I think about the €2 bottles of wine every day 😢🍷
After spending a big chunk of my early twenties stuck in quarantine because of the pandemic, I was eager to get out of Toronto and explore a new city in the summer of 2021.
That’s why when I managed to score a few weeks off, I jumped at the first affordable round-trip tickets to Europe that I could find, and my first stop was Paris.
After spending more than a week in the City of Love, here are all the things that made me fall in love with the city of Paris.
"Hidden" speakeasy in Paris🤫🍸✨ #speakeasy #speakeasybar #paris
Although Toronto has a few dreamy speakeasy bars, the ones in Paris definitely take the win. I managed to hit up two different speakeasy bars in Paris, and both blew me away in terms of their decor, coziness, drinks and atmosphere.
I went to a speakeasy called Lavomatic, which looked like a laundromat from the outside, but one of the washers opened up and revealed a stairway to a cozy bar with a sweet view of Paris.
My friend and I each indulged in two drinks, and although our bill came to a whopping €45, I would pay it all over again for that Negroni. The seating situation at the bar, which consisted of pillows on the ground and swings, was probably my favourite thing about it all.
Another speakeasy that I managed to hit up was called L’Epicier, except this one looked like an Arab grocery store.
The speakeasies in Paris are serious about their themes.
The cafe culture
Admittedly, very few things beat sipping an overpriced oat latte and reading a book on a lazy Sunday at a trendy Toronto cafe.
But I managed to find the one thing that does; spending an afternoon sitting on the heated terrace of a Paris cafe, drinking a vin chaud and people-watching until the sunsets.
Doing all the touristy things can be fun, but lounging around at a cafe gives you a taste of Parisian life. In a city like Paris where so much is going on around you, it can be quite endearing to slow down and take a peek at the lives of the people who live there.
Museums and art galleries
Yes, the AGO and ROM are great, but nothing really compares to the Louvre and Centre Pompidou. Although the Mona Lisa was a little underwhelming to see in person, The Winged Victory of Samothrace and the rest of the Louvre made up for it.
I will say, if you want to see the Centre Pompidou, you’ll have to carve out a big chunk of your day because the line to get in can take hours.
I’ll be honest; I didn’t think I would find anything in the thrift stores of Paris that I couldn’t find in Toronto's Kensington Market. That was until I found myself at my 11th Parisian thrift store, spending the last of my "buy yourself something nice" budget. And it was only Day Two of my trip.
My favourite shop had to be the Kilo Shop, where the price of each item was based on how much it weighed — a concept I have yet to see in Canada.
I wanted the get the whole Parisian experience, which meant indulging in some good food at Paris’ classic restaurants — ones that Toronto simply can't match.
One of my favourites was the highly acclaimed restaurant called Le Verre Volé, which is known for its wide selection of natural wine and hearty French food.
We started with the French classic escargot, followed by what might have been the best lamb I have ever had. We, of course, washed everything down with a bottle of natural wine, which still had bits of grape skin floating around.
Although I will say, if you want to go here, you will have to reserve a spot well in advance because this place is always booked and busy.
Paris has done a fantastic job of retaining its classic French architecture and not letting modern design take over its facades. It’s a nice break from Toronto, which looks more and more like NYC each year, with its skyscrapers and endless supply of grey condos.
Unlike Toronto, which doesn’t look much like it did 100 years ago, you can tell Paris has retained much of the charm afforded by its long history. The buildings are well-maintained but you can tell they haven't been meaningfully altered in many, many years.
It goes without saying that the French know what the hell they're doing when it comes to making a good croissant.
What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was how underwhelming every Canadian-made croissant would taste after having the ones from Paris’ boulangeries.
I may have eaten more croissants and baguettes than my body weight while I was there, and the only thing I regret is not eating more while I had the chance.
Although many things were better in Paris, the No. 1 thing I miss the most is the dirt-cheap wine. We were drinking €2 bottles of wine daily, which was right under CA$3! Toronto could never.
You would think the price would reflect in its taste, but nope, I did not come across a single crappy bottle of wine.
Tip: take your bottle opener with you because all bottles of wine in Paris — even the cheap ones — are corked.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.