Studies show that people who take part in extra-curricular activities are better problem-solvers and more creative. So, throughout the year we’ll be sharing what we like to do in our spare time.
Digital content strategist Vivian Kwong talks about her weekend trip to Paris and all the sightseeing she did.
Last month, I took my first trip to Europe and it was incredible. Six perfect days in Biarritz, a small seaside town on the Basque coast, and then, a weekend in Paris. I travelled alone and stayed with friends, so I got to experience both places with local guides!
Leaving Biarritz on Friday morning was tough. I was leaving behind 30°C weather and sunny, clear skies. That little seaside town will always have the best beaches, the best waves, and the most breathtaking sunsets.
A short plane ride later though, I landed in Paris and was instantly distracted by the bustle of the city. A quick freshen-up in my friend’s apartment and then we were off. My friend lived in Paris for most of his life, so he took me on a very efficient walking tour of all the touristy areas of the city.
We hit all the major attractions in one go: Pont des Arts, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame – never staying more than five minutes at each location. I was happy to quickly check them off my list, so I could spend the rest of my weekend experiencing the city.
After lunch at La Comete (BEST razor clam appetizer), we picked up wine and cheese and headed back to the apartment with every intention of venturing out again. Instead, we stuffed our faces with cheese and bantered all night.
The next day I woke up energized and ready to explore more of the city. I spent most of the day getting lost in Le Marais – a trendy area known of its shopping and historical architecture. Without knowing any more French than Bonjour and J’aimerais avoir un verre de vin, I managed to negotiate an outfit for 40% off!
Later on, my friend brought me to Le Zerda Café, a Mediterranean spot in the 3rd arr. Odd choice I thought, but I never should have doubted him! We ordered the most delicious bottle of red and had couscous with lamb and vegetable stew. That night, we met with his best friends from university and danced the night away. We stayed out late (or early) enough to make me super grateful for Toronto’s 2 a.m. liquor regulations.
The next day was a lazy Sunday. I slowly rolled out of bed and wandered to Maison Landemaine. It was rainy, so I sat by the window with my espresso and people watched until late afternoon.
Since my friend was working at night, I had dinner with one of his university friends at A. Noste. (I was in San Sebastián a few days earlier and really missed the tapas.) It was a calmer night than the one I had before, but it wasn’t without good live music, a colourfully-layered cocktail a bartender crafted – it mirrored the French flag – and seeing a group of rats fighting it out on the street!
After an unforgettable weekend, I stayed two more days in Paris. I boarded my flight home on Tuesday tanned, filled to the brim with pastries, and eager for my next adventure in Europe.