Hello my loves.
How are you?
Ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean with me?
I will divide the post in two (Part 1 and Part 2) to talk about the land of croissant, wine, baguette, Napoleon, fashion, “savoir vivre”, “uh la la” and, of course, the Eiffel Tower.
We are going to France, specifically to Paris.
“Attention ladies and gentlemen. Last call for Flight SIS 291, bound for Paris. Immediate boarding through the SIS gate.“
Capital of France, Paris is the most visited city in the world, with approximately 30 million visitors per year, as well as being one of the most important cities in world history and one of the symbols of French culture.
Curiosity: Did you know that Paris did not always have that name? Long time ago, a people called Parisios lived in the region that, after Roman domination, was renamed Lutetia Parisiorum.
Wow, SIS, how smart you are !!!…
Let’s start with the trickiest part: money!
When a country joins the European Union, it can choose to keep its own currency (such as Denmark and Sweden) or enter the Euro Zone, which is the set of EU countries that have adopted the Euro as the single currency. France has opted for the latter, making the Euro the only currency used in France (and they do not accept payment in other currencies, nor need to insist…).
If your reference currency is the Dollar, know that 1 Euro is equivalent to approximately 1.16 Dollars (1.00 € = US $ 1.16).
I do not buy a chip for my mobile in Paris because I use a beautiful portable Wi-Fi device called Travel Wi-Fi. You can rent this gadget, which fits in your pocket, and use anywhere in Europe (or the world!).
Just enter the website, select the number of days and your destination (which can be France or anywhere else in the world).
After selecting the destination, you will need to choose from the types of plans available. If you are member of a Facebook group about traveling, make sure it has some discount package with Travel Wi-Fi. I follow the Conexão Paris and they provide a special code for 10% off some offers.
Simulating a 5-day trip only through France, you will have the following options:
The France Starter plan, with 500Mb per day, battery with duration of 6h/8h and speed 4G, is for 32,50 € (6,50 € per day). This plan is ideal for those who travel alone and has low internet consumption and is equivalent to US$ 37,70 for the 5 days.
The France Premium + plan, with unlimited daily usage, battery life of 8h/10h, speed 4G and available at Paris airports, is for € 42.50 (€ 8.50 per day). This plan is ideal for group travel or high internet consumption and is equivalent to US$ 49,30 for the 5 days.
The price seems expensive, but I already to stayed in Paris for 5 days and my mobile billing reached R$ 800,00 (US$ 213,33)…and I did not even have a good quality signal! With Travel Wi-Fi I had 100% guaranteed signal during all days of travel (even when the Wi-Fi of the places was available, my device was faster and safer)!
Everyone I know complains that the French are rude…I have to disagree and I will explain the reason:
In France there is one of the largest Portuguese communities outside Portugal. Arab culture also has a major influence on the whole Europe, especially there, in addition to the large number of Chinese tourists who land in Paris every day. If the French give up on speaking their own language to adapt to others, perhaps French culture will not be the same. Of course the tourist attractions should always have someone who speaks at least English, but, if it has not, do not have to despair!
SIS’ Tip: Learn the magic words in the local language so you will not be rude!
Of course, the French, especially the Parisians, are not as “warm” as the Brazilians. They do not like touches and hugs like us, they are more literal and slightly sarcastic, but they are very dear, fun and good people.
From what we know of French gastronomy, we know that French people love breads and that butter is a key ingredient in many dishes, but do not see that as a negative point.
The ingredients in France are different from everything we know here in Brazil and olhar countries. Here I feel heavy, stuffed and my digestion takes horrors, because we use many industrialized ingredients and lots of chemistry. There the ingredients are all natural, fresh and with much less chemical.
Here I do not eat much cheese, because it seems that my liver hates me when I think about it. There I can eat the more yellow cheese that appears in front of me (but I do not abuse, ok? You can rest easy, Dr. Arnaldo …).
And you think eating in Paris will be very expensive? So come with me, because I will give you tips of super delicious places to eat well and spend less.
You may think it’s an expensive place as it’s located right on the Champs-Elysees Avenue, but at Pizza Pino you find dishes far more than many neighborhood restaurants (which should be cheaper). And best of all: the quality is wonderful.
The menu has traditional Italian dishes and costs, on average, € 15 to € 25 (from US$ 17,40 to US$ 29,00).
Usually, a two person meal, with 2 main courses and 2 drinks, is around € 50 (US$ 58,00).
I was talking to the waiter and I apologized for my French because I am still only a student of the language and I am out of practice. He said it had no problem and asked where I was from…when I said Brazil, I turned the attraction among the waiters, because they started talking about Neymar! (The restaurant is very close to the Paris Saint Germain Store.)
I told them that I’m not much of Neymar’s fan (do not hate me, please !!!), I like him as a person and I think he’s nice, but I think he only plays when he wants and he throws himself too much on the floor to do drama (…who am I to judge, right?…).
