Paris Is Screaming All Night Long (Travelblog by @Hansyhobs)
Dear readers, meet Hannah, dear Hannah, meet your readers! Tastebuds opens up its blog for travelposts, because we strongly believe that in order to appreciate music to the fullest, you will need to dig deep into different cultures, learn their languages, visit different cities, become a new person. But don’t think about it too much, just give yourself to the experience. This very first time it’s Hannah @Hansyhobs, reporting in from Paris.
‘Paris is screaming all night long’, a pretty accurate description from Ladyhawke, I would say. The city is one of my favourite weekend getaway destinations, it’s less than 2 hours on the train from London and is bursting with so much culture, food and music it’ll satisfy the needs of most. Whilst not as romantic as Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight In Paris’ would have us believe, it’s still a beautiful city to get lost in and discover something new. I try to visit every year and with £100 Eurostar return tickets it’s really not a bank bursting destination.
Hannah is a fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger from South West London. She has a passion for exploration whether it’s at home or abroad and can often be found with her head buried in a travel book planning her next trip. She loves going to festivals as long as there’s plenty of cider on the go and her current music obsessions are Aidan Moffat and the National.
I’m a fan of travelling chicly whilst sticking to a budget and Paris is definitely a city which makes this possible. There are a ton of great hostels to stay in that not only provide comfort at a reasonable price, but also supply a lively atmosphere to get pre-party spirits up. Both Eldorado and Vintage hostels found in the lively district of Monmartre are great places to stay for the weekend. I stayed at the Vintage hostel last summer whilst attending Rock en Seine, yes, it’s basic but its close proximity to Gard du Nord, Balades Sonores record shop and its sociable common area that plays an assortment of tunes throughout the evening made the weekend a memorable experience.
If you’re after something a little less budget and a little more je ne sais quoi then Mama Shelter is the place for you. I stayed here earlier in the year when I was in Paris for the half marathon and whilst it’s not a cheap option, you do get a lot of bang for your buck. This hotel is stylish and not for the faint of heart; the bar sounded like it was open 24 hours a day playing an assortment of house and techno and the rooms came equipped with iMacs, Batman masks and quite possibly the comfiest beds I’ve ever slept on. The late night pizza bar also does an excellent job of curing midnight munchies and it’s close proximity to Cimetière du Père Lachaise, meaning you can visit the burial sites of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde. Once you’ve explored the cemetery, you can also check out Souffle Continu which is a record store dealing in anything noisy from metal to post-rock and even experimental jazz.
Now you’ve got somewhere to sleep, the next thing to think about is what you’re going to do. Paris is a great city for just wandering around, most of the sights are centrally located, so make sure you have a comfy pair of shoes, as you’re going to be doing a lot of walking. Paris is the epicentre of all things art-related and in terms of galleries you have (in my opinion) the 3 biggies: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Musée de l’Orangerie. To be perfectly honest, unless you have hours to spare, then the Louvre is just too overwhelming to pop into for a quick run around. Of course if you’ve never been before, you’ll probably want to check out the Mona Lisa. For me, Paris is about an Impressionism overload, which is why I cannot recommend d’Orsay and l’Orangerie enough, the collection of Monet’s waterlilies in the latter is simply breathtaking. Centre Pompidou is also worth a visit for it’s world renowned exhibitions or at least a look at its architectural brilliance.
If, however, you’re after something a little more unusual, then it might be worth checking out the Catacombs and Sewer Museum. Both are situated in dank, dark underground conditions and provide an unusual but interesting insight to the Parisian underworld. The Catacombs are on the morbid side with its vast collection of bones, but it’s probably one of the most interesting ways to kill a couple of hours, but make sure you arrive early to avoid the long queues.
A trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower, whether you go up in the evening or during the day, the views are impressive and always worth the wait. It was only recently that the tower was actually used as an enormous drum kit in a composition by US composer Joseph Bertolozzi marking the tower’s 125th anniversary, pretty neat, right?
Once you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, it’s nice to take some time to wonder aimlessly and check out a few shops. Le Marais is a beautiful area, full of colourful characters and unique boutiques. It’s also a great place to sample delicious food from falafel at Chez Hanna to traditional French cuisine at Petit Fer a Cheval. Check out Lucky Records, a 20 year old music store specialising in pop with a distinct love for Madonna and the many concept / fashion shops that are scattered all over the place. After a hop, skip and a jump past Notre Dame and over the river you’ll find yourself on the Left Bank aka a book lovers dream. You must check out the famous English bookshop Shakespeare and Company and for any beauty lovers out there the City Pharma on Rue du Four offers the very best of French skincare at the lowest prices in the city.
Now it’s time to explore Paris by night. The noise, the lights and the assortment of people make this an exciting experience. There are so many different places to go with something to suit everyone’s tastes. First of all, grab a burger at Blends and check out Cafe des Deux Moulins, the bar made famous in Amelie. You can either stay in Monmartre for a night of cabaret or you can head back into town for something a little more grungy. I had a great night out at the heavy metal bar Le Petit Garage followed by a few drinks into the retro L’Orange Mecanique across the road and finishing the night in Le Klub. If however you’re into something a little more mainstream, then it’s worth checking out either Le Pompon for indie and electro pop tunes or Au Cafe de Paris for it’s beautiful belle époque interior and basement venue.
So there you have my whistle stop guide to Paris. Whether you’re there for a romanic getaway, a trip with friends or to check out a summer festival there is always a ton of activities to keep you busy! Walking around is the best way to get a feel for the city and don’t forget to pick up a box of macaroons from Laduree for the train journey home.
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