Paris: all the truth about Paris

Guest post: Emma

by Kayla Magazine
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Hey, I’m Emma, I travel to the most interesting places and look for new experiences. I like everything – amazing discoveries and dangerous situations and I never know how it will end. That’s why I like to travel. I’m proudly presenting today’s story about Paris. As soon as I started writing about travel, all my friends kept asking me like: “When are you going to Paris? We are waiting!!!” Okay.. ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to make your wish come true. The most visited, the most touristy, the most popular city in Europe, aka the European capital – Paris. I am about to tell you how wonderful this city of love is.

An interesting fact. Paris is not just the most popular and most visited city in Europe, but it is also the most disappointing city. All kinds of research shows that many people, especially tourists, arrive here with the idea that there is a love and romantic vibe everywhere on the streets. When people actually see Paris, they feel disappointment. This is because the surroundings are totally different from what they had imagined. Well, dear gentlemen, all romance and good vibes are in our heads. It’s all up to you, how you will spend your time in Paris. Don’t expect the sidewalks to be lined with flowers and perfume. That is certainly not the case.

My trip to Paris

My Paris trip starts on simple city streets. Paris isn’t just about famous things, I mean the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, or other popular places you see on postcards. Basically, there are streets in Paris that are purely Parisian that you couldn’t match with any place in the world. When I first came to Paris, I walked these streets and thought to myself: This city is not for me. I was very tired during that day because the city was very dirty, loud, crowded, and messy. I needed three times here to finally understand and start feeling something for Paris.

Now I can honestly say that I’m in love with this city. There are really a lot of exceptional things that you won’t find anywhere else.  There are museums to roam, cafes to discover and so many sights to see in Paris. But the best thing to do in Paris is walk and use the metro. Covering the city on foot means discovering hidden gardens, eclectic neighborhoods, centuries of history and new perspectives. Paris has many wonderful and varied options on what to do. Let’s start from food.

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The most delicious croissants in Paris

When you’re in Paris, the first thing you should do is to taste a croissant. Every year, this city holds a big competition. All the croissant bakeries take part and bake the most delicious croissants. There are various organisations and even several competitions. This is why, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location of where you can eat the most delicious croissants. I read a lot of information, wrote down a few of them and today I’ll tell you where to find the best croissants in the world.

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Du Pain et des Idées: Best Croissant in Paris 2014

Actually, you can get croissants everywhere in Paris, but let’s start from the most iconic. One of the most popular bakeries is “Du Pain et des Idées.” I obviously tragically pronounce this French name. It is situated just a few steps from the Canal St Martin. Firstly, there are large crowds of people here. When there’s good food, there is a long line, and something delicious must be patiently waited for. Everybody is waiting for croissants, but I don’t know how long everything will take.

When I get inside I notice that people working in the bakery are used to working with a large number of people, so the work here is incredibly fast. They took my order right after I entered and packed my croissants until I waited in line and all I had to do was to pay. Finally, in my hands are perhaps the most delicious croissants in the world.

Croissant taste test

So…one croissant in this bakery costs 1.9 Euros. It is small. I have tried croissants that are double and triple the size. I think this one looks like a childish ribbon. It smells very delicious… like butter. I sat down and enjoyed it. It was a croissant orgasm. Coffee here costs 2.5 Eur. In terms of Parisian prices, I can say that this is definitely not the most expensive place. My record is … I have paid over 5 euros for a croissant. It was one of those places near the Eiffel Tower. Nothing special, tasteless.

In the French press and travel blogs, people rave about the croissant I just ate. I’m a bun expert. I eat them 365 days a year all over the world. I really know what a good bun is. A perfect croissant should be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. So I ate this croissant and it was a butter coma. I would say it really wasn’t the most delicious croissant I’ve tried in my life. It was the greasiest croissant ever tasted. It’s not bad, but I have time, so I’ll travel to check out another place highly rated in the French press.

