the cafe in paris across from the Louvre.
the best part about paris i believe, were its cafes. I went to Europe with the half-formed intention of sitting in a cafe for hours, not doing anything at all..i got my wish on our first day itself, when it began POURING rain like mad! We sat inside this great cafe (it was right opposite the Louvre) for nearly 3 hours. With a dark wood bar, dark colored couches, small tables lit by floating candles, the cafe/restaurant/bar was everything that I could have wanted in a European experience. Ordering was somewhat difficult as none of the waitresses spoke much English, and my french was still too poor to effectively communicate what we wanted to order off the menu. However, the old method of pointing at something on the menu worked just fine in this situation. =D Many go to Europe for the endless tours of museums, palaces, churches, gardens, etc....however, don't forget to spend one afternoon in a cafe. The chance to observe the locals in their element is one that can only be had rarely. To live one's life peacefully....an attitude that most everyone other than Americans seem to have...so take the chance to discover it when you can! I'd give the name of the bar, but I unfortunately never wrote it down =( however, it IS directly across from the Louvre, so please visit it if you have the chance.
outside the Louvre. 90 degree weather (at least!) also, six hours before it started raining...hard.
Our first day in Paris
, and i had the best food in the world to start out the morning: baguettes and fromage. There is nowhere else but France that makes such great bread and fromage (to call this "cheese" would be to insult the taste of the food itself! =D ). The ability to get fresh bread every day from any nearby boulangerie is absolutely amazing, and that is not even to speak about the other pastries that usually line the cases. After our morning meal, we walked over to the Rodin museum. If you're planning on staying in Paris for 3 or more days, I'd recommend buying the museum pass. There are several versions to be had, the 1-day, 3-day, and some other types, if i recall correctly. The 3-day pass is a steal, because you're able to visit all 3 of the major museums (along with other associated discounts) for almost half the price of paying for each museum individually. Next: where to buy the pass? again, at any of the museums, but i recommend buying the pass at the Rodin museum, vs. the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. The line is MUCH shorter at the rodin musem, and you can take your time with seeing this wonderful place that seems more like a house than an art institution. The Musee d'Orsay takes a long time to visit, although admittedly, not quite as long as the Louvre. Still, the Orsay museum is one of my favorites, because the character of the building itself adds to the artwork that lines its walls. And try your French, if you know any! its great fun speaking with the people at the museum, and they (usually) don't mind your broken grammar. I admit, speaking French to the French people doesn't always have great results, but you can get a laugh out of it now and again! =D The Louvre is almost indescribable. A must-see on your visit to Paris, it is constantly changing, and EXTREMELY easy to get lost in its large rooms and endless hallways. The artwork and sculptures are beautiful, so plan on spending at least an entire day getting acquainted with all the museum has to offer. The Mona Lisa and the Venus di Milo are some of its more famous acquisitions, but as for myself, I love the rooms that are dedicated to Renoir and Monet. At one point, I took a quick nap on one of the benches because i was so exhausted from walking around! If you're lucky and they have their Egyptian exhibit open, take a look! The last time i saw this exhibit, they had reconstructed a semblance of the Egyptian atmosphere, which only made the Sphinxes more awe-inspiring! As for food, I believe we munched on baguettes and brie almost all day. The sad truth to backpacking is that food at restaurants will be out of your budget range MOST of the time...i say, with all the food that france has to offer, try to save money for at least ONE fantastic meal. You can get great listings of restaurants from any guide book, or take a bet and wander down the road! We went to a random crepe restaurant in the middle of a district that was distinctly less tourist-y than others, and the meal was fabulous. For great food at a more reasonable price, wander toward areas that are noticeably more suburban than touristy.
Paris General Tips & Advice review
This is definitely not a hotel that you want to stay at if you want to be near the heart of the city, or really, anywhere near the main part of the ci… read entire review