travels, but wear comfy shoes!!! On my third day I was exhausted by evening, especially since I went on a lot of museum tours which never seem that tiring because you’re basically just walking slowly and standing a lot while you’re admiring paintings, but if you do that for hours the whole day, it’ll affect your mood as well throughout the trip. Another personal preference that really works for me is to bring those Tiger Balm ointment thingies for your feet so that at night in the hotel you can use that before you go to bed and the next day your feet won’t get as sore.
The amazing opera house where the book The Phantom of the Opera was inspired from.
I love museums, and so does my mom. My brother, not so much. But there are so many museums in Paris!!! I both love and hate that fact, because it means you have alot to choose from, but also you just can’t visit all the museums there is. My advice is to plan beforehand and look up if they have English guided tours, because those are the best. I did the one in the Garnier Opera House and it was way better than just walking around without purpose. Also, the famous ones (ahem Louvre ahem) are super crowded and you’ll have to wait in line for a long time, so be prepared. Plus beware of pickpockets and all your belongings while you’re admiring the paintings!
One of my favourite paintings from the Musee d’Orsay
Arc de Triomphe!
My favourite museum I visited is probably the Musee d’Orsay, because the paintings there are my style. But I also love the whole vibe of the Picasso Museum, and although the Salvador Dali Museum was quite far from the center, it’s still a great visit. The Notre Dam and the Pantheon museum, and the Catacombs (which was quite creepy but awesome, but beware that you have to wait in line), also the Arc de Triomphe are all a must visit. The Eiffel Tower itself wasn’t a huge highlight for me, we didn’t get up or anything, and although it was great, I preferred the Arc de Triomphe.
Inside the Pantheon.
Notre Dam – such a shame that I didn’t go up! The line was too long and I didn’t have the effort to wait that long.
The skulls & skeletons on the Catacombs of Paris.
Let me tell you guys something. The Paris Pass is amazing and you won’t regret buying it! My mom bought us the four day pass and it was such a good thing. It basically requires you to buy a pass, and you get so many good and free things: the Metro, hop in and hop off bus, museum tickets, a river tour, walking tours, movies, discounts, wine tasting tickets (which was awesome btw), AND you get a guide book where they basically write down every single thing you can visit in Paris, what they are, where they are, what time they open, their tour times, etc etc. Incredible.
Crepes for me and eggs + baguette for my brother
As a low-budget traveller, my family and I didn’t eat that many fancy food while in Paris. Of course we tried the obvious French food: croissant (excellent), coffee (my mom said the best ones is in the Illy cafes), crepes (not that amazing, I prefect pancakes lol), macarons (Laduree is the most popular choice but my advice is to buy whichever one you see because that store is quite expensive), hot chocolate (soooo rich but a little too thick for me), and baguettes, which are great but hurt the tops of my mouth so badly. But for other meals, like times when we’ve had a huge brunch and want something quick and cheap, we’d go to Chinese restaurants, sushi places, or pizza take aways. So yeah, you totally don’t have to spend that much money on food if you don’t want to.
And finally, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore.
It was basically the highlight of the trip to be honest. I went there on my second day – it’s located near the Notre Dam and while I was basically crying on the inside and walking around the bookstore, my mom and brother sat on the cafe next to it. I bought two books: Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, and Candide by Voltaire. Yes, they’re both related to Paris! I was confused about what I should buy because all the books there are basically books you can buy anywhere (and for a lower price in Book Depository), and I thought, why not buy a Paris related book in Paris? So I bought those two! I also decided on buying the Voltaire one because I’ve never read a book by him and also because before I went there, we went to the Pantheon where they actually kept his tomb. So, it was like a huge inspiration to buy the book after going and see where he was buried.
The bookshop itself was amazing, it was way smaller than I expected it to be, but luckily we went out of the peak season of tourists so it wasn’t that full. It was super crowded with books, which is awesome, and the whole vibe just felt amazing. Another small thing I pointed out while being there is you should totally buy the tote bag! It’s so adorable and you get to show off that you’ve been to Paris by bringing that bag around 😛
Anyway, that was the highlight and top tips from my short but super amazing trip to Paris! My final tip is to go there off the peak season, and on spring, because it’s not too hot and not too cold. Also, bring a camera! I unfortunately don’t have one so I had to take picture with my phone, and at the end of the day I took too many that my phone’s storage was full. I wasn’t a huge fan of France, when my friends would say that the top place they want to visit it Paris, I was like meh I’m not that interested. But I do understand why it’s such an amazing city. The architecture, the history, and the whole air around it is so different and those are the reasons why I love traveling.
I’m definitely looking forward to going back there! What about you guys? Have you been to Paris? What are your top tips for people who haven’t traveled there? Let me know in the comments down below!