Un Séjour à Paris - Layla's guest post

Layla Notre Dame.JPG

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 Layla from Nurture & Nest

She's a dollmaker, cat mother and ex-Art Historian. she lives in Hampshire in chaotic domesticity.

Tell me a few details about your trip to Paris...

I had been to Paris before but my most memorable stay was the year I lived there with my (then) boyfriend, who was studying there. I couldn't bear being in London at work whilst he was in Paris, so I gave up my good PR job, failed to aquire another in Paris and so ended up working in a pub to keep us fed! We stayed for one academic year and then returned to the UK.

Which arrondissement did you stay in?

We stayed in The Marais, It is very central, very atmospheric and has really interesting shops and eateries.

Where's your favourite place to eat in Paris?

Le Relais de l'Entrecote. All steak, all the time. Not very fashionable maybe, but a Parisian institution.

Where was your favourite place in Paris?

I love the architecture of the Place Des Vosges, great place to hang out on a sunny day. I am really into medieval things so would also recommend the Musee De Cluny.

What was your most-used French phrase while you were there?

Unmentionable (I did work in a bar!) Touche Pas!

What are your top tips for a first-time visitor to Paris?

The metro is very convenient and no problem for anyone used to the London Underground, but to really experience the smells and sights of Paris you need to walk as much as possible! Get up early and grab a breakfast coffee and croissant at a bistro bar. Don't be afraid to get off the beaten track.

Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?

When you are there a long time, working, you forget to go and do the tourist things, but there are so many great little museums and sights I still haven't seen!

What surprised you most about Paris?

It has a very specific smell. I found it quite safe, especially in comparison to living in London, although I would not recommend the night buses in either city. I think I was most surprised to discover that French people are much better behaved at gigs than English people, and that Menthe A L'Eau (Mint Squash) was a totally acceptable adult drink on a night out. I am from the "Ladette" pint-drinking girls generation so I was a bit non plussed by that one.

How has your trip to Paris influenced your creative process?

Quitting my job and living in Paris changed my life, and was definitely part of a journey I went on to find out who I wanted to be.

Any other awesome things to add?

Paris is a wonderful city, packed with history and interest. Every different arrondissement has its own character and each one has its own interesting monuments and must-see parts. Of course, the most famous attractions are well known, but don't be put off - The Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame are famous for a reason, they are awesome! If you have time, visit the big cemeteries like Père-Lachaise to see the amazing tombs of Paris' most famous residents, and the slightly less well known monuments such as the awe inspiring stained glass at Sainte Chapelle. I used to be obsessed with a bar in Bastille called Le Wax, but I believe that it is no longer open so I can't recommend that! Sad.

Thanks so much to Layla for being this week's guest blogger. Don't forget that you can see more of her work here.

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!