Amazingly addictive Paris in summer

Paris Travel Blog

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This was a surprise trip arranged by my hubby as a birthday pressie. There were 7 of us in total, and a real mix of ages and interests. We all went off and did out own thing in the day, and then met up again for dinner, drinks and sharing of stories and tales of our discoveries of the day. There is just soo much to do and see in central Paris that hubby and I spent the whole 5 days walking and exploring the central heart of old Paris. Comfortable, but stylish shoes are an absolute necessity, as was a brolly despite it being mid August and supposedly the height of a european summer!! Otrhers in our party ventured off on the metro to explore further flung reaches of the city - like Monmartre!! It's a very easy city to find your way around if you use the River Sienne as your navigation marker, and there are large bronze maps of the streets scattered liberally around the streets. These were much easier to use than the rubbish maps given out by the hotel, featuring all sorts of places to avoid, advertised around its edges. We really just went with the flow and where our eyes drew us each day. There are some truley amazing little independant shops scattered down tiny twisting alleys, and snacks and food can be found on every street. The people watching was great fun too, and as this area of Paris houses the central law courts it is filled with office workers during the day at least, offering a glimpse into city working in Paris - very different and far more civilised than in Britain!! They stop for lunch and enjoy their food, and many seem to stop for a breakfast shot of strong coffee to fortify themselves for the day ahead. Where ever we went for breakfast we were surrounded by suit clad men and women, and they seem to still work with papers and pens as opposed to the horrors of blackberries!! As I said, very civilised. Our hotel was beautiful, each room differently themed, and the staircase was very 'Paris', being tiny, narrow and incredibly steep. You could come back for drinks at the reception bar, and have a wonderful breakfast each morning, but we spent most of our time out and about exploring the hundreds of food and drink options on offer. We didn't find prices very different from central Edinburgh, but don't expect to find cheap food and drink - remember it's a capitol city, and we were staying right in its heart - but it was worth it just to be able to stroll out into the streets and history. Something I loved doing was going down to a cafe on the banks of the river fairly early, and watching the city wake up and come to life around us. Shops opened, the rush hour reved up and the flow of pedestrian commuters rose, till the tide turned and it was wide eyed tourists begining to filter in from the further reaches of the city. Could do this every morning given the chance!
Another favorite memory is of our evening meal in the 'pink' district, chosen by my unobservant father during the day when it all looked very respectable. It was very funny watching the dawning realisation on his face as we were served our food by a lady/man part way through their process of transformative surgeries. The best advice I can give on food is to chose places which have no English translation on the menu - all our meals in such places were amazing, even if we were not 100% sure what we had ordered! And the prices were similar to bland pizza/steak houses, which you can find all over Europe. This was my third trip to Paris and it seems to get better every time - I want to go back again already.
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photo by: Sweetski