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Laurent Duchêne – Meilleur Ouvrier de France

It is the newest croissant leader in Paris, the winner of this year’s croissant competition. Vogue magazine says their croissants are not only the best, but also the most beautiful. I got here by metro in 30 minutes from the center of Paris. Their croissants won a France-wide contest and they’re cheaper than anywhere else. Here, they cost 1.3 Euros.

If you compare Paris prices this is very very cheap. It’s probably because they’re far enough from the center and it’s a more popular spot among locals. Tourists never come here, unless they are looking for the best croissants in the world, like me. So, it is cheap here and I hope it will be very tasty. The funniest thing is that when they saw us with the camera, they asked right away if we are food critics and if we are going to test their croissants.

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The food critics

They told me that food critics from all around the world regularly come to order a croissant. They’re tasting, sniffing, and valuing. If you’re in first place, it is normal that you’re constantly being judged and everybody will be picking holes in. I’m doing the same at the moment, though I hope there’s no reason and no downside. This croissant is larger, more puffy, more toasted and smells like baked goods, I mean the usual smell of buns. It doesn’t smell like butter. And this croissant is perfectly crunchy and perfectly soft inside and less greasy than I had before. It is sweetly salty, suitable with any filling.

Most importantly, the croissant should be tasty on its own. I really couldn’t say this was the tastiest croissant. There are places that have not been awarded and are not marked in any way, but there you can find the most delicious croissants. You can find good bakeries in small towns unknown to anyone. Once I found one. Now I’m cool and I will be able to brag that I ate the most delicious croissant in the world.

Paris’s Champs-Élysées

This place is not at all what people imagine. In some cities around the world, I even recommend people not to visit the city’s main streets. Why? Because there are too many tourists, too much noise, too much dirt and thieves. In Paris, this rule doesn’t apply. Paris’ main street is the icon and the business card of the city, and everyone should see it.

The first thing I have to warn you about is… A lot of people who come here have no idea what Paris is like. They haven’t done any research. When they get to the Champs-Elysées, they are shocked, because it is not just a simple street for pedestrians and cars. Okay, so what are those Champs-Elysées all about?

First of all, it’s shops – the most famous fashion brands have their own small and large shopping centers here. They have even huge stores like Galeries Lafayette and Louis Vuitton. Cafes and restaurants are everywhere, with lots of different options. There are also cinemas, where Hollywood stars attend the premieres of their movies.

You can get dressed head to toe very easily and quickly on the Champs Elysées. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to spend a lot. The Champs-Elysées is the fifth the most expensive street in the world. If you want to dress nice, get ready to spend the whole paycheck, and maybe even more.

The Parisians say that the Champs-Elysées has lost its face. It has changed a lot over the years, and from a romantic street, which was called the most romantic alley in the world, it has become very commercial. They began to avoid it. All the people you see here are visitors, tourists from all over the world.

The Arc de Triomphe

Besides, here are really a lot of poor people who are asking for money.  The thing I love about this city is that everyone compliments each other.  If you see someone looking very nice, just say: “Magnifique”. It means: you look amazing, majestic, wonderful, beautiful. That’ll make someone smile immediately. Give compliments in Paris.

After soaking up the French fashion and beautiful people, don’t forget to walk to the very end of Champs-Elsées. There you’ll see one of the most iconic symbols of Paris – Arc de Triomphe. Interesting thing. Many tourists stop at the end of Champs-Elysées to take photos of the Arc de Triomphe, but don’t even realize they have the opportunity to climb up on the roof.

My advice: if you want to get on top of the Arc de Triomphe, buy tickets in advance. You can purchase it online. It costs 13 EUR per person. Students are admitted for free, if they show the student certificate. In fact, I’m here for the third time, but I am standing in such a big line for the first time. It is obvious that Paris has recovered since the Covid pandemic.

