Je no parlez Francais
That was the extent of my French, unfortunately.
It’s true when people say, there’s something romantic about the French. Perhaps it is the language or kissing in from of the Eiffel Tower.
Either way, our short and sweet trip to Paris gave us a compelling reason to come back.
That being said, one must go to Paris and not scrimp on accommodation. We’ve learned our lesson quite well. We booked an AirBnB place for 3 nights and it was about $45 per night. Total steal! At least 30+ raving reviews on the place and the pictures showed a quirky Parisian space. Can’t go wrong with that eh? Boy …. we were so wrong!
We Uber’ed from the airport to Charenton Le Pont which was about an hour ride. By the way, it took us an hour to get the Uber because the app told us to wait at the departure level instead of the arrival one. We watched our Uber driver whizz past us over and over again on the app like it was a video game. He probably made about 10 rounds around the entire airport until he finally found us. We felt so bad but luckily he was so nice about it. 5 stars for you Mohammad !
By midnight, we arrived at this little door that lead into this apartment alley. The host left explicit instructions on how to find the key and we managed to wrestle ourselves in through the door and incredibly narrow entrance with our ginormous backpacks in the dark. Up the tight staircase, and through the cluttered hallway, we found our room. The host was still awake when we arrived. She briefed us on the ABCs of the flat and gave us a tour.
My mom would faint =P
Apparently a cleaner comes in every so often….
I think she has magazines collected since the 80s….
I thank god each time I was able to get through the staircase without breaking my neck.
That was the least of our problems. Without going into a rant about how uncomfortable our stay was in Paris, it was probably the worst AirBnB experience we’ve had so far. At least it was very cheap. We had more money to spend on food instead so a lot of croissants, cheeses and wine made up for it!
On our first day, we didn’t have any specific plans. We figured it would be nice to wander around the neighbourhood and get breakfast at some cafe.
Pre-breakfast from the bakery downstairs
After aimlessly walking a couple blocks, we found a market ! We love markets! It’s the best way to see and experience the local food and culture. Unless of course if it’s in a super touristy area. This market however was a small one and we were there only tourist there !
Like typical Parisiens, we had wine for breakfast 😄
The blueberries were so big, juicy and expensive … 5 Euros …..
This was 10 Euros with 2 glasses of wine !
After a wonderful breakfast, we decided to walk towards the city. I prefer walking because it’s one of the better way to truly see a place. Trains are more convenient if there’s a specific place and time but walking aimlessly is the best way to stumble upon little gems off the beaten path.
We came across a cafe and decided to hang out there for a while and drink wine of course!
Crème brûlée at 4 P.M
Around evening, we decided to head towards the city centre to look for dinner.
Stopped by some iconic places for photo op – in the rain …
I was amazed that we managed to get this picture without other tourist in it
We Googled for restaurants around the area and went La Régalade which had fairly high ratings on Google. Unfortunately, our first dinner in Paris was kind of disappointing.
My chicken that was mediocre at best
Adam didn’t like his steak tartar cause it was under seasoned.
Waaaaay too much potato and it was bland…..
I think we have extremely high expectations of French food that every restaurant in Paris would be a gastronomic experience. Yeah I know it’s a ridiculous expectation to have…. Especially for a place that serve buffet for the appetizers and dessert. Google, I’m disappointed with you !
On the third day, we decided to check out the famous Champ Élysées. We knew that we had to avoid the temptation to shop at Champ Élysées but surprisingly it wasn’t too difficult at all. In fact we were shocked that we didn’t had any interest to shop.
We had breakfast at one of the cafes on the Main Street. Bad idea. It was expensive and the food was …. Mediocre.
€10 tasteless cheese omelet
We bought some bread and butter from a drugstore. Actually, it’s a fancy drugstore / cafe / upscale grocery store or whatever you want to call it. Joel Roubuchon’s restaurant was in the basement of this store. The fight was real when Adam pulled us both away from the stairwell.
Our friend Sharn told us to try the infamous (everything French is famous here) Buerre Bordier butter. The infamous Bordier butter was certainly very rich and decadent with the already buttery croissant.
We finished 3/4 of it in one sitting … Hello high cholesterol
I was sort of hunting for a light jacket cause my Baubax was getting too heavy to lug around. I wanted to check out Moncler cause it’s a famous French winter wear brand. Google maps led us to a street that had all the premium brands …. Temptation was still check.
Probably what was distracting us from the stores were the heavy presence of armed security around the street. We thought there must be some important meeting going on around the area. Turned out that we were right by the President’s residence and this was just another day in Paris.
We managed to find Moncler but were disappointed with their offerings. The store was really busy with a certain type of clientele – not the classy kind if you catch my drift …. You know, the ones who patron the LVs and the Chanels in boatloads 😂
We made our way towards Eiffel Tower. Adam wanted to have a romantic picnic by the park overlooking the tower. Unfortunately for us, the whole park area was blocked off for the Eurocup and there were police guarding every section.
Everyone was taking a selfie with this… We figured we should do so too
To be honest, I don’t remember why we took this picture….
We settled for a picnic on the bench by some random intersection accompanied by pesky pigeons.
The picnic spread
Oh, I didn’t know pigeons love blue cheese. There was probably news about barrage of pigeon poop on tourists that evening…. Nothing to do with me !
He loves his lemon meringue tart
A trip to Paris is incomplete without sampling the crepes!
The Banana Nutella crepe was nice but a bit tad sweet
We found a better spot for a selfie with the Eiffel tower
I was a bag of knots worrying about my bag being a victim of the infamous gypsies. I had probably an overdose of paranoia and kept my eye out for them. I may or may not have Googled “What do Gypsies look like” prior to this Paris trip ….. Luckily for us, we did not have any problems with the gypsies or any petty crime for that matter. I’ve heard so many horror stories that fueled my paranoia. Perhaps it was the heavy presence of armed forces patrolling around the busy areas kept them away or the stories were just myths to scare wimps like me.
For dinner, we went to Chez Andre as our friends had recommended it to us.
The soup and the escargot was very good! I don’t think I’ve ever had a French soup that was as good as this one.
We can’t say the same about the Poisson meunière fish…. which is basically pan-fried fish in butter and lemon juice.
After dinner, we went home and proceed to find a stranger’s leg poking out through a curtain in the corner of the hallway (we actually didn’t know there was even a place to sleep there) and the smell of cigarette smoke was so overwhelming that it was offensive. It was annoying that the host did not inform us that there was going to be another person sharing the space. I think it’s just plain courtesy to inform your guest about additional guest or strangers for that matter. 6 people sharing this borderline hoarder’s place and a dingy washroom was worst than a hostel.
Suffice to say, we were careful on picking our other Airbnb accommodations and pay a little more than $40 a night.
Next up, Catacombs of Paris and the best falafel in the world !