Travel Club: Paris

The city of love, lights and culture.

To fantasise about something whilst awake, ignoring your surroundings.

What makes something attractive.

A picture.

To absorb.

To casually walk around without a specific destination.

Entertainment and activities taking place in the evening.

To motivate someone.

By Laura Martín

I don’t usually like to pick favourites. Isn’t it difficult having to choose only one thing amongst so many options? When I think about my favourite cities, my hometown always comes first. I wouldn’t live anywhere else: Barcelona is, and will always be, perfect to me.

But I love travelling, and there are places I just adored so much I’ve had to go back. London is the city I’ve visited the most (8 times now!), so it’d be safe to say that’s my favourite, right? Nonetheless, there’s something about Paris that makes me daydream: the art, the history, the food, the big avenues, the lights and its chic allure.

Paris is always a good idea, isn’t it? If you’ve never been there, just go already and start saving for your second trip, when you’ll really enjoy the city. On a first visit to Paris I would recommend a six-day stay. On those days visit as much as possible, walk all you can and take the metro for long distances. Take a snap of yourself with the Eiffel Tower and climb it if you feel like it (in my opinion no view of Paris is complete without the Eiffel Tower, so climbing it makes no sense). Walk the Champs de Mars and visit Les Invalides, where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried. Cross the Pont Alexandre III and take a look at the Petit and Grand Palais. The Champs Élysées can’t be missed, walk them up and down, from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde, wander around the Tuilleries and reach the Louvre, where you can spend several hours surrounded by some of the greatest masterpieces in the world. Don’t forget to see the Opéra, the Madelaine and the Pompidou. Then visit Île de la Cité, check out the Conciergerie and get to see one of the most beautiful places in the city: the Sainte Chapelle; then go take a look at Notre Dame de Paris, which will hopefully be open to visit by 2024. Then visit the Musée d’Orsay and Quartier Latin, with the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Panthéon and the Saint Sulpice. Then visit Montmartre to take a picture in front of the Moulin Rouge and the Sacré-Cœur.

After all this, you’ll be ready for your second visit to Paris.

Now that will be magical. Once you’ve already seen all the most important sights, you’ll get to visit those you liked the most again. You’ll be able to go to smaller museums, like the Musée de l’Orangerie or the Musée Rodin and drink up all the inspiration and art. Maybe sit in one of the portable green chairs spread around parks and jardins to just relax and take in the beauty around you. Have you really visited Montmartre? You haven’t if you’ve never felt like Amélie at the Café des Deux Molins, walked past the apartment where Vincent Van Gogh lived with his brother Théo, seen the Moulin de la Galette or the Buste de Dalida. On a first visit to Montmartre you’ll basically see the two main touristic points, but on a second one you get to wander around and really discover the arrondissement.

Something else I’ve enjoyed on my last visit to Paris was discovering hip and lively neighbourhoods. The 10ème is a pretty hot spot right now, with lots of restaurants, people on the street, terraces and nightlife. My favourite spot was probably Du pain et des Idées, an amazingly beautiful boulangérie where I ate a delicious escargot chocolat pistache, and the cafés around boulevard Saint-Martin. Another part of the city I loved re-discovering was Les Marais, the medieval part of the old Paris and the Rue des Rosiers, the Jewish neighbourhood of the city, which I found charming and unique.

There’s nothing else I can tell you, honestly. Each trip to France’s capital is going to be different and I can only encourage you to go, wander and enjoy. Just make sure to bring comfortable shoes, because Paris is big, avenues are wide and there is a lot to discover.

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