A Maverick in Paris

Bonjour Glamouristas!

Traveling has a way of making you look at life so different.  It allows you to experience things and places you thought you would only see in travel magazines. It opens you up to learn more about yourself. You learn more about your comfort, tolerance, and most importantly, your individuality. 

I can attest to this and much more through my most recent trip to Paris, France. Everyone’s experience is sure to be different, but hopefully my experience and my Maverick Tips will help you when planning your future venture to the City of Love. 

Day 1: Tourist Mode, Trains, and Tasty Eats

img_2395My short trip (4 days to be exact) to the shockingly small country began with transferring my US dollars to Euros followed by familiarizing myself with the Paris Metro. Traveling with a group of 5, it was practical to purchase a 10 pack of tickets and split it instead of a one or 2-day pass. Surprisingly, Paris Metro is easier to understand than NYC Transit. It was mastered in less than an hour. Their unique trains with self-open doors arrive in to the clean stations every 4-7 minutes. We experienced absolutely no delays. However, we did burn off a ton of calories from climbing up and down their almost never ending spiral steps. 

img_2380We entered the Pigalle station, which is close to the Moulin Rouge and Paris’ version of “The Red Light District” (if you’re in to those sex shops and other freaky things). That area also holds tons of exchange places for your money. Within the area of Euros and Exoticy, we found a French brasserie called Pigalle. And where is Pigalle? Directly across the street from the Pigalle station. This restaurant automatically became the go-to and last resort restaurant for us. That’s how great their food and drinks were. The two most important things were out of the way: Getting Money and Learning how to get around; preparing us for an epic short adventure.

Day 2: Baguettes, Basilicas, and Beautiful Views

The Cardinal Breakfast Rule in Paris is: Baguettes or Croissants with a Tea or Coffee. I don’t think there was a morning where I sat down and had a lavish breakfast spread (you know…the eggs, the bacon, the waffles, etc.). If you are a bread lover like myself, you will be happy to know that it’s OK to walk down the streets of Paris eating a whole baguette loaf. It’s the norm; like walking and eating a pizza or a hot dog in New York is the norm. 

We walked and ate breakfast to our first stop, Sacre-Coeur, an old ancient basilica church that sits at the top of the Paris hill between Montmatre and Pigalle. Sitting at the top of the hill means hills and steps galore to get to the top. Good thing there is a tram that rides you up and the hill. I wish I knew that beforehand. img_2397

The key element of this trip was to get lost; Literally. Paris is a city where you can walk and totally get lost while discovering new sights and dines. Aside from your main tourist attractions, there is so much to see that you wouldn’t find in a travel tour guide/map. 

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Our 2nd night in Paris ended with the Eiffel Tower and nightlife (somewhat). The Eiffel Tower, Paris’ main tourist attraction, is a beautiful sight at night. The Skip the Line tour is strongly recommended.   You not only get to skip the line.  You also get a great history lesson on the Eiffel Tower and the other surrounding landmarks. Every hour on the hour, you will find the Eiffel Tower charming you with its shimmering light show that is sure to captivate the ones that don’t even believe in love. 

The Bastille area of Paris is where all the nightlife takes place.  The 11th Bastille, to be exact, has the popular clubs and bars.  However, Paris’ nightlife ends rather early. Clubs stop letting people in at 1am and they close at 2am. If you are into reggae and soca, the Twenty One Sound Bar is highly recommended (as I was told).  Latin lovers will enjoy Barrio Latino.  If you crave late-night munchies, you will be sure to find a few late night crepes and food spots in Bastille.  Especially since many of the restaurants in the city close around 11pm.  

Day 3: Fine Arts, Fashion, and Foreign Feets

img_2559The intricate arts that Paris has to offer is truly one to see with your own eyes.  Art lover or not, you learn to appreciate art and its history in Paris.  All you have to do is visit The Louvre.  Another popular tourist attraction, The Louvre, is the largest museum in the world.  It houses over 30,000 objects from prehistoric times to the 21st century, including the famous Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa.  When visiting, I strongly encourage you to visit The Louvre for more than just the glass pyramid.  From the gardens to Napolean’s apartment, The Louvre holds a lot of sights and stories.  The greatest beauty that I found exploring this huge museum is the fascinating art on the ceilings.img_2554  
If you are really in to art, be prepared to spend at least three to four hours inside alone.
Paris is considered one of the Fashion Capitals of the World.  From high end shops to department stores to little boutiques, Paris has somewhere for everyone to shop.  My shopping experience in Paris took me to Original House of Chanel (of course it would).  Located in the small alley-like street of Rue de Cambon, the Chanel store rests underneath the apartment of Gabrielle Coco Chanel.  Tours are not given of Chanel’s apartment at the family’s request (they want to preserve the apartment).  However, you are allowed to take photos on the famous spiral staircase that leads up to her apartment.  Although there are many Chanel stores throughout the world, it is a completely different experience and feeling when you shop in the original store.  It is a great experience if given the opportunity. img_2525

Sneaker heads will get a thrill out of the many sneaker stores in the Rue de Berger area.  It reminded me of a mini Downtown Brooklyn with all the different sneaker stores ranging from Foot Locker and Nike to the exclusive spots like Size? Official.  You are bound to find sneakers in Paris that are not sold at all in the U.S.Levels in Paris

Day 4: Au Revoir Paris

img_2613Souvenir shopping is my favorite thing to do during my trips.  This time around I made sure I picked up items that were made in France (many of the souvenir shops sell Made in China products).  Taking in the last few hours left I had in Paris, I took the time to take one last stroll through the Paris streets and just reflect on life and how it evolves.  It made me want to explore more of what I am capable of in life than I explore the world.

Maverick Paris Tips:

– Be sure to contact your banks and financial institutions in advance and let them know that you will be traveling out of the country.  This way they are aware and won’t freeze your account for suspicious foreign transactions.
– It is better to exchange money while in Paris.  It is even better to withdraw money while out there.  Their ATM’s dispense Euros.
– Most restaurants in Paris have English menus.  All you have to do is ask.  
– Uber is cheaper than the regular Paris taxis.
– Flats are your best friend.  If you are a stiletto type of girl (especially for those photo opportunities), walk with a pair of Isotoners. 
– Try Escargot at least once.
– Scooter life is everything out there.  Rent a scooter at least one day and ride around Paris.
– Make sure you walk with a European plug.
– Book your excursions through a reliable travel agency.  I recommend SPANNing The Globe Tours.

Here’s a few more pics of a Maverick in Paris…

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