There has been so much written about the “City of Love” that it’s not worth my writing up yet another trip summary or Guide to Paris. Yes, the Mona Lisa is a bit underwhelming. No, you cannot see the Eiffel Tower from everywhere. Yes, Versailles is expensive and crowded, but you should go anyway. Etc. Instead, I’ve written up some tips and unexpected discoveries from my trip that I hope will prove useful to any of you. If you are a frequent traveler, you might find something new. If it’s your first trip to Paris, you might be mistaken for a local.
The best things I ever ate in Paris are…
Ice cream – Parisians are very proud of their ice cream, and they have good reason to be. Go to Berthillon. Not to the dozens of ice cream shops that happen to sell their ice cream – go to the original location on Île Saint-Louis, the one with the longest line. This might be the only location where they serve “fraise des bois” (wild strawberry) flavor. You’ll pay a little extra for this one flavor, but it’s unbelievably worth it. Also, beware, Berthillon closes for most of August.
Falafel – I would not have found this if I hadn’t made a mistake of searching for “Jewish Quarter” when I meant “Latin Quarter”. The first result was called “L’As du Fallafel“ with over 1000 positive reviews. Make your way to Rue des Rosiers, weaving between Vespas and carousing groups of Hasidics to this little eatery and get the Falafel Special. For around 5 EUR, you’ll get a magical concoction of falafel, eggplant and 3 kinds of pickled cabbage stuffed into a pita. I can now safely say – the best falafel I’ve ever had was in Paris.
Pot de Fer – This street, meaning “Iron Kettle” is near the Place Monge Metro stop and is absolutely packed with delicious, lively restaurants of all manners of cuisine, from French to Japanese to Italian and more.
Some ways to save money are…
Eiffel Tower – Go to the East Pillar (Pillar Est) and take the stairs. Not only will it be cheaper, but there will be a shorter line, and the views while climbing inside one of the Tower’s legs are amazing. Don’t worry, you can still take an elevator between the 2nd and 3rd level.
Museum Pass – Only get this if you love museums and plan to go to more than four on a tight schedule. The only museum on this pass when it might have been worth it to skip a line was Saint Chapelle. Surprisingly, I got into the Louvre on a Saturday afternoon after only 10 minutes in line. Also, all museums are free on the 1st Sunday of each month, but beware the lines.
Metro tickets – The standard “single ride” ticket is misnamed. You can actually use your ticket (1.70 EUR within the city) as many times as you wish within a 1.5 hour period.
Do any of you have your own tips and discoveries to add to this list?
Next up: London!