If I ask the question, what comes to mind when you think “What is living in Paris really like?” What would some of your answers be? Is it anything close to what you see on “Emily in Paris?” Would one of those answers be… waking up to the sounds of La Vie en Rose playing in the streets of your neighborhood? Or perhaps, unknowingly dining next to and conversating with a Royal Prince? Eating fresh, warm croissants and sipping cafe au laits on the terrace of your 5th story apt? Maybe it’s going on dates that end with you sitting on the steps of the Trocadéro with a clear view of Eiffel sparkling in front of you? Sounds unrealistic right?? Hardly, as I am living proof that that is exactly what living in Paris is like… well, my experience at least.
All my life I have had this dream of wanting to live and work in Paris and experience day to day life as a local there and this last summer, I did just that.
After being assigned a special project for work, I did some traveling through Europe and ended my stay with over a month in Paris.
I was lucky to find the perfect apt to rent on Rue Jean Peirre Timbaud which is just about a 20 min subway ride from the Eiffel Tower. It was love at first site from the second I walked into it as it came with a small terrace that I often would sit and do work from. This area was perfect for me as it wasn’t close to any of the major tourist attractions but close enough to get to any within a short subway ride.
A couple of things that worked in my favor were having a elevator and A/C unit in my apt, unlike Emily in Paris. The rest however was pretty spot on!
Although my words could never really convey the feeling of my experience, I’m going to try to sum up the best parts and must do’s if you find yourself booking a trip there soon.
Let’s start with food! I traveled through Italy prior to reaching Paris and I’m about to make a statement that many may not agree with, but… in my opinion, the food in Paris blew away any of the food that I had in Italy, (I said what I said lol.) I did a ton of research before going and all of that proved to be worth while as I loved it all.
Settling one debate right off the bat… Carette or Angelina?? My vote is Carette! I know the hot chocolate is to die for at both places but I preferred Carrette because the entire menu there is good. And the hot chocolate is slightly thinner which makes it easier to keep down. I was only able to take 2 sips at Angelina since it was too thick Tip: try to go in the morning so you can enjoy a fresh croissant with it, esp for dunking 😉
Since I would be busy with work throughout the week, I saved the weekends for very special dinners and nights out (cute outfits and all!) I did have a kitchen in my apartment which I would cook in every once in a while but being in Paris, how could you not take advantage of the restaurants? I made sure to eat at so many places located in all the different arrondissements. My top places to eat in no particular order are:
• Gigi (try to get a table outside as the view of Eiffel is beautiful)
• Coco (the best roast chicken I’ve ever had) – I went on a Friday night and noticed that couples would dance the night away on the steps of the opera house right around the corner. Such a magical experience.
• Giraffe (very well know for being located in the Trocadéro with an unbelievable view of the Eiffel Tower) – Hard to get reservations so be sure to book well in advance.
• Pink mamma or Ober Mamma – the truffle pasta and beef carpaccio at either was chef’s kiss.
• Le Café Marly (Located at the Louvre) this place is perfect for lunch after visiting the museum. If you have a whole day free, I would suggest going to the park and Ferris wheel too. Maybe even playing some games in the amusement area. All just steps in front of Louvre.
• MUN – located on champs elyesee (sushi and rock shrimp) were dee-lish!
• L’Avenue – touristy spot for sure but a must if you’ve spent the day shopping on Champs-Élysées.
• Le Beef Marais had the best steak/frites I’ve ever had. Be sure to try a couple of different dipping sauces when you go.
You may not be able to go to all of them but even a few will be well worth it.
What is there to do in Paris?! The list is endless!! I found myself wandering around, discovering new things everyday. There’s the typical tourist attractions and then there’s the random stuff, like the Picasso museum on a weekday afternoon, or a sandwich and pastry picnic down by the seine. I mostly would get around by Subway but would never hesitate to hop on a bike or vespa when possible. Be very careful doing this though as riding on the roads there is nothing like it is here. I may or may not have cheated death a few times while there lol.
Something else I would suggest doing if you go in summer time is, sitting on the back ground area of Eiffel with a blanket and good book or some art supplies to paint with.
Here’s a list of other must do things to check off your list that may not seem typical.
• Go to the DIOR Exhibit at La Galerie Dior. (Be sure to end your tour with a lattè at the cafè upstairs.)
• Dinner cruise on the seine.
• A day at Versailles including a tour of the back grounds and access to the hall of mirrors. A fun tip: *make reservations at the cafe for breakfast (with ticket purchase) and someone will walk you into Versailles and allow you to skip the long line after you’re done eating. I saved doing this on the day of my birthday and every part of the experience was wonderful!
• A day at the Louvre museum (suggested above with one of my fave lunch spots.)
• A day trip to Montmarte. This little town was the cutest and I wish I would have spent more time there. I took a TukTuk ride there which was so so much fun but it didn’t give a ton of time to walk around much. P.S. Montmarte was heavily featured in this new season of Emily in Paris ;))
• Visit 31 Rue Cambon Chanel. This was the first ever Chanel boutique. Coco actually lived in an apt above it and you can take pics on the infamous stairs leading up to it.
• High tea at the Ritz in Paris (it’s a little costly but worth it.). This is the same hotel that Princess Diana was last staying in before her tragic death.)
• A quick stop in Latin Quarters, especially at night.
• Rent a Vespa, and take rides around the Arc de Triomphe and down Champs-Élysées.
• If you’re into Burlesque, then I would suggest a show at Crazy Horse. I’m not really a fan of Moulin Rouge but the Crazy Horse shows are really tastefully done.
• Vintage boutique shopping, cruising Champs-Élysées or a trip to Galeries Lafayette. A quick TikTok search will give you info on the best vintage shops to go to! (Note* -Be sure to stop in KITH for either a drink in the cafe or and sweet treat at the ice cream bar.)
• Brunch at Plaza Athenee. Again, pricy but so worth it!
• Check out cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris (if it’s open.)
• I didn’t go to any clubs while there because I was by myself but I know Paris has some of the best speak easy’s in the world. Do some research before you go.
• Check the internet for any pop ups! They are always changing.
People have this misconception that the French hate Americans but my experience was nothing of the sort. I dined and went everywhere by myself. I never once worried about feeling lonely or people judging me. I would always have people strike up a conversation with me while sitting next to me (hence, how it is that I met the prince of Morocco and his friends!) Ladies… Be aware though…. French men will never simply take no for an answer if you’re not interested, haha. You can say you are married, widowed, gay or whatever else and they will still find ways to pursue you. True romantics at heart I tell you lol!
So I started this article by talking about some of the unrealistic things that people don’t believe Paris is truly like. Let’s talk about it. For those of you that follow my blog and were able to view my stories in real time or get on my live streams, you saw firsthand some of the most beautiful experiences I went through while living there. For those that didn’t, please be sure to click on my highlights when you’re on my page next.
I am someone that truly believes that every one of us has the ability to create whatever kind of magic they want in their lives. You just have to be willing to do what it takes even if that means traveling by yourself.
While I was in Paris, I didn’t feel any need to watch TV or sit on my couch and be non productive in any way. I felt more zest for live than you can ever imagine. I would often get on Birds and Bikes and literally just explore all day! Funny how being in different parts of the world can absolutely determine what type of lifestyle you live.
I hope this guide helps you experience the most beautiful city on earth in as magical of a way as I was able to!
For more info and highlights, please follow me on IG: @asimakemymark. I am happy to give any add’t info you’d like 💋