Bonjour, tout le monde!
Besides spending a weekend in Lyon during my week off from work this October, I also made a trip to Paris, where I stayed five nights. Although I’ve gone to Paris countless of times before and have seen many of the major sites, there were still so many things to check out in the French capital– seriously, one can spend a lifetime in Paris and still not see everything!
In actuality, I’d decided to visit Paris this time around, because there was a specific temporary art exhibition that I wanted to check out. I also wanted to do a couple of day trips to nearby places in the île-de-France/northern France region while in Paris, so I was especially keen for my stay there!
That said, I left around 11:00 from Lyon and spent the next six or so hours in transit by Flixbus to Paris. We got in around 17:30, and I immediately hopped off to head over to the nearby metro and take it to my hostel, located a bit out from the heart of the city (near Canal Saint Martin).
After checking in and dropping my belongings off, I headed out again to get dinner in town. I’d done a bit of research into restaurants before I came to Paris, as I know that the city has plenty of good eateries (and not just French food). I came across a Taiwanese restaurant, which was a bit surprising, but all the same, I knew that I had to check it out and see if it was legit.
I made it to the restaurant, which was super tiny, but warm and cozy. Being very excited, I ordered quite a bit of food for dinner, which consisted of lu rou fan (滷肉饭) and gua bao (割包), two of my favorite Taiwanese dishes. I grew up eating such dishes, both in Taiwan and Los Angeles, so I was looking to see if the ones in Paris could measure up…and I was surprisingly happy that they did! Warm, hearty, and wonderfully fatty, they filled my stomach with love and even though they were expensive, the positive dining experience made it all the more worth it.
Following dinner, I headed out to meet up with a few travelers whom I’d been messaging on Facebook since we happened to be in Paris around the same dates, and we made plans to get a drink in town. I met up with them, and we got a drink near Odéon before wandering the Marais and Beaubourg districts and getting another drink near the Centre Pompidou. Soon after, I returned to my hostel, tired after a long day of travel and sightseeing Paris for a bit.
The next day was my first full day in Paris. I took it slowly in the morning, getting breakfast in the hostel before heading out around 10:00 in the windy rain to the 19th district, where I spent my morning strolling through the quiet, residential micro-district of Mouzaïa. It’s considered rather off-the-beaten path, with charming villas on cute side streets which give a bohemian atmosphere to it, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.
That afternoon, I went to the temporary art exhibition at the Atelier des Lumières. It was an exhibition on Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, and what made it special was that it was an animated exhibition, floor to ceiling, that filled the entire warehouse-like studio in brilliant light. Essentially, I went to Paris just to experience this magic-like exhibition, and I’m very glad that I did. I liken it to the fête des Lumières in Lyon, as my visual senses were on overload with each colorful scene that played in time to the music. Definitely worth coming to Paris to see, let alone experience!
Following the exhibition, I had a coffee (rather, latte) break at a matcha café which I’d gone to back in January. I’m a huge matcha fan, so I greatly enjoyed my matcha latte and matcha marbled cake as an afternoon break from sightseeing.
I returned to my hostel thereafter, where I befriended a traveler in my dorm who’d just arrived that day. I headed out again that evening for dinner at a Senegalese restaurant: a friend had recommended it to me, and I’d never tried Senegalese food before, so I was keen on checking it out!
I arrived when it first opened for dinner, and I was able to get a table sans reservation: I was lucky, since it got full within 30 minutes after arriving! Didn’t have any expectations, but upon trying my dish (yassa au poulet, or “chicken yassa“), I was blown away– really enjoyed the lemony, earthy spices which made for a complex, but unbelievable experience. The chicken itself was tender and, served along with rice, I had a hearty, delicious meal. Definitely would recommend!
After dinner, I just headed back to my hostel where I got a few drinks at the bar and chatted to a local before turning in for bed. It’d been already eventful during the first two nights in, but I was excited to see what more was in store for me in the days to come.
I’ll recap the second part of my stay in Paris soon!
— The Finicky Cynic
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