I used to think that Autumn was my favourite time to visit Paris. There’s no place like Paris when the leaves turn brown, the air starts taking on a sharp coldness and the seasons start clicking into place. But after last month’s long weekend in the City of Light, I’ve fallen in love with Paris in the springtime. The days are just starting to get longer, the light is brighter and the trees are bursting with pink and white blossoms.
Let’s face it though, ask me any time of year, irrespective of how many times I’ve been, or how much money is in my bank account; Paris is always a good idea. It’s always been one of my favourite places in the world. There’s something about that soft French light, the greyish blue rooftops and the instinctively laidback chic of Parisians who make just about everything look effortless.
While I am obsessed with collecting Lonely Planet guides for every place I visit, my favourite visits to Paris are always the ones left least planned. Sure, I’ll do my research, cross check it with Instagram, and have an idea in my head of places to go. But there’s nothing like just relaxing in a city and enjoying just being there. As my Instagram suggests, I’m happy enough to adopt my temporary status as a Parisienne.
Indulging in long breakfasts with strong coffee, wine soaked lunches and golden hour strolls along the Seine to hunt for vintage vinyl. I’ll take everything the city has to offer. And despite being an incredibly expensive city in so many ways, Paris, surprisingly, is a great place to be skint. Forget the luxe life and take a leaf out of Hemingway’s book with a cafe creme and a few hours of people watching. Stroll around the Jardin Tuileries or take in the boating lake at Jardin du Luxembourg. Sure, the Rive Gauche isn’t quite as cheap as it was back when Hemingway and Orwell wrote about their impoverished times there. But there is so much of the city that you can enjoy for very little.
Much like any big city, eating well doesn’t always mean it has to be expensive. Many of the cafes on the street (avoid the overly tourist ones) offer a pretty well curated selection of French cuisine. Try Cafe Père et Fils on Rue Montmartre in the Second for a piled high, baked goats cheese salad drizzled with honey and Bayonne ham.
Honestly though, Paris is not really the city to scrimp. Not completely anyway. With some of the world’s finest chefs, you’ll definitely want to factor a few more indulgent meals into your budget. Just in case you want to overspend in Angelina with one of their rich hot chocolates and an eclair!