“Photography is the story I fail to put into words”

Destin Sparks

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Stephen King

Paris je t’aime: a quick guide to Paris

I can’t believe I finally visited Paris. I travel all around the world, but I have never been before to Paris. Which is practically around the corner from Amsterdam (only a 3 hours’ train ride from Amsterdam to Paris). But now I finally went to Paris and I can tell you: Paris je t’aime!

Arriving in Paris

The train departed at 11.35 in Amsterdam and at 14.35 we arrived at Gare du Nord in Paris. After 25 minutes’ walking, we arrived at our gorgeous little apartment on 26 Rue des Gravilliers. Here we stayed for the weekend. This apartment is in the neighbourhood of Le Marais in the 3rd arrondissement. A lot of houses and apartments are hidden behind a beautiful gate, and our apartment was no exception. When you enter you step into a secret garden and find yourself in a quiet little courtyard.

As I made a Paris Bucket List there was enough to do in this city. I learned from prior travels that walking is the best way to discover a city and to be really part of it. Thus for miles and miles I (don’t forget my boyfriend that tagged along with me and all my plans) walked this weekend and discovered as much as possible of the beauty of Paris. Below you can read about the highlights during my weekend trip to Paris.

Le Marais

Le Marais is an upcoming and very charming neighbourhood with original stores, hip restaurants, hidden courtyards and small alleys. Wander around this neighbourhood and you will discover a lot.

If you are looking for a restaurant in this neighbourhood I can highly recommend Le 404 and Derriere. Le 404 is a Moroccan restaurant and Derriere really put some effort into creating a special atmosphere. The ‘comfy-home’ style creates a warm place for a nice dinner. Are you ready for some drinks after dinner? Then Andy Wahloo is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail. Watch while they make a first-class cocktail for you with precision.

Ile de la Cité & Île St-Louis

In the middle of the city you can find two islands, Ile de la Cité & Île St-Louis, that are surrounded by the Seine. Here you find the impressive Notre Dame. In front of the Cathedral you find Point Zero (a bronze compass) and it this is the point where since 1769 all roads to and from Paris have come together.

The Heart of Paris

This is where you will find many eminent highlights of the city. Walk towards the Seine and let the river guide you to the famous Louvre where you can admire the Mona Lisa and other precious art. Make sure you visit the Jardin des Tuileries after the Louvre. This garden is directly next to the museum and here you can enjoy the sun and process all the artistic works that you just saw.

Exit the Jardin des Tuileries and go for a bit of shopping to Colette’s. Don’t forget to go to Angelina’s afterwards for a delicious classic hot chocolate. If you are on a tight time schedule you can order a take-away hot chocolate and so you can continue with your adventure.

Go back to the Jardin des Tuileries and you will walk towards the Roue de Paris, the biggest (transportable) ferris wheel. As walking is the best way to discover a city, we walked (following the breath-taking Seine) all the way to the Eiffel Tower. We saw the sun going down and turning the Eiffel Tower in gold. Just wonderful!

Quartier Latin

This neighbourhood is known as the student neighbourhood. Another important aspect of this area is the food! As students from all over the world came to live in this district, the food is very international as well. It is not expensive and it is very good. Tip of mine: Le Porte-Pot is a walk-in friendly restaurant with simple good food and a decent glass of wine. You can even buy a bottle of wine to take home with you.

Montmartre

And last, but definitely not least there is the charming neighbourhood of Montmartre. Van Gogh and Renoir once lived in Montmartre and this area is still known for its artistic vibe, shops and cafes. You have to visit Le Sacre Coeur as the architecture is just brilliant. Climb all the way up the alleys and stairs to the highest point of the city (which is at Sacre Coeur), the reward will be big: a spectacular view over Paris.

Be warned, around Sacre Coeur you will not be the only tourist. So if you are ready for some peace and quite, away from the touristy spots, walk back down and enter some hidden alley to see the local part of Montmartre. A local coffee shop that I find particularly nice is KB CaféShop. The cappuccino and scone with jam were absolutely delicious. However the espresso tasted a bit weird (maybe too strong?) so watch out with that one!

Don’t forget to see the Wall of Love. This wall carries the phrase “I love you” in 311 times in 250 languages. How romantic can it be? You can find it near the subway station Abbesses in Montmartre.

I’d recommend visiting Paris: get lost while exploring back alleys and hidden doors and so uncover secrets and make memories that are all yours to keep.

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