Why you will love Paris!
It's pretty hard not to! So much of our perception of romance is wrapped up in the style and mythology of this city. It really just sells itself, so try not to love it!
Watch out for:
- Speaking English - you can get around most of Europe not bothering to learn the native tongue (which is terribly rude but we all do it) but you should definitely brush up on your French before arriving here. Not every waiter and shopkeeper will give you a hard time but knowing at least a little French will help you avoid some seriously smug eye rolls.
- Dog poo - it's e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Look where you're putting those feet.
- Veggie avoiding - Paris has a bad reputation for not being especially vegetarian and vegan-friendly. But don't let that put you off travelling there now as there has been a serious sea change. Sure, you'll probably still struggle for a notable veggie option at your average restaurants so check out East Side Burgers, Fee Nature, Pinson cafes, Sol Semilla, and Tien Hiang among others.
- Being too colourful - if you wear black all the time, you'll be fine in Paris. But be prepared for being openly stared at (or even insulted) in the street if your hair or clothes are a little beyond the norm. I don't think anyone should have to tone themselves down for anyone. Love your look! Just be ready for a little more attention than normal.
- The Eurostar from London - why would you fly there? Especially when you can skip from Kings Cross to Gare du Nord in no time. You can also catch trains to most of Europe from Paris if you don't have to rush your trip.
Bar hopping around so many different areas - Pigalle, Marais, Bastille and Canal Saint-Martin. Try a different area every night!
- Père Lachaise cemetery - without listing off all the famous people buried here (you can buy a map at the front gate if you fancy some deceased star-spotting), this place is suitably haunting in its beauty and well worth a stroll. It is huge and full of vintage cobblestones, so don't even think of wearing heels here (like I did on my first trip).
- Shakespeare and Company - if you're heading to Paris and you've never seen Before Sunset, then you need to remedy this. Of course, there is much much more to this famous English-language bookshop than Jesse and Céline though, so why not read the fantastic Vanity Fair article below.
- Gluten-free goodness - just because you're going to Paris doesn't mean you have to stand outside every patisserie weeping. Get yourself along to Chambelland Boulangerie, Helmut Newcake, Noglu and select Eric Kaysers for all manner of cakes, tarts, bread and sweet treats!