Travel future: Autumn in Paris
I love Paris in the, er, autumn? Yep, the famous springtime destination for lovers from around the world is going to be my home as a house-sitter this autumn. I have family who own an apartment out there and are having work done to the building, so want someone to keep an eye on the place. As a semi-employed freelancer who can work from anywhere, I was top of the list… in fact I think I might have been the list. I’m never one to turn down a travel opportunity, so from mid-September until November I will be living in St Germain and getting to know the city. I’ve been to Paris quite a few times in the past, but with six weeks out there this time I’ve got no excuse not to do all the things I’ve never quite got around to yet. So here are my Paris travel plan so far…
Visit the (inside of the) museums
Despite several trips to Paris, and having wandered round the pyramids outside of the Louvre every single time, I’ve always been put off by the queues and never actually made it inside. So this time I will finally make it in there at least once, see the Mona Lisa and some of the 35,000 other exhibits. Also on my museum hit-list are the Musée d’Orsay and the sculpture garden at the Musée Rodin.
Get a view from above
Another far-too-busy attraction I’ve never made it into, or in this case up, is the Eiffel Tower, so that’s going on the list too. Although the tower’s Jules Verne restaurant is probably a bit out of my budget, the €10 glass of champagne with a view in the bar at the top of the tower is definitely more my style. Other viewpoints I’ll try to get to the top of are the Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, and Montparnasse Tower.
Discover the more ‘unusual’ attractions
As well as ticking off the big-name tourist sights, I want to explore some of the more unusual Parisian attractions. Like the ornate tombs of artists and writers at the Cimetière du Père Lachaise, and the network of catacombs under the city, built to store bones when Parisian cemeteries started to overflow in the 1780s. I’ll also check out some of the events, like the Nuit Blanche – or White Night – on 1 October, when museums, galleries and city halls stay open for an all-night festival of the arts.
Get out of the city
As I’ll be there for a while, I should have time to get out of the city and see some of the other places nearby, like the Palace of Versailles and castle at Fontainebleau, Monet’s garden in Giverney, and maybe as far as the D-Day beaches in Normandy and some wine tasting in the Alsace.
Eat and drink (plenty)
While I can’t pretend this is something my previous trips to Paris have been short of, one of the best things about France is the food and wine, so it would be rude not to indulge in local cheeses (including my secret obsession with Apéricubes!), fresh vegetables from the market, just-baked bread, glazed fruit tarts and decadent cream cakes from the pâtisserie, brightly coloured macaroons and a whole country worth of fantastic wines.
Take lots of photos
I’ll be attempting to work off all that eating and drinking with lots of wandering. I love getting lost in the side-streets of a city and want to explore all the different neighbourhoods of Paris, and get some great photos. I’d love to get some good sunset and night shots, and might even manage to drag myself out of bed early enough to see Paris at sunrise (once, anyway).
Improve my French
Although I studied French at school, its been years since I’ve used it for anything more that “Un vin rouge s’il vous plaît“, so this is my chance to see what I can remember (other than those useful GCSE phrases about where is the nearest post box and what pets I have) and try and see if people can actually understand me. I’ll be packing a large dictionary…
So what else should I do and see while I’m in Paris? Any good places to eat, drink or things to see you can recommend? Leave a comment and I’ll add them to the list!