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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

My First Time in Paris Mini Guide - Hotel, Transportation, Shopping, Food, Tourist Attractions and More



Bonjour, welcome to the blog. Back in September, I turned 30 and I went on a bucket list/dream trip to Paris with my friend, Marrian Yip who is also a blogger (Check Out Her Blog Here). In this blogpost, I will share my experience as a first timer along with a mini guide.


Where To Stay

We stayed at Hyatt Paris Madeleine (Check Out the Hotel). The Hotel is a 5 star boutique hotel. Our room came with a cute balcony which afforded us gorgeous views of the sun rising and falling over Paris, a gorgeous bathroom and complementary breakfast. The hotel also has a full spa and sauna, however, we did not get a chance to visit the spa. We received amazing service from hotel staff and our room was very clean. The hotel is located within a 5 minutes walk from the Madeleine Metro station, 10 minutes drive from the Eifel Tour or 25 minutes on the Metro. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants nearby along with  shopping. The popular shopping strip, Avenue Des Champs Elysee, is a short 15 minutes walk away from the Hotel. 



Food

The food in Paris is great, we had so many options with cafes and restaurants all over. The food scene reminded me of the food scene in New York because there were so many options from Asian to Italian food. I even saw some Africans selling grilled corn while we were wandering the streets. We had an amazing dinner at Frenchie's Wine Bar, it was delicious. Because Paris is known for amazing pastries and dessert, I was not really looking for french food, I was mainly interested in pastries and dessert, lol. We visited the famous Laduree on Avenue Des Champs Elysee for some Macaroons and iced chocolate. We bought dessert from Fou De Pattisserie which is a dessert shop in Little Italy (Paris) that curates and sells all of the best desserts from all over Paris. You have to stop by this place if you are in Paris and have a sweet tooth. We picked up pastries from Du Pain et Des Idees, they had amazing croissants, quiche and so many other delicious pastries. 
Shopping for Luxury/Designer Fashion

I went to Paris with plans to indulge in some designer shopping, this section of the guide will only cover luxury/designer shopping. I found out that some luxury brands are cheaper in Europe compared to the States. The general rule of thumb is that a brand is cheaper in its country of origin than it is in other countries. For example, Louis Vuitton is cheaper in Paris than it is in the States or any other country. Moreover, there are designer outlets in Paris selling past season designer fashion for less including non French brands like Gucci or Coach. In addition, Non-European shoppers get a VAT refund which is a refund of the taxes paid when making a purchase of $100 or more. We visited La Vallee Village which is an outlet mall where a lot of designers set up shop to sell past season items for a fraction of the price. It reminded me of the outlets that we have here in New York like the Woodbury Commons. I will have a dedicated post on shopping for luxury fashion in Paris (Keep an eye out for it).


Tourist Attractions


Paris has so many beautiful and historic tourist attractions. For my first time, we were able to hit up a few of them. The Eifel Tour is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, you cannot visit Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tour. One of the best places to take amazing photos with the Eifel Tour is Trocadero. However, if you have time I recommend taking a full circle walk around the tour because you never know what beautiful spots or amazing angles of the tour that you might see. We did not get a chance to take the ride to the top of the tour but if you have the time you should take the ride up there, I’m sure the view and experience would be amazing. I will save that for my second time in Paris, lol. 

I highly recommend visiting the Eifel Tour at Trocadero at night for the light show at 9PM.  The lighting of the Eifel Tour at Trocadero is an event that you should not miss while in Paris. At 9 or 10 PM, the Trocadero is packed with tourists and locals waiting for the iconic light show, there are random musicians playing live music for tips, crepe trucks with long lines to satisfy all of your crepe cravings. It's really quick so make sure to arrive on time so you do not miss it. This is could also be a very romantic experience; a lot of engagements happen here.

Wifi
I really enjoy being disconnected when I am away with no wifi or limited telephone service. In Paris, there is wifi in heavily touristy areas, for example Avenue des Champs Elysee had free wifi, I believe the area by the Eifell Tour also had free wifi.

The Arc de Triomphe is another landmark in Paris that is located within walking distance from the Eifel Tour and Avenue des Champs Alysee (shopping area). You may choose to stop there while shopping or after visiting the Eifel Tour.

The Louvre Museum (Le Musee du L’ouvre) is another popular tourist attraction in Paris. You do not have to visit the actual Museum to go there, you can go there just to take photos with the iconic Pyramid which is also lit at night. I have been seeing the pillars at the Louvre for years on Instagram and I knew that when I make it to Paris, I have to take some photos with the pillars. There is a Restaurant or café ?? at the Louvre where you can grab something to eat while you are at the Louvre. We walked about 5 to 7 minutes from the Louvre to Café Kitsune to pick up iced chocolate and coffee along with some pastries, it was ok.


Jardin des Tuileries is located in the same neighborhood within walking distance from the Louvre. 

Transportation

We walked and used the Metro most of the time. There was a Metro station at a 5 minutes walking distance from our hotel. We used Uber service once or twice while we were there because we walked a good 85% of the time and used public transportation the rest of the time. I really enjoyed walking because we got to see different streets, little corners and we really got to see how the people live. However, I suffer from thigh shafting and on our last day my thighs had enough because they started to hurt. If you suffer from thigh shafting and plan to walk while in Paris, put some deodorant or powder between the thighs to reduce some of the frictions from walking a lot. 

The People

I went to Paris with a pre-conceived idea of the people. I have been told countless times that the people are rude, and because of that my brain was wired to look for rudeness. Here is the verdict, the people are very much like me, in some situations, very closed off on the outside and very warm, nice and helpful once you peel off a couple of layers. People helped us out when we were lost in the Metro and in the street. I even received compliments from passersby(s) when I wore my backless Zimmermann dress, a couple of locals said out loud, “tres chic.” The overall vibe and mood that I got from the people is that they are about their business of smoking cigarettes, working, drinking red wine and people watching, lol

Thank you so much for stopping by. Hope you found this guide helpful,

Au-revoir,
Deb


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