48 Hours in Paris
posted by Vicki in Gypsetters Guide
When I’m in Paris I’m usually in full-on tourist mode. On my first day, I try to get rid of jet lag by wandering around the streets, peeping into French boutiques and discovering new restaurants. The next day I’m refreshed and usually ready to browse and appreciate collections at their beautiful museums, eat at a recommended restaurant and perhaps grab a cocktail or two after dinner. If you’ve been to Paris once or twice before and want to explore beyond sites you have already visited such as Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and Louvre, here are a few stops to think about putting on your itinerary that will make you fall even more in love with the beautiful City of Light.
Why go: Because Paris!
Stay: I enjoy living in the 6th arrondissement of Paris because this happening section of town makes you feel like a local. Enjoy breakfast of a freshly-baked croissant and café while people-watching at Café Mabillon (plus free Wi-Fi too!) before a full day of walking its streets. You’ll surely find lots of interesting French fashion boutiques and good local bistros that add charm to the neighborhood. Aside from the cozy hotels you can book around here, such as the family-run Hotel Le Clément, many Parisians opt to rent out their apartments – they’ve been doing this long before Air BnB came into the picture!
Eat: When in France, eat French food — and there are so many lovely things to eat in Paris! They make the best macarons at Pierre Hermé and Ladurée (which is soon coming to Manila), the best hot chocolate at Angelina’s and don’t even get me started on their glorious assortment of cheese and wine. Again, while walking around Saint-Germain, I came across this fromagerie called Laurent Dubois which I found out only later on is a highly respected cheesemaker of excellent cheese.
When finding a good restaurant in Paris, I like getting recommendations from either friends or writers/bloggers based there such as David Lebovitz. My travel buddy Amanda did the research on his blog we narrowed our choice down to La Rotisserie du Beaujolais, which was right by the Seine and had a view of Notre Dame. There are so many yummy choices their menu but we definitely had to choose something that was roasted on that beautiful spit, so we chose the duck. The whole time we were drinking our Kir Royale and eating our perfectly buttery escargot appetizer, Amanda and I eyed the duck turning round and round, getting browner and browner, not believing the entire thing was for us. Fortunately, once it was plated, it was to a more manageable size, and it was extremely juicy and delicious!
Shop: Shopping in Paris is one guilty pleasure made a little less guilty, thanks to the 12% VAT refund France gives back to tourists whenever you spend 175.01 euros or more and buy less than 15 items. For this reason, it’s important to bring your passport details with you when you shop so you can fill out the forms properly at the stores. So go ahead and enjoy shopping at luxury boutiques Chanel, Dior, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin, but know there’s a real pleasure in making new discoveries by accident. This is how I found A.P.C., Paul et Joe, Cotélac and other French brands I had never heard of before then.
Do: Paris houses an amazing collection of art and it would be a shame not to visit any of it. You don’t have to fill your whole day looking at all the collections but you can visit sections of the museum and leave the others for another time when you are back in Paris. If you enjoy Impressionist art then head to the Museé d’Orsay where you can get your fill of Picassos, Gauguins, Degas, Cezanne, Matisse and more, spanning from 1848 to 1914. It’s a beautiful museum that was originally a train station designed by Victor Laloux in 1900 and easily navigable without using up your entire day devoted to it. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed inside this museum, all the more for you to devote your time to the art.
Paris is such a beautiful walking city and if you want to enjoy the fresh outdoors while viewing a selection of awe-inspiring art, then the Museé Rodin is a must-see. After the huge meal at La Rotisserie, Amanda and I rolled/ brisk-walked all the way here. How wonderful it is to take outdoor photos with these sculptures as your background.
I adore modern art and the Centre Georges Pompidou, which shows off its industrial-work-in-progress exterior of pipes, air ducts and bright splashy colors, is the place to see it. One of the most important modern art museums in Europe, the Centre Georges Pompidou offers an extensive library and exhibition and performance space.
Though I’m not fond of the crowds (especially the one around the Mona Lisa), I love the light that filters into the Louvre and hence a visit to its sculpture collection is a must as well.
Season: I prefer Paris in the Spring or Fall, with its crisp air and layers of clothes complemented by good walking boots.
In the know: Walk or take the Metro, cabs can be super expensive getting around the city. There are a lot of tourist traps here so good value for money or places off the beaten track, best to seek advice from someone who knows Paris well. Bring a compact yet sturdy umbrella for when it rains. Watch out for pickpockets so keep your valuables close at hand (zipped bags in front of you, men’s wallets out of the back pocket). Finally, always try and speak French, no matter how awful you are at it.
Check other posts..
We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.