The waiters began to question me, thinking I am crazy, for sure! When I finished explaining, one of them started laughing at me and calling me Neymar. Result: I can not even imagine what his name is, but he’s super cute, fun and calls me Neymar and I call him Neymar!
SIS’ Tip: A lot of people complain about the service there and, really, some Pizza Pino staff are extremely rude. It is a lottery to find a friendly waiter there, but it is not impossível.
Close to the Esplanade des Invalides is the Le Recrutement Café – Restaurant, an extremely cozy place with a very homely and delicious food.
With varied dishes and prices between € 12 and € 25 (US$ 13,92 – US$ 29,00), there you will eat very well and have an experience of a true Parisian, because it is not a typical place for tourists and because it is located in the central region, so you can feel a bit of the rhythm of the French day-by-day.
In Paris you will not need a car for anything! The city has Metropolitain (subway) and RER (train) to all sides, plus bus, Funicular, Tramway and taxi.
I recommend that you arrive in Paris and go to the nearest station to do a Paris Pass or a Passe Navigo, which work as follows:
With Paris Pass you can use unlimited public transport in Paris, as well as free entry (or with discount) in more than 60 tourist attractions and monuments of the city. With prices from € 25.85 (for 1 day) to € 67.40 (for 5 days) (US$ 30,24 – US$ 78,86), you can use all public transportation from Zones 1 to 6 (which reaches more distant places, such as airports, Disneyland and Versailles).
With the Passe Navigo, which is a kind of Parisian Metrocard (weekly or monthly pass), you can use unlimited public transport from Zones 1 to 5 (which also arrives at airports, Disneyland and Versailles). You will only need to take a 3×4 photo. With prices between € 22.80 (per week) and € 75.20 (per month) (US$ 26,68 – US$ 87,98) you can get around the whole city as a real parisian.
SIS’ Tip: If you want to get to know many of the more traditional museums and tourist attractions, I recommend the Paris Pass because of the discount or free entrance in these places, but if you intend to stay in the city for more than 3 days, I recommend the Passe Navigo, because, although it does not give right to discount or free entrance, it ends up being more economical for longer stays.
WHERE TO STAY
I have a very special affection for the Hotel Warwick in Paris and whenever I go to the city I try to stay there because they make me feel at home.
Super well located, on a cross of the Champs-Elysées Avenue, with the George V subway station very close, in this hotel you will be close to absolutely everything and will be treated with a lot of hospitality.
The hotel has several rooms of various sizes and prices, so I’m sure you’ll find the right price for the kind of experience you’re looking for.
With the best breakfast I’ve ever had (I’m not exaggerating!), You will not even need to have lunch before 2PM as they provide a super full breakfast for all kinds of palates that will keep you satisfied for a long time.
The first time I stayed there, I had seen a review on a website and emailed them, questioning if what I had read was true. They assured me it was not and I ventured. Good thing I took a chance because it was the best experience of my life in hotels around the world and they won me as a loyal customer.
This time, my mom sent them an email asking for a room on a good floor with a nice view as we were celebrating my graduation. They were so wonderful that they gave me a tasty little souvenir when I arrived: a letter congratulating me and a basket of fruits! They did not even know I’m kind of a fruit bat and can not see a fruit in front of me because I already want it…
If you want to stay at Warwick, make sure you already have your reservation on the site and enjoy all the comfort they will offer you.
Department store with several different brands and prices for all budgets.
It has a very nice restaurant and has a ceiling that looks like a work of art, so you can enjoy the ceiling and the stained glass roof while you eat. One downside of the restaurant is that it is a little pricey but is worth it.
The largest and most traditional department store in Paris and undoubtedly the most adored by tourists.
There, in addition to shopping and eating, you can stroll along the souvenir walk or climb to the rooftop terrace to enjoy the view of the area (which is wonderful!).
But I think what attracts most tourists is its huge dome which was classified as a French historical monument. In an Art-Nouveau style, the dome is visible from the ground floor to the top floor and delights everyone.
Les Quatre Temps
One of the most important shopping centers in Paris, Les 4 Temps is usually the most visited.
This is due to the fact that it is a giant mall (unlike Printemps and Lafayette, which are galleries).
There you will find stores that are more cheaper than those in the galleries, besides the most varied types of shops.
In terms of shopping, I recommend Les 4 Temps because, despite being in a location a bit further away (it is in La Défense, which is not a tourist district), you will find everything you want.
Wow, so much information, SIS!
I know, that is why I decided to split the content in two posts, so do not miss the Part 2 because it is full of surprises for you and I show you the touristic attractions (some not so touristic too) that you can not miss when you go to over there!
Proof reader: Thaís
Translater: Bianca and Alexandra