One of my favorite quotes is “I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list.” France was NOT on my list. For many people, Paris is the Holy Grail. Countless movies have been made about France or take place in Paris which only increases its allure. Almost daily I see someone post a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower on Instagram. All things considered, I still was NOT enthused about visiting France. The main reason why I wasn’t interested in visiting France is because I had been told by multiple people French people are rude, even more if you don’t know any French, and that France is overrated. The extent of my French is Bonjour and Merci. I studied Spanish not French. Ultimately I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy France which is why I continued to travel everywhere but France. When my mother divulged one of her dreams would be to visit Paris, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to see for myself if all the rumors about France were true. Leading up to the trip, I spent weeks learning French on Duolingo. I wanted to at least be prepared to introduce myself and have a basic conversation.
Sightseeing on Steroids
48 hours in Paris was definitely NOT enough time. The day we arrived, we did a Hop On-Hop Off tour, which is a great option if you want to see as much as possible but are short on time. I bought tickets in advance to the Louvre which was smart because we didn’t have to wait in line. It’s important to know the Louvre is enormous and it would take days to cover the entire museum. We spent roughly an hour in the Louvre which was long enough to see the Mona Lisa and a few other notable paintings.
Shop till you drop
I was surprised to learn most stores, except those on the Champs Elysses, are closed on Sundays. We arrived on a Saturday. After we finished the hop on-hop off tour, my mother and I ventured out to a few thrift stores. I was a bit underwhelmed with the thrift stores because they were too small to browse comfortably. The stores felt more like vintage stores than typical second hand stores. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Goodwill (my favorite) equivalent. Although I was a bit disappointed with the Paris thrift store scene, I was determined to find out if the rumors about shopping in Paris were true.
Deservedly the Fashion Capital
Justifiably, Paris is synonymous with fashion. Parisians like to make a statement. My mother said when she headed to breakfast in our hotel with a jogging suit on, the women looked at her like she was from outer space. In the U.S it’s commonplace to see people out and about in sweats, NOT in Paris. In Paris, almost everyone is dressed impeccably. Like Zurich, all of the stores were having their January sales which included discounts of up to 60% off. The Champs Elysses is every shopaholic’s dream. There are stores which cater to ever budget from Zara to Louis Vuitton. A few of my favorite stores were Citadium, Morgan de Tois, and 66 Champs.
*Below I’m wearing a few of the pieces I bought in Paris.
Eating our way through Paris was filled with everything from macaroons, croissants, crème brulee, ice cream, and crepes. I would not describe myself as a foodie but the food in Paris is, without a doubt, in a category all by itself. Everything I indulged in was delectable and mouthwatering. I enjoyed macaroons the most. I’m currently on the hunt for a French bakery in Los Angeles.
Believe the Hype
Paris is NOT how the naysayers describe. Hands down, Paris exceeded ALL of my expectations. I did not find Parisians to be rude. Then again, I would recommend learning a few key French phrases but most Parisians speak English. I found myself wishing I could communicate solely in French. Surprisingly after weeks of Duolingo lessons I was NOT fluent, lol. However, I did find myself speaking Spanish on a couple of occasions which was a pleasant surprise. Our airport shuttle driver was from Peru. I found Paris to be filled with many attractive people of every shade of the rainbow. Paris is a noticeably diverse city with inhabitants from every corner of the globe. I didn’t find Paris to be any more expensive than many other European cities. It goes without saying the shopping is top notch so be prepared to shell out more than a couple Euros. I can’t say enough how amazing the food is. If you come home after your trip and your jeans fit more snug than you remember, don’t be alarmed. You were warned! My trip to Paris taught me to never allow others peoples’ opinions about a place to deter me from visiting and finding out for myself. I loved everything about Paris and hope to return soon to continue our love affair. Don’t take my word for it, go to Paris and you be the judge!
Hotel Duquesne Eiffel- Small boutique hotel within walking distance to the Eiffel Tower. Breakfast included. Nightly rate $160
Restaurants- Chez Andre (French cuisine, frequented by locals and celebrities alike)
Public transportation and Uber are great options to get around.