Often when we travel, my wife and I like to tag on an extra destination. Somewhere we’re traveling through we can just kind of add on and run around in before the big trip.
When I was planning our trip to the States last summer, I saw that it’d be cheaper to do a stopover in Paris, switch airlines, and then continue on to New Orleans. Naturally, when I asked my wife, “How do you feel about maybe doing a couple of nights in Paris?” her answer was, “Hell yes!”
Paris had long been on her bucket list, so this was an easy way to check it off. I last was there years ago, where I stayed a week and went broke because of the price of coffee. Ever after that, I’ve feared the place, but I figured that my wife’s got a good job, I’ve a reasonable one, and heck, it will just be for a couple of days, so why not give it a shot?
I’ve outlined my method of seeing a city or a country before over on my Morocco blog. Basically, you make a list, find a map, and see what you can reasonably fit. Use local transit where necessary, and Uber where one absolutely must.
Where to stay
We looked at a map and found what neighborhood we wanted to stay in. For Paris, there’s a couple of options. The city is split up in different hoods, or what they call “arrondisements”, and we found the 5th arrondisement worked best for us. It’s the most touristic and expat-filled one, but nevermind that, we were only there for a couple of nights and it’s really not enough time to get into a city any more than on a superficial level.
The Pantheon, in the 5th arrondisement
The first time I was in town I rented a private apartment right next to Gare du Nord. Some might say that it’s not the best of neighborhoods, because there are black people. So if that makes you uncomfortable, stick with the 5th. But everyone I ran into there was friendly, and the coffee was cheaper, so I had no problems with the area. Others I've heard say that the area around Montmartre is also an excellent spot, full of artistic spots and hole-in-the-wall bars. Not having stayed there, I can't say, myself. But I do know, that if you're someone who doesn't know the city, in all likelihood, your nightlife will end up taking you on the other side of the river.