As part of our epic six week honeymoon, we spent just over a week in Paris. It’s every bit the romantic city that you read about. Paris is always a good idea, so when you decide to go, here are some of our highlights. We’re very into our food, exercise and commercio-hipster experiences. We’re also South Africans paying in Rands, so these are well worth their cost.
Along the Seine. Book accommodation in the triangle between Champs Elyseé, Bastille and Montparnasse Tower and then run through the city’s oldest parts. The traffic appears a nightmare, but motorists are incredibly considerate. Here was our route.
Ask for coffee in Paris and you’ll get espresso. They’ve never heard of a decent cappuccino and you’ll shock them if you ask for au lait. It’s simply not done. If there’s one thing that Paris needs is a decent creamy cafe latte. Coutume Cafe is what will save you. It comes as no surprise that behind their bar there’s actually no more space for their award trophies for the best coffee in Paris.
Paris is slightly more tolerant of eating hours than the rest of France, but lunch hours are observed to happen between 12h30 and 14h00. Most places stop making food after two. And there’s no breakfast places listed in this post because there are no breakfast joints in Paris. Only boulangeries with the most delicious croissants you’ve ever tasted. That’s your breakfast, deal with the carbs. Best lunch spot in Cafe Central. Order a Leffe pression and a pizza.
Tourists flock to the Champs Elyseé, and landlords collect their steep rents there, so rather travel to Galleries Lafayette and walk around the 9th Arridosiment.
Parisiens shops daily for food and every second person has a baguette under their arm or in their bicycle basket. They buy daily because the bread contains no preservatives, and markets are easily available for fresh produce. The markets on Rue Cler and President Wilson are worth a visit. Pick up some goats milk cheese, sliced ham and olives and you’re a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
Dont miss a Laduree macaroon. Dont worry that they only sell them in a box of six. You’ll soon be plotting your next visit. The other indulgence is a Nutella crepe and a custard filled shoux pastry. The narrower the shop selling them, the better, but rather from a pastry shop than a street stall.
Although the ultimate tourist attractions, they are worth the queues. The Eiffel Tower (gardens, I wouldn’t suggest going up unless at night in spring or autumn), Louvre and visiting Notre Dame. Rent a Velib (city bike for a Euro and hour) and cycle between places. Google maps knows you want to cycle and will put you on cycle paths the entire journey.
With the wine and champagne estates of Bordeaux and Burgandy, Champagne all within a few hours train drive, the social life of the French is taken very seriously. Although they refuse to work a minute more than 7 hours a day, they truly deliver on their food and wine. Suggestions are Willi’s Wine Bar and Nuba overlooking the docks.
Our most enjoyable dinner was at Vivant – a hole in the wall that used to be an bird shop – the walls still adorning the tiles with feathered friends. Most Parisiens only start dinner after 9pm, so booking early is a win. We also had superb brown onion soup at Welcome just outside the Tuileries Metro stop and a fancy meal at Monsier Bleu – if you want to spot a model, this would be where!
It’s an incredible city, worth more than a weekend of your time. If you’re able to stay longer, look through the Goop Paris guide for more recommendations.