Welcome back! Thank you so much for coming to read my second part of my report card series. Paris truly surprised me, so I can't wait to share my thoughts on the city of love!
What i did in Paris:
Picnicked with crepes on the Seine River
Visited the Notre Dame
Took photos outside The Louvre
Walked Champs-Elysees and saw the Arc De Triumph
Went to Palais de Chaillot and took pictures with the Eiffel Tower
Got poured on going to Montmarte and the Sacre-Coeur Basilica
Watched the Eiffel Tower Sparkle
Picnicked at Luxembourg Gardens
I will be honest, Paris was not a place I dreamed of going to. Personally I am anti-overtourism, so I try to not go to places that are overrun with tourists, because I do not want to be part of the problem. Because I was not someone who dreamed of Paris, I truly had minimal knowledge of what Paris had to offer. I knew the Eiffel Tower would be dreamy, and there would be a few pretty roads but the rest would be dirty streets overfilled with rats and people.
IMAGINE my surprise when I walked in Paris along the Seine for the first time and saw that the beauty went on as far as the eye could see and I was completely wrong. I do not know my architecture types, so I don’t really know how to describe the buildings other than beautiful. They weren’t really as colorful as buildings in Madrid, but they were so intricate, gothic, and for lack of better words “Parisian.” The sunsets we experienced were gorgeous, the Eiffel Tower sparkling took my breath away, and they actually had many trees and parks to escape the city. I now understand why Paris is so popular, because it truly is a picturesque place.
Okay to cut to the chase I hated going on Paris public transportation with my whole heart. I gave it the grade C- because luckily it was a very walkable city, so we did walk a ton, but if I graded it solely on the metro I would rate it an F. The metro was incredibly hot, crowded, full of people trying to get your money, and it was the only place where I actually saw the stereotypical “mean” French person. Sidenote: everyone asked me if the people in Paris were mean, but I thought most people were lovely. The only mean people I saw were in the metro and there is a high chance they were tourists. Paris had other means of transportation (such as ubers and taxi’s), we just tried to choose the affordable option and it wasn’t very fun.
For this leg of the trip since we were only there for 2 days and 3 nights, we chose to stay in a youth hostel. We had a 4 bed private room that had a shower and sink in the room, but had a communal toilet. I was torn on how to grade this hostel because it was okay, nothing great or nothing bad, but for some reason we had a much worse room than the pictures we saw online and even another 4 bedroom that my friend Kathryn saw when someone’s door was open. Every picture for a private room depicted a big room with a good view and ours was incredibly small with absolutely no view, a small window, and an incredibly small room. It was a hostel though, so I can’t complain. The hostel does get some brownie points because breakfast was offered and the workers were pretty nice. Overall, it wasn’t my favorite, but it’s about all we could afford in Paris. But hey, travel is always an adventure!
Honestly, this grade was very difficult to settle on. There truly were some things that felt like a steal, such as the highest quality of food for a reasonable price. However, on the other end, there were things that felt like they were costing an arm and leg. One of my favorite meals was at a fancy restaurant and we had a 3 course meal for 22 euros and it truly was so delicious and was the fanciest meal I have ever eaten. For the quality of the meal, it was very affordable. Same with the street crepes we got a few times, they were absolutely delicious and all under 8 euros. However, for context, we paid $25 for transportation the whole time in Madrid. That included the fares of getting to and from the airport. In Paris it was $12.50 just to get into the city, $12.50 for a one day pass on the metro, and $90 for us to take a taxi to the airport. I am not surprised in any shape or form that one of the biggest cities in Europe was this expensive, but it definitely made me miss the Madrid prices.
Overall, Paris shocked me in multiple different ways. I didn’t think I would like it here, but I did! I hope I can go back another time in the future when I have a little bit more money and a little bit more time there. Next time I go I definitely want to go in the off-season, just for my own personal preference.
Want more information? Feel free to message me on any media form and I would be happy to discuss! Continue reading down below for some honest answers to questions from the people I was traveling with!
Ari: Eating my first crepe on the Seine and having an overwhelming gust of gratitude come over me that I was able to be in Paris with my best friends
Caitlin: “Rushing to the Eiffel Tower to catch the twinkling of the lights because I had anticipated it for so many years”
Kathryn: “It’s hard for me to choose a favorite memory of Paris because I truly love that city. Time passes differently in Paris. But if I had to choose, it would be us getting drenched in the rain on the way to Montmartre, then going into the Sacré-Cœur. It was storming outside so I could see lightning coming in through the stained glass, and there was a weird sort of peace about being safe inside this big old church. Then we got dinner… outside… in the rain. But it was amazing, every second of it, even though we were soaked.
Other favorite memories: randomly getting to see the fire/police department practice water rescues out of the Seine, eating cheese cubes and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle, getting to use my French to interpret for us at the hostel, etc “
Ari: Too many to just say one. A roasted goat cheese salad at St. Regis in Montmarte and a “savoyarde” crepe.
Caitlin: “Creme brulee hands down”
Kathryn: ” crêpe salée or crème brûlée“
Ari: My favorite thing was probably going to the Eiffel Tower in the dark and seeing it sparkle.
Caitlin: “Speaking french to someone and them responding back in french”
Kathryn: “Favorite thing I did: When I wanted to look at bookstores and get souvenirs, I put on some headphones and walked around île de la cité by myself… didn’t even need a GPS, which was cool. I just walked around for a few hours with no rush just enjoying Paris as it was. Used my French with people, bought snacks that I remembered and loved from when I lived in France for a summer. Soaked it all in. A couple people asked me for directions to places, which was funny and meant a lot to me. Like, “Do you speak English? Can you help us find the nôtre dame?”