Saturday, June 3rd, 2017
Weather: High 69/58 cloudy and rainy
Distance: 15,244 steps, 7.2 miles
I arrived at Gare du Nord (the main train station) and took the subway to my hostel, 3 Ducks Hostel. The place was nice but a little out of the way. I booked it to be close to the Eiffel Tower but that isn’t really the best place to stay because it is more residential.
I had to start crossing off the cliché Paris things: first stop, getting crepes at Creperie Mad'eo. It is a really small restaurant that fit maybe 20 people. I was handed a menu that was in French (shocker, I know) and in a panic move ordered food with words I recognized. I got a caramel ai beurre sale maison, glacé vanilla artisanale (caramel butter and vanilla ice cream), chocolat, banane (chocolate, banana) with cidre et jus de pomme sehedic which is a cider that the waitress recommended. After I finished my dessert, I had my dinner and ordered les compsee (the combined) oeuf (egg) and lard (bacon).
As I ate there was this little blonde girl, who was maybe 3 years old, singing as she was having a large family dinner. She would sing and her parents tried to quiet her. But, every time she sang I would keep my head straight down but bob it back and forth and she eventually caught on. She would sing and look at me and smile. When I left she smiled at me, waved, and watched me go. This was early in the trip so you can tell I was feeling sentimental and just happy to be there because I wrote “I learned dancing and singing transcends languages and so does bonding with kids.” Who writes that?!
Next stop, the Eiffel Tower! It was first time in Paris, give me a break. I was able to catch it with a beautiful sunset behind it and walked around the 7th arr.
Sunday, June 4th, 2017
Weather: High 72/low 60 partly cloudy
Distance: 16,823 steps, 7.8 miles
The hostel had breakfast so I munched on that and headed to the St. Michel fountain to start a Sandemans tour through central Paris. I used Sandemans tours in most cities they offered and really like them!
The St. Michel Fountain is him defeating the devil and was a symbol of hope when Paris was occupied by the Nazis from 1940-1944. Notre Dame, which was built in 1113, stands near by (I was sad to see that it caught fire shortly after I posted this post).
We walked to Palais de justice de Paris, Saint Chapel, and Pont Neuf which means "new bridge" but is actually the oldest bridge. Classic switcheroo! We crossed the bride of the arts (original love lock bridge) and looked at the Academia Frances. We walked through the courtyard of the Louvre, which used to be a Palace before Louis the 14th moved to Versailles and turned it into an art academy. Outside the Lourve there is the l'arc de triomphe du carrousel (A smaller version of Arc De Triumphe since it wasn't ready in time for Napolean's return). Across the water is the The Musee Orsee, which was a train station, but now picks up where the Louvre ends in chronological order.
Once the tour was over I wandered by conseil d'etat and beffroi. I stopped to eat at Le Spicy Home (It’s a French and Asian fusion restaurant). I noticed during the tour that between Pont Neuf and Pont of the Artes they sold street art and went back to take a peek.
I later stopped by le comptior, which is a wine bar, for some food. The day of wandering continued as I walked to Le Jardin de Luxembourg to look at the Fontaine Medicis, Palais de Luxembourg, and watched some hoopers in the park. The Statue of Liberty was there so it made it feel like home.
Tour Fun Facts:
Monday, June 5th, 2017
Weather: High 73/low 56 partly cloudy
Distance: 20,433 steps, 9.6 miles
The day was mostly just wandering around and exploring the city. The first stop was at Kozy for breakfast. They had a speculoos spread that I put on my waffles that was amazing! I then wandered over to the arc de triomphe, grand palais, petit palais, and pont alexandre III.
It was then time for lunch and went to at Malabar. I just continued to wander and passed by Hotel de Invalides, Palais Bourbon Assemble Nationale, Tuileries garden. I headed back down by the river and looked at what people were selling.
After that I headed over to see Le Pantheon, lace de la bastille, opera Bastille, places des voges and ending by getting something to eat at La Perle. On the walk back to the subway I saw the Musee National Picasso.
Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
Weather: High 67/low 54 cloudy and rainy afternoon
Distance: 17,591 steps, 8 miles
When taking my Sandemans tour they mentioned a tour out to the Palace of Versailles and I signed up. I got to the meeting spot early and grabbed breakfast at Le Fenelon as I waited for the tour to head over to the train station.
The Palace was originally Louis the 13th’s hunting cabin and Louis the 14th expanded onto it and was the first king to live there permanently. The estate is so big that it is an hour walk to go from side to side. The garden grounds are broken into different areas. The La sale de bal (ballroom) was an outdoor ballroom where events were held, the Bassin de Mirror (mirror pool), and there are four fountains representing the seasons.
When I got back to Paris I wanted to try more crepes and stopped by Creperie Des Arts. They were fine but the crepes tasted different and I didn’t like it as much as Creperie Mad'eo.
