Amy Glazier-Torgerson, Sciences Po Exchange, Fall 2013
This is my last week in Paris and I want to make it one of my best. My classes ended on December 2nd, and after traveling with friends for a week on a whirlwind adventure from Istanbul to Frankfurt to London, I am back in Paris and ready to enjoy the city as much as possible before I depart. One of my best friends from Northwestern is visiting me this week, and she has never been to Paris before. To combine the two interests- seeing my favorite sites and giving a tour to a newcomer- I have made an itinerary for five days in this wonderful city that anyone can follow.
Day 1: Get oriented. Walk the city end to end starting at the Nation métro stop (on the far east end of the city on the right bank) to the Arc de Triomphe. Along the way, one passes Bastille (a lively area with restaurants and bars), the Marais (home of the best falafel I’ve ever had), the Louvre, the Tuileries gardens, Concorde (possibly the worst traffic circle in Paris, but that’s not what it’s famous for), the Champs-Elysées and its Christmas markets, and finally the Arc de Triomphe itself. The walk itself takes several hours, especially with snack breaks and photo opportunities. Take the métro for the first time to the Latin Quarter for delicious fixed price meals and a visit to the famous English bookstores Shakespeare and Company and The Abbey.
Day 2: Head North to the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, a gigantic flea market with antiques and relics from all continents. After perusing for a couple hours, head back to the main area to Notre Dame for a free visit. The beautiful stained glass church of Saint Chapelle is close by, as is the Deportation Memorial to the victims of WWII. The Louvre is close enough for a visit to one of the wings, and across the street is the famous Angelina’s hot chocolate (for a hefty price tag of 8 euros a cup!) Dinner at Rue Mouffatrd– another fun street in the Latin Quarter.
Day 3: Crossing over to the left bank is the Orsay museum, the Grande Epicerie (a HUGE grocery store), and the original Le Bon Marché. All three sites will be plein de tout le monde (full of everyone) so close to Christmas and should be done with patience. For most all of the semester, I have been eating on a student’s budget, but for one night I’d like to go to a nice restaurant and see the best of Parisian cuisine. Beautiful restaurants are to Paris as Starbucks locations are to Seattle: there will be no shortage of options.
Day 4: Montmartre needs a full morning dedicated to it, where I can visit Sacré-Coeur as well as the artists’ village behind the Church on the top of the hill. All of the side streets in Montmartre are quirky and beautiful, and it’ll take a while to say goodbye to them. Another splurge that I’ve been waiting all semester for is having tea and macaroons at Ladurée. Paris can hold its own to London with delicious tea! As a last adventure of the day, I have always been wanting to visit the Bois de Boulogne park on the far West side of Paris, known for hosting the French Open!
Day 5: As a final hoorah, I’d like to climb the steps of the Eiffel Tower. Doing such is the more economical option, as it only costs 3 euro to a regular trip’s 10. Close by is the Trocadéro métro stop and location with the best view of the Eiffel Tower in all of Paris. It now also includes an ice rink, which I plan to visit! Hidden in Paris is also the Canal St. Martin, which I have been struggling to find.
This is my way of distracting myself, of insisting that this semester is not coming to an end. I have never left a city without concrete plans on returning. This is also my way of starting to say my goodbyes.