I promised to myself every year I’ll spend a weekend in Paris: I believe it’s good for the heart and it fills the soul with beauty.
Let’s face it: Paris is a huge and extremely touristy city and Parisians usually look people up and down (assuming they take the trouble to look at us…), but it’s tremendously intriguing and it’s hard not to resist to its charm.
Every time I go to Paris I like to stay in hotels in some central areas (like Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Latin Quarter, etc …), but this year I decided to change, opting for a more authentic area.
I rented a house on Airbnb: after having accurately monitored the website for days, I found a lovely apartment in a delightful neighborhood called SoPi, mostly known as South Pigalle. This is a hipster, vibrant area full of shops, cafes, bakeries and bars that make this neighbordhood one of the most upcoming districts of Paris (the Guardian wrote an article about it).
If I had to sum up my weekend activities I would use just this two words: food and walks.
I often try to visit as many things as I can in a city (museums, monuments…) just to flag the ‘things I need to visit in this city’ bucket list. How cool is not having a destination and just being softly and randomly guided by the city? That’s what I decided to do, and it’s been very interesting and regenerating (and I probably enjoyed more Paris this time than all the other previous ones).
I walked, I took pictures, I got lost, I went to dozens of charming shops selling many different objects, I didn’t visit any museum and I saw the Eiffel Tower only at a distance. And between one walk and another one, I had amazing breakfasts, cakes, lunches, snacks and dinners (the energies are never enough!).
The best dinner I had was at Benoit, the only bistrot in Paris that won a Michelin star: this is a restaurant with a cozy and vintage atmosphere (there are several rooms decorated with wood, tiles and velvet), that combines French culinary tradition with His Majesty Alain Ducasse leadership, one of the most famous and appreciated chefs ever.
To pay tribute to the traditional French cuisine I started with snails with garlic butter and fine herbs followed by the amazing ‘poule au pot Henry IV‘, which is chicken boiled in a vegetable stock (it sounds quite easy to cook, but I bet you can’t do it in a proper way without either Monsieur Ducasse or French grandmothers’ secrets). Everything accompanied by a wonderful bottle of red wine (French wine, ça va sans dire).
I can say without any hesitation that Paris, anytime and anyone you go there with, has always something to give and tell!