#Paris - the city of romance, the city of culture, the city of stars (stole right from La La Land there) everyone wants to visit this fantastic city. Paris is one of my favourite places in Europe - there is always a new building, a new place to eat, a new park to walk in.
There is the #Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Notre Dame; the list of historic buildings that define Paris goes on and on, however, if I name them all I'll use up too many characters and lose your interest.
These buildings were once considered a stark, unwanted, and expensive change to medieval Paris. Then, Napoleon, the 3rd appointed George-Eugène Haussmann to redesign the city.
He stated in his memoirs 'it was the gutting of Paris' and he turned the place into a building site for decades.
Today's Paris is what brings millions of people from across the globe to its streets, so Haussmann must have done something right. Luckily for us, he left a few monuments alone during his revamp of Paris, such as:
Palace of Versailles - This palace screams luxury, elegance, and wealth. It’s no surprise it was home to French royalty. This alone puts Paris’s architectural footprint on Europe. The palace is surrounded by 250 acres of landscaped gardens, which are beautiful and accessible by a train ride (for a few extra euros). If you can’t make it there, there is always the film Marie Antoinette you can watch.
The Notre Dame - Even the French king in the 16th century changed a lot of the exterior of this cathedral for ‘modernisational’ reasons.
During the French Revolution, the beautiful building was used for food storage.
The Eiffel Tower - who can’t write an article on Paris and not involve the Eiffel Tower? When people think of Paris, they think of dining in a rooftop restaurant while the lights of the Eiffel Tower reflect off their wine glass; they think of sunny days at the top of the tower, overlooking the beautiful city. All that romantic stuff. The tower has become an icon, but it wasn’t always loved by the French residents. The day it was unveiled in 1889, it was to a huge, impassioned protest. It was almost taken down a decade after it’s completion, but it’s usefulness as a radio tower saved it.
All these incredible and interesting buildings hold so much history, tell so many stories. Even your standard apartment has something to show you. The architecture in Paris has to be respected, admired and visited.
If you’re like me and great food makes you happy, then Paris is the city for you. I don’t mean snails and frogs legs though, but everyone’s different.
I was visiting Paris with my family one year and we went to a restaurant for breakfast. Little did we know four croque monsieurs and four orange juices would cost 80€!
So the food may be good, but depending where you go, it can get pricey. Paris being a major city, you’ll get a lot of high street restaurants and fast food joints. If you look down some side streets and in less tourist crazy places, you’ll easily find classic French cuisine to munch on.
The best food I’ve had in Paris comes from their small bakeries. Pain au Chocolat is my weakness. Even though I myself am Gluten intolerant, I find I can handle French dough, so I stock up my pockets on their pastries.
The best food in Paris comes from small cafe/restaurants or even street vendors. Yes, you can find plenty of restaurants that’ll leave your pocket light and won’t even fill you up - if you like that sort of thing. Here a list of great, cheapish food places that are a must when in Paris.
Au P’tit Grec - a place with the best Crepes in Paris. Cheap and cheerful, with huge portions.
Chez Alain Miam Miam - fill your stomachs with the best sandwiches here.
Hutch House of Hot Dogs - just your standard hot dog place, but in Paris!
La Pâtisserie Cyril Lignac - The most fantastic pastries in the City. Cyril Lignac is a famous French chef, so these pastries are bound to be worth the trip. Check out Cyril_Lignac (his Instagram) for pastry research.
If high eateries are your thing though, there are over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants to choose from - and 10 of those have three stars!
The bookshops (or just one in particular)
Paris is full of literature. It's one of the most artistic cities in the world, so there's no wonder some of the most amazing bookshops are there.
Shakespeare and Company is probably the most well-known bookshop in Paris. The first shop was opened by American Sylvia Beach, in 1919. During the 20s Shakespeare and Company attracted many then-budding writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Beach's bookshop was forced to close under the German occupation of Paris in 1941.
In 1951 it was re-opened, but not by Sylvia. It changed name in 1964, back to the original title of Shakespeare and Company in tribute to her. Even a bookshop has so much love and history to it!
The bookstore today sells new and second-hand books (some for hundreds of euros). It also houses inspiring writers in exchange for their help around the shop, which is a fantastic system. It really is a magical place. When you purchase a book from there, they stamp it with their own logo, which gives it a great personal touch.
The most intriguing cemetery in the world
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is planted in the 20th arrondissement, and it's the largest in the city, stretching 110 acres. Named after King Louis XIV’s confessor, it holds over 70,000 burial plots.
You might find it strange, an article suggesting you visit a place full of dead people on your lovely, romantic holiday. But it’s worth it, trust me.
The walls around it stretch on for ages, but just keep walking until you find an ornate looking door. That’s the entrance - or one of them at least.
Here you’ll find, as morbid as it sounds, the most incredible tombstones and graves. Oscar Wilde, Jean-François Champollion, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, and Jean de La Fontaine are a few of the well-known men and women who are buried there.
Here are a few fun facts for you:
• The first person to be buried there was a five-year-old girl named Adélaïde Paillard de Villeneuve.
• During its first year of opening, the cemetery only had 13 graves.
• Due to the lack of bones in there, the administrators transferred the dead from other local cemeteries.
• Père Lachaise still accepts new burials today, but there are strict acceptance rules.
• Some multi graves - those who house families - have shelving underground to accommodate them all.
So don’t knock a trip to this fascinating cemetery until you try it.
They are my four obscure reasons to visit Paris. So if you’re planning a trip to the big city, just take what you read into consideration. You could find your new favourite novel, be inspired by the artistic nature of Paris, or get creeped out by a lot of dead people.