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Travel: How To Spend A Day Alone In Paris

How To Spend A Day Alone In Paris

October was the month of Paris. I was sent out to the beautiful city of love a second time by Etsy to their European Captain’s Summit as the co-captain of our team of Etsy sellers here in Leeds. I scheduled in an extra day so I could get some sightseeing done so as well as travelling to another country by myself for the first time I had to spend a day alone in Paris.

Before I left for Paris I was worried about the recent attacks on the city and what it was going to be like to go there. I was scared of being in a place where I couldn’t speak the language and scared I would really stand out as being British. I was worried people would think I was stupid because of the recent vote to leave the EU.

None of those things were an issue.

Paris is resilient and aside from a few extra security measures (and some guys with big guns!) you didn’t even realise Paris has suffered so much terror recently – That thought did not once cross my mind while I was wandering around the city and I never felt unsafe.

As it turns out, I remembered some damn good French from my years at school. I made sure I knew how to say “do you speak English?” and was very taken aback when I went for lunch that the answer was “no”. Still I managed to order my lunch, a drink, some water and some coffee in French that I hadn’t practised for 13 years and I asked for the bill in French with a little help from Google. I even spoke to a man about England leaving the EU and helped a homeless man buy a can of coke in (admittedly broken) French. Everyone is so friendly and so appreciative of you speaking their language, even with a really bad accent!

The best part for me was when I was mistaken for actually being French. Twice. The first time a lady asked me for directions on the Metro in French and the second time I overheard a group of Scottish folks saying I was ‘foreign’ until I said “excuse me, cheers!” in my best Yorkshire accent, haha! WIN.

Travelling Paris Alone - Tips & Advice

So my top tips for how to spend a day alone in Paris are:

// Try it. I bet it won’t be as scary as you think it will be. Sure it’s out of your comfort zone, but it will make you feel seriously bad ass. I had one moment when I couldn’t figure out how to get into a supermarket and didn’t know how to ask in French. I really confused the checkout lady!! But for every mistake you make, there will be a little win to build your confidence back up.

// Make sure your phone works abroad. I am on the Three network who provide a Feel At Home service where you can use your allowance in certain countries for free. If you’re not on Three, consider getting a temporary sim card or buying a Euro internet pass from your network. You will almost certainly need to Google where something is or what something means during the day.

// Don’t be afraid to use the metro. You can get a day pass from the ticket machines in every metro station and the instructions are in English. It’s so easy to get around and so much cheaper than getting a taxi. Make sure you download a metro app like Next Stop Paris where you can plan a journey by searching by metro stop or by landmark. I used this so much!!

//Don’t be a neon sign for pick pockets! I felt so much more comfortable trying to blend in. I tried not to dress like a tourist, mostly because there was something about being in Paris that made me want to up my game with outfits. Paris women generally don’t wear heels and carrying a backpack wasn’t unusual either so it was easy not to look like a tourist. I kept my camera in my bag where possible and used my phone instead of a book or map to find out where to go.

// If you’re not confident speaking French, tell people you are English straight away. “Je suis Anglais” (I am English) and “Je parle un petit peu Francais. Parlez-vous Anglais?” (I speak very little French, do you speak English?) were my most used phrases. Even if people didn’t speak English they knew to speak slower and clearer in French or gesture so I could understand.

// Don’t panic. If you get lost or don’t know where something is or how to ask for something, just take a seat and calm down. Take out your phone and look it up or even call someone you love to help you feel at ease. It’s amazing what hearing a friendly voice can do. Above all, make sure someone knows where you are and be responsible. It was dark when I arrived, I was tired and didn’t know the city so I stayed in the hotel and ordered food to my room from a local restaurant.

If I could change anything next time I would spend more time in the beautiful city of love and be more confident trying to speak French. I can’t wait to go back and take Stuart with me, show him my favourite little spots and know where I’m going and how to get around. I wouldn’t think twice about travelling alone again either. It’s a blast!

Loves x xx

posted by onetenzeroseven in Travel and have Comment (1)

A Day Trip to Paris for Busy Yorkshire Folk with Doncaster Sheffield Airport

A Day Trip To Paris From Doncaster Sheffield Airport

In this day and age of building businesses, working multiple jobs, cut backs and overtime, sometimes you just can’t spare a full weekend break so last month Doncaster Sheffield airport sent me out and challenged me to spend 24 hours in Paris. 24 hours?! How much can you possibly pack into a day trip to Paris for busy Yorkshire folk? More than you’d think, actually. Even looking back I can’t believe we did all of this and still got a full night’s sleep under the Parisian stars!

