It is definitely true that on a year abroad people will experience an infinite number of ‘firsts’. In the past three months I have completed the fairly standard firsts such as; opening my first bank account in a foreign country, surviving my first day of full-time work in a French office, and dancing away my first night in a Parisian club. Hiring Vélibs to explore the city, watching the sun set over the Seine, and discovering Nuit Blanche are some of my personal favourite ‘firsts’.
Two weeks ago I flew alone, visited mainland Spain and ate authentic churros in the shade of Murcia’s Cathedral; all for la première fois. A weekend enjoying the Spanish sun with Dan was the ideal escape from the office and we had a lovely few days eating good food and seeing the sights of Murcia.
It was then back to Paris for more firsts, like watching the Armistice memorial service on the Champs-Elysées and later finding myself amongst a small group of people who were meeting Sarkozy as he was leaving the Arc de Triomphe. Sometimes I do have to pinch myself.
There are many famous attractions to visit for those who come to Paris, but since actually living here I’ve discovered lots of new places that I instantly loved. Here are my top 5 (in no particular order):
- Jardin du Palais Royal
Maybe I’m biased, as my flatmates joke that this is literally our back garden, but as much as I visit this relaxing space I can’t see myself ever getting bored of it. Feel free to kick back, plug your headphones in and listen to some French poetry while you’re there.
- Bois de Boulogne
A huge area of over 2000 acres of lakes, green and woodland, this is the place to go if you want to feel like you’re out of the city. We ended up exploring the inside of a waterfall – Paris amazes me.
- Le Marais
An area of the city that couldn’t be more Parisian if it tried; small cobbled streets and beautiful architecture – often referred to as ‘Old Paris’.
- Cimetière du Père Lachaise
Although 70,000 burial plots on one site sounds slightly morbid, I personally found this place so relaxing. You could easily spend an entire afternoon wandering between all the burial places of famous people such as Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and Honoré de Balzac, and the view from the top of the hill was very much worth the climb.
- Canal Saint-Martin
If you fancy a walk along something that isn’t the Seine, this canal is the place to go. The fact you’re in a big city is once again easily forgotten.