Monday, August 13, 2012

Travel Guide #2: Paris - Part 1

Let me start this by saying: I love Paris! I really do! However this guide is the non-touristic guide to Paris. The reason being that I truly believe in experiencing the city as locals.
Skip the going up the Eiffel tower, why waste time in a 4h line? Only go to the Louvre if you have the whole day to stay there and really see things, that place is massive! Hop on, hop off buses? NOOOOOO! You want to walk and take the subway only if necessary. Ready? So here we go!

1. Where to stay:
If you are going to be in the city for a period of 7 days or more, renting and apartment is probably the best option. You'll have more space, have the possibility of cooking or at least eating breakfast in (of course you'll go to the closest boulangerie and grab some freshly baked croissants, no corn flakes are allowed in the city of lights!). In addition to that, you'll save money this way, and that means: More money for shoe shopping!
Use an online agency, never pay the full amount up front (SCAM!) and read the reviews about the apartment prior to signing anything, pictures can be deceiving sometimes.
The arrondissements you want to say in: 6th, 7th, 5th if you are next to the Pantheon area. Of course, if you are going to an event, you want to stay close to the venue. Don't forget, Paris is huge!

Here the agency I always use for apartment rentals:
Paris Attitude

My favorite cartier is: Luxembourg (6th)

However, if you are going to be in city for less than seven days, then you probably want to stay at a hotel. Although more expensive, you'll have all the comforts of room service and won't worry about grocery shopping for such short period of time. If you can afford to stay at the Ritz, then great! But remember the whole shoe shopping philosophy? This is an address I recommend:

Hotel des Carmes
5, Rue des Carmes
Paris 75005
+33 1 43 29 78 40

2. Where to eat:

1.La Batisde Odeon
This is a little bistro style place in the heart of the 6th. No frills, not crowded (yay!), the service is very friendly and the food is delicious. The wine list is also very complete.

7, rue Corneille
Paris, 75006
+33 1 43 26 03 65

2. Bonaparte

A gem in St. Germain des Pres. This place is a bit more upscale, situated just across from the church and surrounded by all the big couture names (Chanel, Dior, YSL and more!). Shop until you drop and then come here for a glass of champagne, foie gras or a delicious espresso.

42, rue Bonaparte
Paris, 75006
+33 1 42 27 36 78

At the Bonaparte, waiting for the foie gras to come!

3. Deux Magots
A very traditional spot in Paris. This cafe has been here since 1933 and it has a history of its own. Initially a store (the 2 statues inside of the cafe are still there to testify), then it became a cafe in 1885 and finally Les Deux magots in 1933. A great spot for people watching, just grab your newspaper or book, seat at the terrasse and enjoy!

Celebrating my birthday at Les Deux Magots with Florent & my parents

6, Place St Germain des Pres
Paris, 75006
+33 1 45 48 55 25

P.S: Les Deux Magots have a brand of champagne of their own, and it's delicious!

4. Chez Prosper
This is the real Paris! Located steps way from subway station Nation, this is a totally non-touristic place and it's great! The food is simply amazing, the portions are big (think sharing), the drinks are delicious and the service is outstanding. Here we laugh at the waiter's jokes, we talk to people from the other tables, we go outside for a smoke break (for those who smoke) and take our wine glasses with us. Although far from the center, I would come back here in a heart beat.

The guys having a good time at Chez Prosper

7, Avenue du Trone
Paris, 75011
+33 1 45 48 55 25

5. Le Clos Bourguignon
This is also a piece of REAL Paris. Located in the 9th district, close to subway station Opera or RER Auber, this is also a little gem that tourists don't know about. Here you'll eat authentic French cuisine cooked to perfection. Have the combo snails + beer filet. You won't regret it!

39, rue de Caumartin
Paris, 75009
+33 1 47 42 56 60

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