by: Xaviera Alvarez
Paris has been so many things for me. Its been a sort of sanctuary where I could rest
after the imprisoning society of a boarding school. It was a city of scents, of Fragonard
and Dyptique, it was a city filled with delicious meals and tea at La Durée and that small
boulangerie, I always find my way back to following Rue du Roi de Sicile in the heart of
The flowers and fruits at the market of rue de Buci and the beautiful 16th century
buildings of rue de Rosiers are my source of inspiration. The youth culture, although
slightly arrogant, was alive and had an incredible knack for creating groundbreaking
music and design, such as the Notre Dame Fire Show on Saturday nights.
But this is nothing new, people are always saying how beautiful Paris is, how beautiful
Marais is, my friends are always raving on about its underground clubs and exploding
music scene, my literate friends talk about cafés like Deux Magots and Café de Flore,
somehow Paris seems to have mastered a peculiar art, of freezing time yet continously
developing as a 21th century city.
Paris is the best of both worlds, a beautiful paradox of old Europe and modern culture.
There is so much to see that I barely know where to start, the truth is that you should
wake up early in the morning, go to a boulangerie close to your vacation apartment or
hotel, find a park nearby and have breakfast there as if you had done it all your life.
If you are in Marais that’s easily done, simply venture to Place des Vosges and relish in
its symmetry, or go to Les Jardins des Luxemburg, right across from the main entrance
there’s a vendor selling Panini’s for an incredibly reasonable prize. Or if you are feeling
generous go to Avenue Champs Elysée and have some tea at La Durée, the best 8
Euros you‘ll ever spend on tea.
After that the city is yours, go to the Louvre, they have an entire wing dedicated to the
impressionists, and this might actually be more worth while than following the herd of
tourists heading toward the Mona Lisa. Go to Le Palais Royal and look at the perfume
stores nearby, like the Salon Palais Royal Shiseido, and Fragonard Opéra not to
Take your time, Paris is a city in which you should walk, meaning you will get tired but
there is always someplace to go, Le Jardin de Tuileries is always filled with students
and a good place to rest your feet, otherwise sitting by the Seine is always a good idea,
and if you pass by the bridge crossing to the back side of Notre Dame you are bound to
see the band of Jazz musicians that have made it their regular spot, right across there is
a quiet park where you can rest.
When the evening comes, settle with a glass of wine at a cozy café, I suggest going to
Place des Vosges. There are cafés surrounding the park all reasonably priced and all
very agreeable, otherwise the entire Marais is swarming with these type of late night
cafés walk down Rue de Franc Bourgeois and you‘ll see what I mean, Parisian cafés
always have heating lamps, so during all seasons you can sit outside, drink good wine
Forget your holiday vacation kit with the cargo pants and fanny pack and marked road
maps and come see Paris as if you lived in Paris, isn’t that really the only true way to
look at a city?
Commines du Marais
3 Rue Commines, 75003
The location is great but the personnel can be slightly intimidating, but if you want to live
cheaply in the middle of Marais this is your place.
Hotel Du Commerce
14 rue de la montagne sainte genevieve, 75005
Right by St. Germain, near the Latin quarters, here you will find great food markets and
the surroundings are beautiful.
Hotel Louvre Richelieu
51 Rue de Richelieu
5 minutes from the Louvre, in a fancier area of Paris but for a cheap price.
15, Rue de Malte
Cheap and close to La place de la Bastille with a friendly helpful staff.
Paris Luxe Apartments
Upscale and Luxury Vacation Apartments
1800 708 7659
Crossing of Rue Vieille du Temple and Rue du Roi de Sicile
The best pain au chocolat in Paris, nothing more needs saying, except try their
L’as du Falafel
Rue de Rosiers
If you want to eat cheaply and try the best falafel in the Jewish quarters of Paris, stop at
L’as du Falafel and give it a try.
Avenue Champs Elysée
It is a bit more expensive but every Euro is worth it, personally I would recommend the
Marie Antoinette Tea and a Passion fruit tartlet with Red Berries.
If you for some reason feel like chinese, the chinese takeout in Paris is surprisingly
good and cheap.
Le chateaux Briande
129 Avenue Parmentier
4 rue Beethoven
Les Jeu Dequilles
45 rue boulevard
10 rue Saint-Lazare
218 Boulevard St. Germain
Rue de buci St. Germain
Cacao et Chocolat
36, Rue Vieille du Temple
40, Boulevard Haussmann
64, Boulevard Haussmann