At the end of 2015 to the start of 2016, I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in Paris sponging off my boyfriend, Eden who lived there. Eden lived in an amazing flat in Montmartre, just a 10 minute walk from the Sacre Coeur. It was everything you could have wished for in a tiny flat living in the centre of Paris. It was perfect.
I just thought I’d share with you some of the best things we got up to and our recommendations for anyone wanting to visit.
If you love cute little markets as much as I do then I seriously recommend buying the pocket sized ‘Markets of Paris 2nd Edition’ which you can buy from Amazon here. It’s Â£11.99 but its worth every penny and has a description of each market alongside its location. It has every market there is in Paris from food to books to stamps. I’d suggestÂ planning which markets you’re wanting to visit in advance because some are only on certain days/times and I missed out on visiting some due to being unorganised.
Eden and I visited MarchÃ© des Enfants Rouges in the 3rd arrondissement and had lunch there. Forgetting that the French have a very strict allocated lunch break, by the time we’d arrived most of the market stalls had stopped serving food, however we were lucky enough to find a small Moroccan stall still serving amazing food. I had a delicious Moroccan style chicken, vegetables and couscous which I still dream about to this day. It was so tastyÂ and really cheap too, I think it was aroundÂ â‚¬5.00.
If you get the chance, I’d recommend visiting MarchÃ© des Enfants Rouges for lunch as its got a huge variety of foods from Italian to Caribbean. Just make sure you get there on time!
We visited Rue Montorgueil which is just a stereotypical French food market selling smelly French cheese and fish. The market isÂ not really worth visiting unless smelly French cheese is your thing but when visiting we came across loads of cute little shops which are fabulous to have a mooch around, including a shop dedicated to selling terrariums. If you wander the neighbouring streets, you’ll come across loads of nice shops like Aesop, Benefit Makeup, Chloe and nice little independent retailers. Food wise, L’EscargotÂ was recommended to me by a friendÂ on Twitter for dinner. Although the reviews are 5*, it is extremely pricey so we didn’t go.
My favourite market was definitely the Christmas Markets near Jardins Tuileries. If I’m honest, it wasn’t the best for shopping as it was mainly the usual stuff you can find in the UK markets but it was full of festive treats like roasted chestnuts, hot red wine and churros! There was also an interesting stall selling snail slime based facial care… I’m still not too sure what to think of that. But on top of this there were loads of stalls selling cured meats, stinky French cheeses and handmade jewelleryÂ where I managed to buy my Mum some lovely earrings for Christmas.
Places to go
The Louvre is an obvious place to visit when you’re in Paris. Now I’m not sure whether you’re aware but if you’re between the ages of 18-25 and you’re an EU citizen then the Louvre is free for you. This includes many other museums like the MusÃ©e d’Orsay but its best to check on the website before visiting. All you need to take is your ID and that also works as your ticket. So once you’ve gone through security, theres no need to queue up again for a ticket, you show your ID on the entrance to the museum. I wish we had known this before we went as it would have saved a lot of queuing!
Museum wise, we visited the Louvre, MusÃ©e d’Orsay and Le Centre Pompidou. Personally I preferred Le Centre Pompidou and the MusÃ©e d’Orsay as they’reÂ a bit smaller and the art interests me more but the Louvre has some of the most famous pieces in the world. If you’re wanting a selfie with Mona Lisa then I suggest getting there ridiculously early as you can barely see her later in the day due to the crowd of people.
We visited the Sacre Coeur late one evening and I’m so glad that we did as there were barely any tourists and the view of Paris at nighttime was beautiful. In the evening they have street performers too so you can sit and watch them for a while.
Now I would highly recommend you visit Le Chat Mallows CafeÂ when you’re in Paris. Its a cafe that has cats living in it. IT IS AMAZING. Its kitty heaven and everything is feline themed (even the hot chocolate). Pictured above is my favourite cat, Jessie, she was so sweet. On their website you can see the different cats they have with a little biography describing who they are, when their birthday is and what breed they are.
