There were 3 local musicians in this square singing “Vivre chaque jour comme si c'était le dernier ” meaning “Live each day as if it's the last”. The song summed up exactly how I felt walking around my final day in Paris, trying to take it all in.
What stands out to me when I look back on my travels is not the famous monuments and museums, rather it’s wandering around foreign countries and cities.
In Paris, my favorite memory was not the Eiffel tower, nor the Louvre. It was weaving through the cobblestone roads, listening to street performers and watching local painters create their artwork.
Put the map down and don’t be afraid to get lost, detours really give you a true sense of a city. I love the flavour of Paris. I love the chimneys, the cafes, the bakeries, the lamp posts, the street signs, the elaborate doors and archways and windows.
The Eiffel tower and the Louvre are grand too, don’t get me wrong. “Tourist attractions” are attractions for a reason. But they also mean long lines and swarms of people.
It is absolutely impossible to see everything in the Louvre in 1 day, it's overwhelming really.. you could be lost in it for weeks! My favorite part, however, is this courtyard of sculptures.
Paris really is a magical city. I can see why artists, painters and writers flock there from all over the world for inspiration. Audrey Hepburn was right. Paris really is always a good idea.
My advice for travellers (particularly those who are Europe bound)
- Europeans love stairs, pack light.
- Dress in layers, I’ve gone from a tank top to 4 layers in 1 day.
- You will be scammed and taken advantage of. Just accept it as part of travelling and try your best to avoid tourist traps. We were stunned when we received our bill of 10 euros (~13 CAD) for 2 bottles of water!!! They charged us 2 euros for each bottle and 6 euros for sitting in their cafe to drink it.
- If you don’t specify “still” water, you will get carbonated water.
- Don’t pay for wifi, just follow those McD’s golden arches to free internet
- I know money belts are dorky and make you look preggo.. but it’s worth the hassle.
- Bring vitamins. Food is extremely expensive, especially nutritious food. Pump up your immune system daily, there is noting worse than being sick when travelling.
- At all costs, avoid the metro in the wee hour of the morning. (5:45am Jan 1st was not a good idea)
- In some cities (Rome, Paris, London) it is worth it to see the sights both at day and at night. Seeing the monuments light up gives them a whole new magic.
- Get the tourist sites out of the way and then focus on relaxing and enjoying the city.