How would you spend an absolutely unremarkable day in Paris? I mean, who really say’s that everyday needs to be a never ending mission of visiting sights and exploring restaurants. Just because you are on a weekend getaway? All that pressure. Gaaah! Sometimes you just don’t feel like it, either cause you’re low on energy supplies or you have just spent seven consecutive days out and about. Regardless what the reason, I think that it’s perfectly okay to visit a city and just let time pass. Like meditation and you decided to change your location.
One of my favorite ways to experiencing Paris is to simply do nothing or if you want to be all french about it – to “flaneur” your way through the city. The french do after all have a word for it – so why not use it.
When I travel alone, I always choose a hotell or airbnb within walking distance of the areas I want to spend most time in. In London, I would choose a small (and affordable) hotel next to Trafalgar Square so that I’m within easy walking distance of National Gallery. In Paris I would choose anywhere that puts me within a 20 minutes walk from any of the following: l’Opera Garnier, Le Louvre, Musée d’Orsay or the Eiffeltower. Cause, let’s be honest, Paris is a city that is best experienced by foot and frankly, if it’s not freezing outside, thirty minutes feels like nothing. Unless you’re running around in stilettos, which very few people besides my fabulous roommate do.
Here is an itinerary for a relaxing trip to Paris:
A must: start the day by ordering “un café allongé et un croissant s’il vous plait”. This can be done at any bistro/restaurant while you breathe in Paris and watch as people pass by.
Side note: I always travel with a book but if you’re not a book-person (as I have accepted that not everyone is) and have no plans to become one, I suggest getting a magazine, a drawing pad or use the phone that’s most likely always on you, to listen to music. Why not create a Parisian playlist featuring La Foule, La vie en rose, Non, je ne regrette rien and Milord. Add a couple of tunes from Angèle and Therapie TAXI for a blend.
When you’re ready to leave that bistro and move on, going for a stroll listening to Edith Piaf is a surprisingly relaxing way to get a taste of Paris.
If the sun is out, get a take away coffee and sit on a bench in the Jardin des Tuileries and do nothing. How fab isn’t that?
When it’s time for lunch, ANY of those five bistros along the way will have a selection for every taste that will go perfectly with one hour’s flaneuring. I would personally have a glass of wine to go with, because it’s perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass with lunch when you’re on vacation. When in France and all.
Do culture the right way. Not by aiming to see everything but by immersing yourself in it. Take a walk through the Louvre with Edith Piaf and step inside the work of your favorite artists. Have a drink at Café Marly while the pyramids light up and continue to Saint Germain for a steak frites. And if you are not ready for bed have a night cap at a cosy bar with fabulous lighting. Last week, I rounded off my evening with a drink at Café de la Paix and though expensive, it had a cosy “drink before the opera”- atmosphere.
And there you have it, an effortless day in Paris.