From Doncaster Sheffield Airport to Paris Charles De Gaulle, prices start from £29.99 per person, one way, which is cheaper than most train tickets to London from up North. We were treated to a stay in the premium lounge, which is not something I would have ever considered before trying. When we arrived at the lounge we were treated to a freshly cooked bacon sandwich and a lovely fresh coffee. There were piles of pastries, biscuits, juices and a even a full bar (although 6am was a little too early, even for me). When it was ready to board our flight, the gentleman looking after us pointed us in the right direction of the gate and as we got back onto the airport floor we all agreed that we had practically forgotten we were even in an airport. If you’re a nervous flyer, the premium lounge is a great option for keeping calm prior to flying as it’s almost just like chilling out in someone’s living room.

Doncaster Sheffield Airport Premier Lounge

When we arrived we headed straight to the river Seine to get the first view of incredible Parisian architecture and a peek at the Notre Dame. Every street has at least one amazing flower shop bursting with fresh florals!

Lunch is Paris is such a treat with their huge selection of crepes, both savoury and sweet. I had an amazing four cheese crepe at a little cafe called Evangelista on a quiet street behind the Musee D’orsay with layers of fluffy cloud-like pancake, crumbly goats cheese and blue cheeses. We also ordered fries for the table and oh my God, they don’t call them French Fries for nothing. So tasty without extra salt or any condiments and I’m a huge condiment advocate usually!

Best Rooftop Views Of Paris - Musee D'Orsay

Things To Do in Paris - Musee D'Orsay

After lunch we popped into the Musee D’Orsay for a good peruse of some Degas, Monet and Van Gogh. I always find it incredible to be in the same space as some original artwork from legendary artists I studied at college. We even got an incredible view across Paris from the top floor. After the museum, Daisy and I went for a walk along the river to take some photos. It’s a gorgeous part of Paris, with the Tuileries gardens just across the river.

We saw a whole heap of the city in just two hours with a guided tour from Fat Tire Paris. Now I’m not usually into guided tours and as bad as it is to admit – I find history really boring. However our tour guide, Victor, was so full of personality and jokes for each incredible landmark that he took us to see that it was really fun to learn about the city. He threw in some silly questions to get everyone involved and told us about the ‘party king’ of France with a bit of acting thrown in. Oh and you got to zip around the streets of Paris on your very own segway… that might have added to the fun a little!

Best Guided Tours Of Paris - Segway Tour with Fat Tire Paris

When we found out we were doing a segway tour we were all really anxious. Really anxious. Literally within 5 minutes of practising we were all zooming up and down the courtyard eager to set off around the city. The faster you travel, the smoother the ride is over little bumps and cracks in the road and even rolling over pavements is barely noticeable. It’s so easy to slow down and turning corners is so much fun, by the time the tour was over we were all desperate to do another segway tour in the next city we visited.

After we built up our appetites on the segways we wandered back along past the sparkling Eiffel Tower (which lights up after nightfall and sparkles every hour) and enjoyed a dinner at La Terrasse, serving everything from Steak Tartar to a traditional Croque Monsieur, which I opted for with another taste of those amazing fries. When in Paris…

24 Hours In Paris, How To Spend a Day in Paris

Things To Do in Paris, A Day Trip to Paris

If you’re staying overnight try a luxury night at the 123 Sebastopol in the Republique area. With their cool themed rooms (mine had traffic light lights and an amazing film strip headboard) and exceptional service it is well worth splashing out for one special night. If you’ve got some time to kill they even have a fully functional cinema in the basement for your own private viewing. In the morning we enjoyed a lavish breakfast of traditional French pastries and got our final fill of Parisian cheese and coffee before heading back to the airport.

Where to stay in Paris - 123 Sebastapol
Don’t forget to pick up your stash of macarons from the beautiful Laduree in the terminal to enjoy back home in Yorkshire with a good cup of tea. The flight time was just over an hour and we were back home after an amazing whirlwind day. Sure I could have slept for a week after all that excitement, but I was refreshed and inspired ready to get stuck back into work!

A day trip to Paris would be an amazing alternative to a spa day with your best friend or to celebrate a special anniversary and it would make such a great idea for a hen do that it almost makes me want to get married. So my only question now is… where else can I pop to from Doncaster Sheffield airport for a super quick refreshing break? Amsterdam? ;) Loves x xx

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posted by onetenzeroseven in Travel and have Comments (3)