1 – The Red Boat – At least that’s what I call it. Parisians call it the Batofar, and it’s by far one the coolest little clubs to go to in Paris. If you’re coming to Paris and you’re looking to have a fun night, I highly recommend this little boat on the Seine. It gets a little cramped in the hull but just head to the bow of the ship and you’ll feel like a million bucks again. There is a cover if you show up after 12, but it’s nothing to worry about (maybe 10 euro). One thing to look out for is the fact that the night life culture in Paris (and in most other countries) is going to be different from what you’re probably use to. This is a good thing! One main difference is the timing of it all. I found that in a lot of Euro party scenes the best time to head out after a good pre-game is 11:45, maybe even a bit later. There wasn’t one night out on the town that I wasn’t stumbling back to my apartment as the sun wasn’t creeping up, as opposed to London where the drinking starts early. Also be aware that you won’t see too many people getting “white girl wasted”. The drinking scene is one where people actually socialize, so keep your cool and break out some of that French after a few drinks!
2 – Take a class – I had the great privilege of having a great instructor who knew this city like the back of his hand that toured us around from time to time. Those tours were some of my favorite memories, and when I go back, you can bet I’ll be taking another class that will keep me as engaged. Don’t think of it as going back to school while you’re on vacation. Think of it as adding content to your trip. Whereas you would have been wondering around the streets of Paris aimlessly, now you can honestly say you know what you’re looking at. This is extremely important to planning out a trip I believe, and it even lets you show off when you take people back to this amazing city.
3 – Picnic and People Watch – If your favorite pastime is people watching… then you should call Paris home. Head down to your favorite little bakery and pick out a few things you can’t get at home, buy a cheap (and I mean cheap) bottle of wine and head down to the park. Bring some friends and soak it all in. A weekly routine of mine was to stop by the Boulanger, a little pastry shop on the corner of my road, I would grab a few croissants and maybe a sub and take my cache to Parc Montsouri. Trust me, doing this is not lame at all on a vacation. In fact, it’s a must.
4 – Versailles – Even though this is a cliché day trip to make while you’re in Paris, it’s none the less mind blowing. If you leave Paris without visiting the famous gardens at least, then shame on you. As you stand near the front gates and look out into the city you can begin to understand why Loui s the XIV called himself the Sun King. One mistake I made that you could avoid is trying to walk through the entire gardens in one day. Word of advice, rent a bike! I think they are about 10 euro and well worth it.
5 – Chantilly – Last but definitely not least, the little chateau called Chantilly is my absolute favorite thing to see in Paris. Unlike Versailles, you will seemingly have the place to yourself, especially if you tour it during the off season. You can get lost in the English style gardens and roam through the hallways with few people to get in your way. It’s a lot older and more charming than Versailles and a lot less expensive. That is if you don’t visit the famous horse stables. I believe that will run you 20 euro just to see the horses…ya…. They are beautiful horses though! And before you go, take a stroll through the little town outside the castle walls. It’s about a 30 minute train ride from Paris so the culture is a bit different. And I almost forgot to mention, this is the birth place of whipped cream. So don’t head back without buying some dessert.
Links below to some of the places I have mentioned: