Un Séjour à Paris - Bethany Ramshaw guest post
Welcome to my Paris blog series, designed to help you plan the ultimate short getaway to Paris! Whether it was a flying visit on a school trip or a romantic mini-break, most people who visit Paris are here for only a short time. I want to find out what they loved, where they visited, and what they'd do differently. It'll give future travellers the perfect snapshot of a jaunt to Paris, warts-and-all!
Today's guest blogger is Bethany Ramshaw - you can find her on Instagram.
Bethany's a Geordie lass studying Animal Science in Nottingham, and heading to Angers next year to study abroad! She's a long-time Francophile and eager traveller, always trying to learn new things and meet new people.
Tell me a few details about your trip to Paris...
I've been on a few trips since, but my favourite trip to Paris was about two years ago; I was 18, and on a gap year from uni, and decided I wanted to go travelling for a month! I had a friend in Paris who offered me a place to sleep for a few days and a tour of some famous places when she wasn't in school, so I stayed with her for about 5 days in total.
Which arrondissement did you stay in?
Her house was actually just outside of Paris, in Champigny-Sur-Marne, maybe about 30 minutes from the centre by RER/metro. I've since stayed in the 20th arrondissement in a gorgeous AirBnB apartment (on the 4th floor, with no lift!), and I think it was a lot easier staying in Paris rather than the suburbs, but I wasn't going to turn down a 5 night free stay!
Where's your favourite place to eat in Paris?
Le Poulbot, Montmarte
Where was your favourite place in Paris?
Le Jardin du Luxembourg - I had read about it for so long, and finally getting there and seeing it when it was all in bloom was lovely! But I also love the area around the 14th arrondissement and Croulebarbe, where there are lots of lovely cafes and the streets are quite quiet.
What was your most-used French phrase while you were there?
"Bonjour!" Sounds silly, but my friend told me that it's very rude not to say hello and goodbye in France, no matter who you're talking to. I also used "je voudrais" and "pourriez-vous m'aider?". Oh, and "en carte, s'il vous plait" as I tried to make the most of the travel card I had!
What are your top tips for a first-time visitor to Paris?
My first advice would be don't try to walk the length and breadth of Paris. It sounds like a wonderful idea, but Paris is huge; you're going to get lost, your feet will get sore, and you'll end up having a rubbish time. You can get brilliant tickets on the Métro to take you from point A to B, and then you can walk around when you get there! I would also say maybe try to learn a little bit of French before you go, even if it's not much. It's amazing how much more friendly people are if you give it a go! And if you don't want to keep stopping at expensive cafes and things for lunch, or want to have food for on the go, supermarkets like Franprix and Carrefour are great; the food tends to be cheap, and even though it's maybe not the same as a meal from a 5-star French restaurant, it's still authentically French!
Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?
I would have planned more. The first time I went to Paris alone, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I ended up wasting time trying to decide where I should go and how to get there. The second time around I had a proper itinerary, and I got to see so much more of the city, and tick a lot more things off my list.
What surprised you most about Paris?
The Métros. The Métro system is amazing, but the stations themselves are like an entire underground civillisation - you can be in one for twenty minutes before you even get to your platform! And there are a lot of ticket options - you have to be very careful with which one you get.
Thanks so much to Bethany for being this week's guest blogger. Don't forget that you can see more of her work on Instagram.
I'm always on the lookout for Francophiles to contribute to the blog, so please do get in touch if you'd like to get involved!