09 Sep Paris and it’s unique magic
Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris on a hot summer afternoon in August. That’s where my adventure started, and I guess that’s where countless other adventures started too – and always will.
But what makes Paris so unique and why is it such a magnet for tourists all over the world?
Well, to be honest at that point I didn’t know why. Everything looked pretty normal at the airport and I was tired from the journey, so I hadn’t recognized any differences to other cities. In any case, I was super excited to move into my new apartment I have booked via Airbnb. On the way to this apartment I was shocked by the way Parisians drive cars. I couldn’t figure out any traffic rules. Sometimes they stopped at red lights, sometimes not. I just closed my eyes at some point to feel safer.
After I survived my first hour on the road in Paris, the next surprise was already waiting for me at the Airbnb apartment. It was located in the attic of a very old building and there was no elevator. After climbing up 7 floors with all my bags I opened the door to the tiniest apartment I have ever seen.
Also, the next day’s didn’t turn out to be significantly better. I experienced the typical cliché of the unfriendly Parisians and their unwillingness to speak English. I felt uncomfortable in the old metro, paid an average of 7 Euros for a cup of coffee and had to wait many hours for all the tourist attractions in line.
One night I decided to buy a ticket for a night bus tour. I didn’t expect anything, but from there on everything changed. As the bus left at the Arc de Triomphe, the street lights of Paris turned on and this wonderful piano music ‘Comptine d’un autre été’ came out of the boxes.
During the next two hours in the bus I felt like I was in trance. The bus was driving on the cobblestone streets through the city center and we were crisscrossing the streets through all the ancient buildings lit by romantic old street lamps. Kissing couples popped up at every corner. And then it happened, the moment where I finally fell in love with Paris was at the Trocadero place from where I got to see the sparkling Eiffel tower. A joy to behold.
Although I had a bad start with this city, I was finally able to see it’s magic, which is much more noticeable during night. I began to understand why Paris is such a magnet for tourists and I started to discover all the magical & hidden places during the next weeks.
Let me give you some advice for your next Paris trip:
Paul at Rue de Buci
Enjoy your breakfast at Boulangerie Paul at Rue de Buci and experience the feeling of tradition and Parisian coffee culture at close quarters. As Rue de Buci is in the city center, discover it’s neighborhood by walking and take a Macaron to go when you leave Paul.
Jardin du Luxemburg
Take one of the green chairs, sit down and spend the afternoon there inhaling the beauty of this garden.
Bring a book or some music with you.
Walk through the streets of Montmatre and sit down on the stairs that lead to the entrance of Sacre Coeur. Expect to see the most beautiful view of the city.
Tuilleries Gardens & Musée de l’Orangerie
Walk through the beautiful Tuilleries Gardens and enter the Musée de L’Orangerie. Sit down for a while and enjoy the beauty of Monet’s Water Lilies.
Pantheon + Rue Mouffetard
Lie down on one of the wooden benches in front of the Pantheon and watch the stars for a while. Don’t forget to listen to some French music. Maybe you know the song ‘Je ne regrette rien’ from Edith Piaf. If you like bars, go afterwards for a drink in one of the cute little bars at Rue Mouffetard.
Enjoy a glass of wine in the patio of the famous hotel Costes. The prices are high, but the ambience is breathtaking.
Big Red Bus Tour
Take the night tour with this Red Bus and discover the magic of Paris after 10pm.
How to be Parisian in one hour
Enjoy a Parisian comedian that shows tourists how to behave as a Parisian (in English – very rare in Paris). Then you will totally understand why apartments are so small, traffic is bad, and why Parisians sometimes seem to be rude.
Bassin de la Villette
Discover the small Eiffel Tower at the Bassin de la Villette.
Parc the la Villette
Bring a towel, a bottle of wine, cheese and other French snacks and pick a space in front of the big screen at the Parc de la Villette. Enjoy one of the free open air shows there.