We’ve all read how people can either love or hate Paris. I used to live two hours away from Paris. The first time I visited Paris was October 2011 after nine years, I was so very excited to see the city again. Every corner seemed to amuse me: the river Seine, the sparkling lights of Eiffel Tower at night, the bustling crowd in Quartier Latin, the amazing Louvre – everything made my jaw drop and say WOW.
Then after several visits to Paris including showing Paris around for friends (you know the whole, this is Eiffel Tower, yes that is the river Seine, no you can’t swim in the river!), I grew restless. Whenever I have to come to Paris for some administration purposes, instead of being excited, I just let out a huge, long sigh “Paris, again?!”.
Then, little things annoyed me. Like why are the metros so plain ugly (well, ok, not all, some) with noisy, rattling noise. And what’s with the long walk to the metro in Gare Montparnasse with no lift/escalator, and when there is actually a lift/escalator IT DOESN’T WORK. Oh and Champs-Élysées is not that great, you can’t even walk without bumping into people. Oh the list goes on!
For my last days in France, I took a few days to stay in Paris. I was exhausted from travelling all Summer and just wanted to stay in my friend’s apartment all day long doing absolutely nothing because after all what can I do, Paris has bored the life out of me.
But of course that was the original plan. In reality, my last days in Paris turned out to be quite lovely. I was staying in the Olympiades area, and there is nothing touristic about the place. In fact it was just another French neighbourhood. I liked that.
Saturday afternoon, my friend took me out for a walk. After 20 minutes of walking (and several other minutes being distracted by a few shops), we were at Parc de Bercy. This park by the Seine is a small park with a lovely atmosphere. Little did I know that next to the park was Cour Saint Emilion. As far as I was concerned, this place was merely a metro station that I often pass by, but it turns out to be a really cool place. There is Passage Saint Emilion, where there is a line of quirky shops and cute cafes. I really like the vibe, I wish I was there for more than one evening!
Sunday evening, my friend and I made our way to Notre Dame – I found this place to be one of my favourite spots in Paris. I can never get tired of Notre Dame, unlike the Eiffel Tower (sorry!). I FINALLY went to Shakespeare and Company bookstore, which is by the way just next to Notre Dame. I wanted to hit myself so many times for not noticing this beauty spot before. It took all of me to not buy a book from this bookstore, remembering the luggage I have to carry. I love this antique place, with its tranquil and relaxed ambience. It just made me want to stay there and read books all day long.
So YES Paris IS boring when all you do is look at all those famous touristic places. Well, at least that’s what happened to me. Here’s a list of places you might wanna see when boredom starts crawling down your spine in Paris:
- Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore – Mentioned above, it’s a pretty place where you can sit outside reading books and play chess all day.
- Frog Pubs – This pub makes their own beer and have really tasty food. I was here celebrating the New Year earlier this year and it was really great. They have a lot of branches in Paris, so visit one if you have time…plus check out their British accent, so happy to hear it in Paris!
- Le Paradis du Fruit – If you’re a foodie, you must drag yourself to this chic resto and order Paradis du Paradis. Basically it’s a giant plate of food, probably the best giant plate of food I have ever tasted. Do take a friend or two as you will not be able to finish it by yourself, even if you want to. I also slurped down their Orangeade Espagnole, was exquisite and went down in a matter of seconds.
- Passage Saint Emilion – Take a stroll in this passage and enjoy the place. There is even one of the Frog Pubs here, so it’s like two for the price of one!
- How to Become a Parisian in One Hour? – Fancy a laugh in Paris? Why not book yourself a ticket to this show! Olivier Giraud is the man behind this comedy show and it’s in English for you non-French speaker. It’s so funny laughed till my tummy hurts.
Think those places are still boring you? Why not add a few recommendations yourself? Let’s share!