I headed back to Sainte Chappelle and to go in Notre Dame. After leaving, I had just turned the corner when people started running past me and police were running towards me. I later found out that a person attacked an officer and was killed. I had just left which was crazy.
After my crepe experience earlier I was left wondering what the true taste of authentic crepes was and headed to Breizh Café to get some answers. This place was ranked in the top 5 to 10 on multiple lists. They were better than Creperie Des Artes but still not as good as Creperie Mad'eo.
More Palace of Versailles Fun Facts:
Wednesday, June 7th, 2017
Weather: High 70/low 51 partly cloudy
Distance: 17,014 steps, 8.2 miles
Through social media I saw that a friend of mine was in Paris and we met up at Coutume Cafe. Le Jardin de Luxembourg was near by so we headed over to the Statue of Liberty and sat at the Fontaine Medicis.
We walked to Pierre Herme where I bought some cheesecake and headed to La Cantons Du Troquet for lunch. It was really good! I asked my friend if she thought it would be a big deal if I had my cheesecake and she said no. She was wrong! I got yelled at by the manager I think, so I left a big tip and we got the heck out of there! After such a stressful event we sat in the sun at Square Boucicaut.
I left to check into my air bnb and do some laundry but we met up later at Candelaria. We were both hesitant to have Mexican food in Paris but it was super tasty! We sat with other travelers and one person said how they had good Mexican food in Interlaken, Switzerland. I ended up skipping Zurich and adding in Interlaken because of this fact and it gave me one of my favorite memories.
Candelaria is attached to a cocktail place so after some tacos we hung out and had a drink. We then headed to the Little Red Door. Candelaria and Little Red Door were ranked number 19 and 11 for best bars in 2017 for whatever that is worth, but if that isn’t enough I recommend them both! I had a friend who used to live in Paris and said I should check out Pop In. It was kind of like a dive bar but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Thursday, June 8th, 2017
Weather: High 80/low 55 - sunny
Distance: 21,809 steps, 10.2 miles
Since it was my last day in Paris I wanted to get crepes so I went to Creperie Mad'eo and ordered three. Gotta go out with a bang! On the walk back I stopped by Borissou boulangerie patisserie and got a croquette. I thought I was ordering a donut, it was not. It was still good though.
Later that day I met up with my friend at Ober Mamma for dinner. I got there at like 5:45pm and there was already a line forming. At 6pm the hostess allowed us to put our names on the list and we sat at the bar and ordered drinks because we wouldn’t be seated for dinner until 7. They brought out parmesan cheese, ham, house bread, and olives which were all good. Once we got to the dinner table I ordered a pizza which was good. I highly recommend this place.
After dinner we walked along the river and through Paris. We ended at Caveau de la huchette which was a jazz club that was underground. I had a Desperados which is now my favorite beer! It is tequila flavored and I like it. They don’t sell it in the United State but I had it again in Queenstown, New Zealand and drove to Canada when visiting my grandma in Buffalo to bring some back home with me. After we hung out there I ended up walking back to my air bnb to enjoy the streets and make one last stop by the Eiffel Tower.
Friday, June 9th, 2017
Weather: High 72/low 55 - sunny
In the morning I stopped at Boulangerie Suffren 55 to grab snacks for my trip to Amsterdam.
Getting Around: 9/10
The city is small enough that if you want to walk around you can but there is also a subway. I'm sure there are cabs and stuff but I don't remember any, but there has to be!
Things to do: 10/10
Whether you want to go to a top ranked cocktail bar, a jazz club, the French Open, a concert in the park, or an art museum, you can do whatever you want here.
I didn't mind the food but as I've talked to people it can be hit and miss. Worst case, there is always lots of wine, bread and cheese available, if you are able to eat it!
I was in Paris for almost a week and never ran out of things to do, and I didn't even go in the Louvre. I found the city easy to get around and architecturally very pretty. I thought it was cool that it appeared there was a building height limit as they were all the same heigh except for a couple. I enjoyed the food whether I had crepes, tacos, or pizza. I checked out some of the best ranked cocktail bars in the world. I also discovered speculoos spread which is a real life changer. I went to an under ground jazz/dance club and found my favorite beer of all time. I was busy the entire time but would love to go back and slow travel and enjoy the city. Do things like have a bottle of wine by Seine River or find a high traffic area and sip a cup of coffee and people watch. I felt Paris was a place you always hear about and is an obvious choice to be ranked high but in my opinion it lived up to the hype. You can see where that ranks against the other places I've gone here.
My Non-Obvious Paris Recommendations:
What To Bring
If you wanted to know what I bring on my backpacking trips you can find that here.
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HELLO AND WELCOME!
I'm Jake, a dude interested in personal finance and travel creating the life I choose.
In 5 years I went from living in a basement with Craigslist roommates to paying off 90k of debt, backpacking 3 continents, getting a house for myself and 5 rental units.
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All photos on the blog are from my travels
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