A Parisian Bucket List (part 1)
**Preface** This post has been over a year in the making. It was originally going to be my second post on OuisiYes- however I decided to modify my bucket list- adding and subtracting things and eventually I came up with 54 things! I'm finally sharing it to showcase some ideas for things to do and see in Paris if you ever visit. In total I lived in Paris for 5 1/2 months and whilst this list isn't exhaustive of everything I have done- I ended up doing some more wonderful and exciting things- I hope that this list can act as a guide for anyone who finds themselves in the city of Love and Lights!
Parisian summer bucket list: Must see things and experiences to have
1. Go to the cinema on your own and watch a French film (with or without subtitles) maybe at Le Grand Rex.
I completed this task pretty quickly-I went to see a french film Photo de Famille last summer with my friend Jake. It wasn't subtitled but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could follow the story. This summer I realised that I really enjoy going to the cinema alone- this summer I saw 'Vita and Virginia' and Pedro Almodovar's new film 'Dolor y Gloria' (in Spanish with french subtitles so that kind of counts right?) alone at the cinema. I even did a tour of Le Grand Rex cinema and theatre during Les Journées du Patrimoines.
2. Visit the Louvre
The Louvre is an emblem of Paris- it is so huge that it's basically impossible to see it all in one go. I managed to see it in bitesized chunks last summer- once alone and once with my friend Jake. I still haven't seen everything there but I'm glad I went. I have to admit- I was a little underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa- of course it is amazing to see- but you can barely catch a glance due to the mass amount of tourists clamouring and even fighting to get to the front!
3. Go to Ile de Saint Louis and just walk around
A friend of mine told me to visit Ile Saint Louis, even though it is an "Island", you wouldn't know it. It is connected by four bridges- it has a beautiful view of Notre Dame- or what is left of it- and is filled with quaint antique stores.
4. Go to the Palais Garnier
Propelled by the legacy of the Phantom of the Opera- Palais Garner is a must see if you're into grandiose ceilings and haute architecture. For only 8€ for students, this is definitely a must see.
5. Have a picnic in the Jardin du Luxembourg
Now I half completed this one- whilst I didn't have a picnic in the park- I did lounge around the park with my friend Lizzy after a night out! It was still extremely pretty, despite being viewed through hungover eyes. I also took my parents there when they came to visit- which I can remember much more clearly!
6. Go for a run the Buttes Chamout park
Again this is a half completed task- I didn't go for a run in the park but I did spend a sunny summer Sunday sat in the park with my friend Bridie, winding down and reading books.
7. Find out where that Bar Amazonas is and go in it
This is one that I haven't yet completed- I've heard that the bar looks like the Amazonian jungle, filled with plants- hence the name. If I don't do it this summer- I'll definitely do it next time.
8. Buy a book from Shakespeare and Company
Shakespeare and Company is perhaps one of the biggest tourist traps in Paris- yet I still fell into it. It's an English language bookshop, in the heart of the Latin Quarter, facing Notre Dame. The bookstore is drenched in history and is extremely popular in the literary circuit. There is even a Shakespeare and Company Cafe adjacent. I found the store overwhelming, it is consistently busy- people sifting too and fro and the books are definitely on the pricey side. Nonetheless I did buy a second hand copy of Bridget Jones's Diary. For 6€ I know I'll definitely get round to reading it.
9. Wander around Le Marais
The Marais is an vibrant area- it reminded me of Manchester's Gay Village. It's very LGBTQ+ friendly, with lots of cafes, bars and restaurants-little rainbow emblems are omnipresent; it's one of my favourite parts of the city.
10. Go to Le Bal gallery
This was perhaps one of the most disappointing parts of this list. Le Bal is a exhibition space, with its focus on photography, cinema and visual arts. The current exhibition is on a photographer called Sigmar Polke. Personally it was a little far out for me, a little too niche. The space is quite small too- I would say only go if there's an exhibition that you really want to see- but again it is always nice to support local, independent art galleries.
11. Visit Le pavilion de Canaux- a café like a home
Before I moved to Paris I watched a mini series called 'Alice in Paris' which chronicles the life of a young girl Alice, who possesses a unique sense of taste and culinary expertise, as she moves to Paris. Across the two seasons she branches not only into food recommendations, but places and experiences- Pavillion de Canaux was one of them. It is a cafe which looks like a house- it functions as a co-working space too and it has a built in Tattoo Parlour. I visited a few weeks ago with my friend Matthew- it was a balmy September evening- perfect for sitting on the terrace and people watching.
12. Go to a Franglish class
I went to two Franglais class (a French- English language exchange) last summer. It was great to practise my French and it was a really good way to meet new people.
13. Try schwarts deli and/or Hanks burgers for a vegetarian burger treat
Schwartz is a deli that I have been meaning to try for a long time- but I've visited Hank Burger two times in the last two weeks! It is a completely vegan burger shop and they also have a Pizza shop too. Everything on the menu is vegan and there are two shops- one in the 5th and the other in the 18th. Ethical and delicious :)
14. Go thrift shopping in Le Marais- Kilo shop or Freepstar
The Marais has a lot of vintage and independent clothing stores- whilst I didn't buy anything the two times I went, you can definitely find a few hidden gems if you search for long enough.
15. Sit and watch the Tour Eiffel light up in person
On my last night in Paris last September , I went to see the Eiffel Tower with my friend Richard. It was truly magical standing underneath this iconic monument as it glittered for the whole of Paris to see.