Last week I headed to Paris for a two-night jaunt in the city in conjunction with two shows at the beautiful Bataclan venue where the tragic incidents of November 2015 happened. The trip itself was really fun and chilled and the shows were equally wonderful. Having been to the Parisian capital about four times already I’d done all the obvious tourist destinations but I still had a few things left to experience and I wish I’d done them all years ago.
Hunt out bargains at City Pharma
Now there are loads of pharmacies about in Paris, but City Pharma located just off the Boulevard Saint- Germain is a treasure trove for amazing deals on French branded products such as Bioderma, Cauldie, and Nuxe to name just a few. I visited around 11 am on a Wednesday and even then it was a little busy so pre-plan your visit for mid-week or first thing in the morning because I’ve heard stories of people queuing to get in, and with too many people you can’t properly look at the things inside. I could have gone pretty crazy here as the prices were so good (under 8 euro for a big bottle of Bioderma micellar water) and I knew how much stuff I had at home already. This is the perfect place if there are specific items from brands that you’re looking for or if you just want to treat yourself.
Take in the views from the Montparnasse Tower
Of course, you have the obvious monuments to view Paris from like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc De Triomphe but the views from the Montparnasse Tower are absolutely stunning. Being a little further out from the main city center you can see so much including all of the above, plenty of gardens, galleries, and Sacre Coeur but it’s the density of the city which I couldn’t get over. When you’re on the street it feels much like any other capital but from the tower, you can truly see how dense much of the city is and this wasn’t a sight I had seen from any other tower. There’s an indoor level at 56 floors or an outdoor observation deck at 59 floors and both offered incredible views of the city (especially during the week when it’s not too busy).
Eat Pastries at Du Pain Des Idees
There are loads of bakeries in Paris, and their croissants taste so much better than in the UK but Du Pain Des Idees had been on my to-visit list for a while because it’s only open during the week and I’m usually there at the weekend. Thankfully I’ve finally made my visit and I will definitely be back. The owner Christophe Vasseur traded in his life in the fashion industry at the age of 30 to start a new life as a baker with a desire to restore the craft to it’s traditional roots. Christophe was elected the best baker in Paris by a gourmet magazine in 2008 so you know it’s going to be good. I had a baked apple pastry for breakfast on my final day in the city and it was so soft, flaky and full of flavour that I wish I’d bought 10 to bring him. Of course, I had to also get a Pain Au Chocolat to compare against others I’d eaten and again it was so soft and absolutely beautiful.