How do I describe Paris? One word. Beautiful.
I'm not exaggerating. Every, single, thing, in Paris, is simply beautiful. It's almost eerie because you think, okay, when am I going to see real life, when am I going to see a building without cute flowers on the window sill, or someone who is wearing sweats or "lululemons". Not saying I enjoy seeing people in sweats, but there definitely is something about the French... or Parisians, and the way they present themselves. It's quite wonderful actually.
Being in Paris for a week I could only do so much. Go to the Louvre, snap a picture of the Mona Lisa, head to Champs-Élysées, snap a picture of the Arc de Triomphe, climb the hill to Sacré-Cœur and pretend to be Amélie for a day. Yes, I was a complete tourist, but it had to be done.
But these pictures are never really the moments you remember when you visit a city. At least for me, it's being able to experience the city like a local, the everyday life, where they eat, where they have fun, and luckly for me I had my very own Parisans to show me around.
I can't remember all places we ate at or the types of wine we drank. David Lebovitz can tell you all the specifics, which restaurant to go to, which type of cheese to buy. I'm just going to tell you what to do... in general. And it doesn't consist of going to Café de Flore and spending 15€ on a gin and tonic.
First things first. Get a croissant. But don't get it at the metro station. This may seem like an obvious thing but I made the mistake of thinking all croissant in Paris would be amazing. Nope, I was wrong. My friend lives in the 10th district and there was a boulanger patissier (pastry shop) close to his flat where I would go every morning and get one. You don't have to go all the way to this district just to get a croissant, but it also wouldn't hurt to explore a little.
Find a local cheese shop and buy some cheese. Since Lebovitz often talks about cheese I thought I should find a shop he suggested. So I headed to Pascal Beillevaire, the one he recommended, but accidentally walked into another shop thinking it was the right one. I asked the owner if I was at the Pascal Beillevaire, he shyly laughed, as if I gave him a compliment and said, "Oh, no it is farther down the street, pass the church". Then a lady waiting behind me said the cheese shop I was in is just as good and not as expenive. The owner of the shop was so nice and humble and cute, that I ended up buying cheese from him too. In fact, I bought more cheese at his shop (Fromagerie Beaufils) than at Pascal Beillevaire. Plus I had to compare their Compté.
Fromagerie Beaufils: 118, rue de Belleville (20th) - 75020 Paris
Pascal Beillevaire: 140, rue de Belleville (20th)
Hopefully after a few days you have made some French friends and they have invited you to watch football with them. Instead of bringing nachos or wings, bring saucisson and gateaux aperitifs, especially Chipster or TUC crackers.
For dinner, find a cute little crêperie restaurant and have a savoury crêpe (la galette) with apple cider. For dessert, the crème brûlée is calling your name.
(This guy looked so French, I just had to take a picture.)
And if your still hungry at 3 in the morning, a crêpe bolognaise will do.