Monday, September 10, 2012

2 days in Paris

You've only got two full days in Paris. What will you do? I'll tell you exactly what to do after I berate you for only planning 2 days in one of the greatest cities on earth. What were you THINKING?!?

1. Geographically-desireable monument. You'll get spit out of your hotel and go to the nearest monument: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame or Sacre Coeur. Already you can cross one off your list. Check!

2. Forget eggs for breakfast. You don't have time. You've only got two days! You'll be grabbing a baked good at the boulangerie around the corner. Eat immediately. Swoon. Consider ordering a second. You'll walk it off anyway.

3. Stop for coffee at a café. It's preferred that this be a famous café with seats polished by the arse of Hemingway. Check! The coffee in Paris is espresso. One thimble of strong, thick coffee. It is served with sugar on the side. Use it. If you wait to ask for milk, you'll wait too long. You don't have time! You could have asked for a café creme, which is espresso with a lot of milk. Too much milk. You could have also asked for a noisette, which is the espresso without too much milk. This is preferred. But if you didn't ask at first, you're stuck with the espresso with sugar. You could have asked for an Americano, which is espresso with hot water. Don't do this. You will have paid for hot water and you'll just have to go to the bathroom. Speaking of...

4. Go to the bathroom before you leave the café. You are nomadic now. You don't have time to go back to your hotel no matter how much you want to take some time to self in the loo or sleep off your jetlag. It's your own fault for only planning 2 days in Paris. You will go to the bathroom whenever and wherever you get the chance. If you've paid for coffee, you've earned bathroom privileges. If not, you don't get to go to the bathroom in any ol' restaurant. Where are your manners? Geesh! DO NOT be the person in your group that didn't go when you had the chance, thereby making the group search for another bathroom. You're running out of time.

5. Cross Versailles off your list. You don't get to go. You only have two days and Versailles is a train ride out of Paris and a whole day affair. Sorry. You didn't think that through.

6. Buy a carte for the Métro. This is a book of 10 Métro tickets. It's cheaper than buying them individually and it is a ROYAL PAIN IN THE ARSE to wait behind people in line at the vending machine. US residents: The vending machine doesn't work with your cards. Pick a vending machine that accepts cash. BUT, the ATMs work with your cards. Use cash. It's a cash world here. Mostly. While at the vending machine, click the Union Jack symbol for English. You don't have time to learn another language. Go!

7. Pick an arrondissment. Paris is chopped up into districts and these districts are les arrondissment. If you look at a map of Paris, you'll see the different districts. You'll also notice that these districts are arranged in the shape of a snail.
Borrowed from Paris Breakfast, a blogger who also paints about Paris.
 Choose two arrondissment for each day. A quick review:
  • 6th arrondissment... this is also called St. Germain des Prés and the Left Bank. Both names are correct. I bought my first crêpe here. Hot Nutella crêpe in cold February. Bliss. Meander down crooked medieval streets. Locate Shakespeare & Co and buy a book. Get a special Shakespeare & Co. stamp. This is your souvenir of Paris. You're done shopping. You don't have time.

  • 5th arrondissment... my hood! AKA The Latin Quarter. Here, you'll find the Sorbonne (famous old university), the Pantheon (famous dead writers are here), the church next to the Pantheon (steps in Midnight in Paris) and the restaurant kitty corner from the church (first restaurant Julia Child had dinner in Paris in Julie & Julia when she smells the fish and says, "Mmmm, butter." And Rue Mouffetard, which is the ultimate cool market street. Walk up and down saying, "Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour" to the merchants. You'll feel like Belle in the opening song of Disney's Beauty & the Beast.
  • 4th arrondissment... the Marais. Do not miss this place. This is the old Jewish quarter, which had very dark days that you'll see in war films I don't watch anymore. They haunt my dreams. Now, it's the gay hood, which means it's awesomely hip and pricey. Thank goodness the gays came along and made things more fun and pretty. Enroute to the 4th, go to Notre Dame. It's free and max 30 minutes to walk around. The long line to get in is quick.
  • 18th arrondissment... Montmartre. This is where they filmed Amelie. Go to Sacre Coeur church, follow the crowd to the square and gaze at the amazing paintings being done right there in front of your eyes. Beware of pickpocketers. NOTE: If anyone engages you in conversation, the likely want to sketch you or rob you.
  • 7th arrondissment... the Eiffel Tower. Photos. Check! Take Batobus boat to the Eiffel Tower and you've toured the Seine at the same time. Check! Check!
  • 1st arrondissment... the Louvre. Quick highlights includes the Mona Lisa, the Italian paintings, the Egyptian area and the Napoleon apartments. The Napoleon apartments are key if you've listened to me and crossed Versailles off your list. You'll see the gold and opulence of royalty without leaving the city. Check!
 Now get going. Go!


  1. What a lovely and beautiful pares!

  2. No one should try to do Paris in 2 days. But with limited time I would use you for my guide!

  3. I'm going to take your advice from the start and just make sure I have more than 2 days in Paris. Although I am going to take all your recommendations of what to see and do since this is my number 1 choice for a honeymoon destination. Not that I'm married. Er, not that I've been asked to marry the boy yet. Um, not that that's going to happen any time soon. Sigh, ONE DAY!!!

  4. Who needs Lonely Planet when we have you?! ;)

  5. Très amusant! I think I'll stay put until I can afford more than two days. In the meantime, I will drink espresso coffee, eat baked goods and re-read your letters!

  6. thanks for the coles notes!

  7. :) You rushed moi through Paris but hey, you rushed me rather beautifully through it! :)

  8. oh,come on, write already!

  9. In a way, for an art-lover like myself, decorating our home is quite easy. I just please myself mostly, with my poor husband going along with most of my choices. I am always collecting beautiful things, like handicraft decorative pieces, little sculptures and hangings.
    And I simply hang lovely paintings in all our rooms. Not all are originals of course, as who can afford many of those.
    I order many prints on canvas from who have a vast collection of images from Western art, that you can choose to make economically-priced prints like this Interior in Aubergines, by Henri Matisse,, from there.
    I can choose the frames as well and my orders are delivered quickly to my home.



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