Travel Interview- Paris
I have asked some travelers to answer questions about Paris and traveling in general. You may find some differences in opinions, but remember that each person may have a different style of travel they prefer. Regardless, there are lots of tips and insight on the City of Lights (or Love).
From: New York City
From: Quebec, Canada
Photos: Patricia of @keatoncollaboration
How many countries have you travelled to?
Giedre: I’ve been to more than 30 countries, 5 different continents
Allie: I've lost count! Probably a good problem to have 🙂 I would say somewhere in the mid 20s.
How many times have you been to Paris?
Giedre: I’ve been to Paris more than 5 times
Marine: I’m French, and born in Paris. I was raised in the country side but cam back when I was 18. Stayed there on and off for my studies and first work experiences for the last 10 years.
Virginie: Been to Paris once, but a 2nd time coming in May.
Where did you stay and how did you like it?
Victoria: Stayed in Grenelle (about 5 minutes south of the Eiffel Tower -found through Airbnb)
Giedre: Every single time I go to Paris, I try different ways of staying. Hotel, Airbnb, Couchsurfing, Hostel and etc. My best experience so far was with Couchsurfing because I got to see the non-touristic part of Paris and fell in love with the city all over again.
Allie: I lived in L'Onzieme, Paris' 11th arrondisement, which was awesome. Pretty residential with just enough great bars, restos, creperies, pharmacies, Monoprix's, Carrefours, just blocks away. Quick walk to beautiful parks for a jog or bottle of wine. I went to school on the other side of the river in the 5th district, which made for a lovely daily walk through some of the more touristy / shopping areas, the bohemian district of Le Marais, past bakeries and beautiful churches.
Marine: My apartment is in the center, next to the centre George Pompidou. I'm literally in the middle of two very different areas, le Marais, which is know for the gay population living here and all the fashion shops and cool cafés, and Les Halles, where all the Suburb trains arrive so it's way more eclectic and popular. And it's very central so it's easy to move to other areas like République, Pigalle, or Rive Gauche (but not too much).
Catharina: First time I stayed at a really nice hotel with my grandparents but I don't remember the name. The second time I stayed at a friend's place.
Aubray: The first time I stayed at an Airbnb in a more questionable area of Paris. I was later told it was the Red Light District, but I never felt in danger and the people in the neighborhood were some of the friendliest. I have friends who own a little burger joint on that side of the city because of my stay there. The second time I went to Paris, I stayed in someone’s home and it was a really nice area of the city. Both were beautiful regardless of their differences.
Virginie: Stayed in the 13th, in someone’s house- liked it because it was close to the metro station.
What was the weather like while you were there?
Victoria: August - about 30 degrees C!
Giedre: I've been there several times, my best time was in Spring. It was perfect, because all the trees and flowers were starting to bloom! The temperature was perfect too - not too hot, not too cold 🙂
Allie: I was there from May through the end of July and it was HOT HOT HOT! Because Paris is landlocked you get some pretty crazy temperature changes so I would usually have to dress at the beginning of the day in four or five layers, shed them, and then night would fall and I'd have to throw them all back on.
Marine: Hmm the weather is tricky, you'll be wearing skirts in April and freezing under the rain in July. And then you have the Indian summer, but not always. Always carry an umbrella in winter and a “just in case” sweater mid season.
Catharina: The first time was in may and we were really lucky with the weather. It was sunny and warm. The second time, in April, we weren't that lucky. It was raining the whole time.
Aubray: I went during June as well as October and the weather was incredible both times. It was sunny every day and not too hot during the summer. In October, the weather was a little cooler.
Virginie: Warm weather, but rained at the end for 5 days in a row. Lovely smell from the flowers.
What are your must-see/do's?
Victoria: Definitely walk around the city to see the main sights, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, etc. - Luxembourg Gardens, Sacre Coeur, Louvre (go at night to save queues!)
Giedre: My must see’s are Le Comptoir General (favorite bar for sure!), Montmartre neighborhood and Parc des Buttes-Chaumont for a sweet picnic! Don’t forget to eat bread from a local bakery and get some fresh cheese from a grocery store!
Allie: Get a bottle of wine, stop by a boulangerie and get some snacks to eat with your fresh French bread and enjoy it on a blanket in a park— really any park, but there are some A+ hilltop parks overlooking the city. Do not pass this up! Also, take your snacks and eat along the Seine. See the catacombs! There's usually a humongous line but if you can manage the patience / get around it... go.
Marine: Le Marché des Enfants rouges, it s always crowded but you’ll find the best hungover sandwich. Picnic on the side of the canal Saint Martin as soon as the weather become nice, don’t forget your bottle of wine. The Galerie de L’évolution, it's a museum about evolution of species, the building itself is amazing! And then tea at La Mosquée de Paris. And don’t forget to party! Pre-drinks at Le Mauri7 and then dance all night at La Machine du Moulin Rouge. The Cité de la Mode et du Design is also a place where you’ll find a lot of cool bars and clubs! And my friend’s bar, Le Wood.
Catharina: Of course the Louvre. And especially when you're a student, go see as many museums as possible since the entrance is for free if you show your student ID (no matter in which country you study). Two more favourites of mine are the Sacré-Cœur and the Jardin des Tuileries. And of course walking around and exploring the city by foot is always the best way to get to know a city.
