Friends in Town: How to Spend a Day in Paris

It feels strange to say that this weekend, some friends from California were “in town,” as if Paris, with all its aura and majesty, is just a “town” that people casually enter and exit. I suppose it has kinda reached that status for me, it’s just the place I live now.

Nevertheless, I was super excited to show them around, and wanted to make sure they had the best, least gimmicky experience possible.  You can use this as a very rough itinerary for your own travel plans to Paris, because I think its a pretty good, non-overwhelming day.

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Montmartre – Fête des Vendanges

Did you know that there’s a small vineyard in Paris? It’s in the most charming quartier of Paris (in my opinion), Montmartre.

Every October, the grapes are harvested, and while they’re at it, they throw a big party for an entire weekend. I decided to check it out on a whim, and found it to be so worth the crowds and the hike up the hill! Tons of food stands are set up around Sacré Coeur selling artesianal cheese, dozens of types of sausage, all varieties of regional wines, and even some ethnic food. My friends and I bought a HUGE bottle of homemade Sangria for 5 euro, which we split among ourselves, and I enjoyed a sausage in a baguette topped with grilled onions and peppers. We found a nice little spot on the steps in front of the basilica, ate our delicious meal, and then watched the firework show! I think it’s so great that drinking a few glasses of wine “in the streets” is perfectly acceptable here, it makes having a great time with friends that much easier.

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Montmartre & the Salvador Dalí Museum

Montmartre used to be a village on the outskirts of Paris, but as the city grew, this charming, hilly, cobble-stoned area was eventually integrated into Paris. “Back in the day,” so to speak, starving artists and bohemians frequented this area. At the base of the Montmartre hill lies the famous Moulin Rouge and Pigalle, the red light district of Paris.

Lucky for me, the metro line I live close to takes me directly to Montmartre! I surfaced from the metro at Abbesses (TAKE THE ELEVATOR UP – I made the mistake of using the stairs, and I think I hiked up about 10 floors-worth of stairs) and the first thing I saw was a vintage clothing store. I immediately went inside to see what they offered, and was extremely happy to see dresses priced at 10 euros and skirts at 5! I didn’t end up buying anything, but I will definitely return someday.

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