Eden and I spent hours in here playing with the cats. It’s super cute.
Shopping wise, I’d recommend visiting Galeries Lafayette. It has everything from a small boutique Topshop to Gucci. I’d save a bit of money before visiting as you’ll probably want to buy everything you see as most of it is gorgeous. We went shopping just before my birthday and I only wish that I’d brought more money.
For my 19th birthday, Eden and I went to Disneyland. If you haven’t been then youÂ need to get yourself a ticket and go. Tickets are around â‚¬60.Â Unfortunately food and drinks are extremely expensive in Disneyland so we took a packed lunch which worked out great for us because we didn’t have to queue or wait for food, we could just eat when we wanted. My favourite ride was definitely Tower of Â Terror even though it scared the crap out of me and I thought I was going to die.
Things to do
Now I’m a big softy so it was on my list to drag Eden to the love lock bridge and to force him into writing on a lock. Eden couldn’t quite grasp the concept of throwing the key into the river afterwards because I quote “what happens if we break up though? How are we gonna take the lock down?” We both agreed that if we ever break up, whoever is next in Paris can cut it down with bolt cutters and then the problem is solved.
Anyway, the love lock bridge has now changed locations. I think the new location is situated near the river cruises at Pont Neuf Â but it’s best to double check that as I’m not 100% sure on the name. You can buy the locks on the markets by the side of la Seine which are aroundÂ â‚¬8 and they even lend you a sharpie.
Food & Drink
I am a massive foodie, my life revolves around food.
If you’re in Paris and you don’t have a French patisserie cake then did you really go to Paris? They’re usually aroundÂ â‚¬5 but it’ll be the bestÂ â‚¬5 you have ever spent. Calories shmalories, they’re delicious. If you happen to be visiting Montmartre, then I’d recommend going to Arnaud Delmontel but most patisseries are gorgeous. Eden and I ate a lot of patisserie cakes whilst staying in Paris but these two were my favourite by far.
We discovered BagelsteinÂ due to the fact that it was literally opposite Eden’s apartment which worked out really handy for when we were feeling extra lazy and couldn’t be bothered making any food. All I can say is that I wish we had a Bagelstein in the UK as it’s heaven. Imagine a Subway but for bagels and Bob’s your uncle, thats Bagelstein in a nutshell. Above is a smoked salmon, cream cheese and salad sesame seeded bagel- gorgeous. Its located at Rue MontmartreÂ so its a perfect pitstop for lunch if you’re visiting the Sacre Coeur or the Montmartre Cemetery.
Now this isn’t just Paris specific and you can visit it in London and other big cities in the world but I was a Haagen Dazs restaurant virgin and it was a must that I visited when I was in Paris. Its pretty pricy but I was willing to pay the price after seeing some of the pictures of previous visitors on Instagram. I have no idea what my dessert was called but it was so good. Somehow by pouring melted chocolate over the top of it made it 100x better too. Melted chocolate makes everything better, right? Sweet baby Jesus it was good. We also shared a smoothie which was ridiculously over priced and I really wouldn’t recommend it to anyone visiting as it wasn’t very nice.
On the topic of drinks, my friends will know that Creme de Cassis is my favourite drink and I urge everyone I meet to try it. In the UK, a bottle of Cassis will cost you around Â£12-18 but in France it’s aroundÂ â‚¬5 so obviously I try and stock up whenever I’m over there. Its a liquor made out of blackcurrants and it is magic juice. It tastes just like Ribena but it’s alcoholic. No one ever believes me when I ask them to try it and I say that it’s alcoholic due to the fact thatÂ you can’t taste the alcohol at all. The French traditionally mix Creme de Cassis with cider which is lovely but deadly. Its a key ingredient for some cocktails, however I drink it with lemonade and it’s delicious.
Paris is literally my favourite place on Earth and I have so many happy memories here. I’d love to live here one day in my own lil flat with my own lil French Bulldog called Pierre.