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Experience one of Paris’s ‘secret’ viewpoints

A walk around Champs-Elysées won’t tell you how beautiful it is. I suggest you to take a look from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. This alley looks better from above. You will see how beautiful this street is, how beautifully it’s planted with trees. All its beauty is lost when walking through crowds of people below.

If you’re a romantic soul like me, you’ll look for the Eiffel Tower no matter where you are in Paris. There is no better spot for watching the Eiffel tower than the Arc de Triomphe. It has a perfect angle. From one observation deck you can watch another. This is how many call the Eiffel tower – the largest observation deck in Paris.

Place du Trocadéro

Let’s play the game. The task is to find a place with the most beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower. If you want to see it from the impressive angle, I suggest you come to a metro station called Trocadero. This is what the Eiffel Tower is all about. When people get out of the subway, they starts cheering, especially newlyweds who come to Paris to have an impressive wedding photo shoot. Ladies and gentlemen, the Eiffel Tower is here in the palm of your hand.

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Rue de l’Université

Now I’m going to tell you about a special place that not everyone knows about. Don’t give up this secret, don’t spread it. It is a tiny street with the most photogenic view of the Eiffel tower. I took the most romantic pictures here on Rue de l’Université. A lot of people record videos here. Everyone who wants to get as many likes and views as possible is coming here, this street is full like a runway in a fashion show.

Eiffel tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is like the most beautiful girl that everyone wants. You’ll need a couple things if you want to see the Eiffel Tower: money and a lot of patience. To the Eiffel Tower always, all year round there are long lines at the tickets, at the elevators, at the stairs, at the bar, at the toilets, everywhere. In one day, the Eiffel Tower is visited by about 2,500 people from all over the world. 75 % of the visitors are tourists and the rest are French people from all over the country who come here to Paris.

I’m not surprised that the moment when people finally get inside the tower is so memorable. They’re happy because long lines and waiting make this moment special. My first impression, right after I climbed the Eiffel Tower, was that it is truly the most visited place in the world. I felt like I was in a street market and I couldn’t find a quiet corner here. Time is unlimited here. Set aside half a day and you will definitely have a great time.

The sad history

The next time you see photos of your friends, relatives, co-workers or classmates on the Eiffel Tower, write and say something nice in a comment, because you have to put in a lot of effort to take a good photo. There are long lines, people fighting for space. In some places there are gratings and you can’t take beautiful pictures, but this is for security. The sad part of the story of the tower that you may not have read, as sad facts are usually not told. Since the day it was built, nearly 400 suicides have jumped off the Eiffel Tower. That’s why these gratings are here. We don’t want this to happen again.

That’s the real face of Eiffel Tower. It’s not as kissed out and decorated as it is usually shown by tourists who come to Paris. It’s simple, tired, crowded, even a little bit annoying, because they are constantly repairing it. A general repaint takes place every seven years. The French need to take good care of this beauty to make sure it stays in good shape and doesn’t fall apart one day. Teams of engineers are working on this all the time.

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Champ de Mars

You know I agree that you need to climb the Eiffel Tower at least once, but once you have been there you can compare. For example, it seems to me that the Eiffel tower looks far more romantic and impressive from the outside than being inside. When I arrived for the second time, I admired it from a distance. In the evening, I always return to the Champ de Mars. It is a large square near the Eiffel tower and here I come to watch the sunset. Watching the sunset and having a picnic in the field of Mars is one of the most romantic things to do in the city of love. Now I have a bag with food and drinks, I will pick a decent place and settle down.

Here is a true romance. There are a lot of people at this place. Lovers are sitting together and enjoying the moment. Sit down here, have a snack and wait for the western lights of the Eiffel tower to light up. That is the true romance of Paris. I recommend you to try this. The place is free. All you have to do is bring food and drinks to your picnic. Just what you like.
Today I’ve told you about the most iconic places in the city of love. Paris is much bigger and wider and my adventures in this city will continue. Stay tuned to find out more about Paris.

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