Aubray: Eiffel Tour, The Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Jardin du Lexmbourg, Notre Dame Cathedral, Versailles Palace, The Latin Quarter, Sacred Heart Basillica, Jardin des Tuileres, and Musee Rodin. I would also encourage going to Moonshiner which is a speakeasy. It enables you to experience a little more of behind the scenes Paris Nightlife.
Virginie: Île St-Louis, Eiffel tour, Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, Versailles
What things are overrated?
Victoria: I wouldn't pay to go up the Eiffel tower, you can get much better views from walking around or spending the money to go to a good cocktail bar with a view
Giedre: I think that Louvre and Eiffel Tower are overrated. There’s always tons of people around. If you’ve never been there - go, but one time is more than enough 🙂 Seriously, I haven’t seen Eiffel Tower the last 3 times I visited Paris and I am not disappointed at all.
Allie: Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe / Champs-Elysees. Do literally all other touristy things — and take advantage of Paris' bountiful, wonderful museums. And don't get too ambitious at Le Louvre.
Marine: I would say Les Champs Elysées, because no Parisians actually go there. It's like it does not exist, you’ll never hear a Parisian say “hey let’s have a 8€ Coca Cola on Les Champs Elyses”.
But I guess if you are one time in Paris you still have to go, no need to stop, just take a bus or an uber up the avenue. I still have goosebumps when I drive there at night.
Catharina: Actually I can't think of anything I think was overrated.
Aubray: I love all the tourist attractions because there is so much history behind each location. I used the metro to explore most of the city which was cost effective and really great exercise. I walked 25 miles in one day which I would not recommend haha
Virginie: Père Lachaise cemetery
What is the best food you ate in Paris?
Victoria: Garlic snails!
Giedre: The best food was Laduree macaroons or any other pastry from the bakery. I love love love French desserts and I believe that they’re done to perfection! Spoil yourself a little while you’re there!
Allie: Chez Gladines. Holy sh*t this place blew my mind — a recommendation from my favorite professor. My friends and I ate there upwards of five times once we tried it out.
Marine: My fav is a 5 am entrecôte but I'm pretty sure my judgment was not the best at this time.
You'll find amazing falafels at Rue des Rosiers in the Marais, crazy cool breakfast at Benedict.
The thing in Paris is that you can basically find anything you want, so to pick a restaurant, it’s more about “how to make the whole gang happy” with situation, price, vibe etc. And you know the food will mostly always be good.
Catharina: Visit the Creperie Brocéliande in Rue des Trois Frères and try yourself 😉
Aubray: Some of the best food I ate were random hole in the walls, off the beaten path. I have some really amazing memories talking to the locals about their families in Paris and it also gave me insight on things I would want to do during my next visit. Definitely take advantage of all the pastries, croissants, and carbs. Paris knows how to make them.
Virginie: Chèvre chaud salad.. well, cant decide! France is the country where I ate the best!!
What was your reason for this trip?
Victoria: A quick weekend break (Eurostar from London is super quick)
Giedre: Mostly my reasons for Paris were long weekend getaways 🙂 Just be careful if you travel with Ryanair or Wizzair, cause the airport they land is quite far away from the city of Paris! Just a little heads up, so you are not surprised after!
Allie: Getting my language credit in for NYU!
Catharina: The first time I went with my grandparents on a city trip. The second time I went for a Justin Timberlake concert.
Aubray: The first time I went it was just to explore the city. The second time I went to Paris to help with the refugee crisis so I was able to see more than just the attractions and tourist destinations. I hung out in many of the cities lower income areas and spent time with Pakistani women who had escaped with just the clothes on their backs. I was able to listen to the stories of men from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Algeria, and Libia. How they had spent days on boats until they arrived safely to dry land and how many were separated from their families because of the journey. Having the opportunity to just love these people in the smallest way by listening to their stories was one of my favorite experiences in Paris.
Virginie: I was travelling just about a month in France, so I started there.
Where is your favorite place you've ever been?
Giedre: My favorite place I have ever been to..Hmm.. very hard to choose but probably Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia! It’s a surfers paradise and a wonderful little beach town by the east coast of Australia. A must for everyone!
Allie: Parc des Buttes Chaumont, at sunset, with wine and snacks (did I mention this is a must-do?!)
Marine: My favorite place is Cape Town, I actually haven’t been back in Paris since I went to Cape Town. This city gives you all Paris can give you, fashion, food, art, music. And all that Paris can’t, the sea, the mountain, the surf, the animals.
Catharina: South Africa, Morocco, Israel (sorryyyy, can’t decide)
Aubray: There are so many places that I love, but one of my favorite places is definitely Bali, Indonesia.
Virginie: In Paris- the little streets. Outside of Paris- I’d say Tour for the castles, and Chamonix for the landscapes
Anything else you'd like to share?
Victoria: For Paris...it is all about the food and leisurely wandering. Find out where the locals go and do the same...when I last went Pigalle was the fashionable area and it was great and even made friends with some locals while out for dinner!
Giedre: No matter where you go, don’t forget to smile. That’s the best language in all over the world! 🙂
Allie: The best things to experience in Paris are the ones you find on your own. Be brave, wander, discover and have an experience all your own!
Marine: I apologize in advance for my fellow Parisian that are going to be rude to you when you visit. And our waiters!
Try and speak a little bit of French, crack a joke, smile and everything will be alright.
And forget the Metro, take a Velib 🚲
Catharina: If you have any questions to any places I’ve been to, connect with me on Instagram. Excited to meet some fellow travelers ❤