Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home in Paris

What do YOU do your 1st day in Paris?
It could be anywhere you love to visit really...
Do you rent a Velib and go cruising around town?
What makes you feel immediatement at home in a place you've visited before? A stop at your favorite patisserie per chance, like SECCO? Do you plan on cooking a meal (if you rented an apartment) and go off to your favorite marche? Buy a few fleurs for your room, say at La Nom de la Rose, even if you're staying in a hotel..? GO SHOE SHOPPING! Or browse in a wine shop..?
Do you get all sportive and need to take a jog in the Luxembourg Jardin to feel homie?
How about buying a bunch of French magazines at a presse kiosk even though your French is rather rusty or non-existent?
Then you head for your favorite cafe where they even remember you from the last time, like Le Select...
Must-haves = box of macarons!
Some French chocolate!
Bread or those cookies by Poilane bien sur.
A quickie run into a department store to catch up on the latest tendances/trends like Le Bon Marche?
Do you take a Metro or a mini tour on a Paris bus like the No.95 that goes everywhere you want to go..?
Do you stand in the rue studying the ardoise/menus pretending you're going to eat there..?
Did you book a table ahead at your favorite resto?

Is visiting the Eiffel Tower an absolute must-see for you first day?

Do you also keep an eye out for something special to bring home to remember your trip?
My 1st day in Paris, I try to pretend it's my last day so I can remember to appreciate every single nano second of it. But usually I forget. I get caught up in the visual buffet and forget to remember until it is The Last Day...
Do tell me what YOU do 1st day in Paris.


  1. A café crème is always a first *must* upon arrival, followed usually by some low-key activity. The Rodin Musee is a nice first-day stop. Not to taxing, and the cafe in the garden is a nice quiet place for lunch. (and oui ~ I do pick up flowers for my room) Then it is a petite nap followed by dinner near the hotel, early to bed to get on schedule.

  2. I arm myself with my camera and hit the streets taking loads of photos and ultimately end up having a coffee in a cute street cafe and finding macarons and croissants...mmmmmm

  3. I grab my camera and a croissant and jump right in the deep end! I just wander the streets and breathe in this wonderful city. I save the Musee D'Orsay and the Eiffel Tower for later. (But if I get there on a Saturday.... I head off to the flea market south of the city!)

  4. Easy! Grab camera and take the metro, or walk, to the fabric quarter at Montmatre where I stock up on perle cotton at Tissus Reine, look at their fabrics and then the African batiks in the fabric shop opposite. Walk to La Vraie Paris up the road and have their saumon au tartre for lunch and then hit the streets.

  5. When I get first in Paris
    1. I take the Roissy bus to my destination
    2. I have a cafe creme ASAP with suitcase and all near Opera
    3. I stop at the bakery and buy 1/2 baguette
    4. I go to butcher across of street and buy some butter and ham
    5. I eat a jambon beurre for breakfast
    6. I go to kiosque/newstand and buy Parisscope to see what plays/movies/exhibits have opened
    7. I go to an other cafe and have an expresso while reading Pariscope
    8. I make a hairdresser appointment
    9. I go to market for fresh food
    10. I go to Monoprix for other necessities
    11. I buy flowers near Madeleine
    12. I buy some wine at Nicolas
    13. I go home and send an email to my friends: I have arrived and it is wonderful so they get all envious
    14 I open the windows
    15. I empty my suitcase and put away the stuff I brought from States, mostly ziploc bags
    16. I take shower and go for walk
    17. I go see a small museum or exhibit
    18. I take a nap
    19. I call a friend
    20. I go out to dinner with friend on my street and I have the best 1/2 pizza with Arugula salad.

  6. A taxi ride from CDG to our hotel in the 6th, Au Manoir Saint Germain (right across the street from Cafe de Flore and next door to Brasserie Lipp)then a quick wash and change of clothes and out onto the street. A walk up Rue Bonaparte to the Seine then right to Notre Dame, back across the Seine to Shakespeare & Co for yet another copy of "Notre Dame de Paris" (with the shop stamp, of course!), a stop at Laduree for boxes of you know what, pick up some magazines and newspapers at the presse kiosk outside of la Hune, some bottles of wine from the basement of Monoprix on rue de Rennes, drop off everything at the hotel, then walk past Sonia Rykiel's and cross the street to our favorite spot for dinner, Le Bizuth.

  7. I'll tell you when I head there again next year. Cute post. I have a huge list of what I'm planning to do, but as for what I do, I'll keep you posted.

  8. Oh Carol, that macaron painting is out of this world beautiful, not to speak of the visual feast of your photos and the fun of reading your Paris dreams .... I am homesick, yet I have never been there. I wonder why. ;-)

  9. We will be there in 4 weeks...and this time we arrive on a Sunday morning so the first thing we will do is head to the market on Raspail and stock up on fruit etc for our room...then over to the tower so we really know we are back.

  10. I just came back! So I definitely vote the jardin and then shopping. Followed by decadent pastry, nothing could feel more like Paris!

  11. Wow, it's like you're all answering a question of mine.

    In October, I'm arriving in Paris (after the red-eye) at 8:25 am. I can drop off my bags but what to do until 2:00 pm. Won't I be utterly exhausted.

    Christiane, what a day. Will you have enough hands for all that?

    Very nice suggestions.

  12. Annabelle9:10 AM

    Oooh, since you brought up the subject of renting an apartment in Paris, do you have any hints for finding a colocation in Paris for six weeks while a person looks for something more permanent? Those short stay apartments are très cher.


  13. @Clare
    I'd love to try that out!
    never went to Tissue Reine but dreamed many times of doing so..
    merci for the suggestion!
    I LOVE all of your suggestions!
    Busily scribbling notes..

    For long-termish apartments try Viterbo and do it as far ahead as possible

  14. As soon as we checked in and dropped off our luggage in our room, my husband and I walked to the Eiffel Tower from our hotel on Rue Bonaparte. It was so close by, the obvious presented itself!

  15. I arrive in Paris….
    and I listen, it feels good to hear the everyday French language of my childhood,

    Le “Bonjour Madame” claimed loud and clear at the bakery by the “patronne “… behind the counter.

    Le “ et ce sera quoi pour vous madame “ du garcon a la terasse du cafe, moving rapidly in between the table, long white apron, tray in hand and shaking the change in his pocket….
    Or …”attention ma Ptit’ dame” said rapidly by the delivery guy or the sanitation guy….

    This mixted with the smell of coffee, bread and gauloise…... really makes me really feel at home.

  16. Elizabeth10:03 AM

    I do buy a ton of French magazines to read...but, and this is so dull, mostly I sleep - but then my flights are much longer than most people's.


  17. Anonymous10:07 AM

    I took a leisurely stroll through Pere Lachaise cemetery. It might sound morbid at first but it is such a beautiful place and tends to put things into perspective. Then I purchased some pastry which I had at my hotel and napped as by the time I arrived it was 3am my time. The walk in the sun helped me to adjust as well.
    Cheers, Stephan

  18. First I open all the windows and let the Paris in. But I don't feel like a french girl until I lay out my makeup, creams, and perfumes and personal beauty items in the bathroom. Then I head to the market to stock up some things for my apartment refrigator. Then I walk walk walk walk

  19. Last weekend I finally stopped into Angelina's for their famous hot chocolate and the Mont Blanc. Amazingly delicious! Everytime I'm in Paris I always seem to start my jouney near the Eiffel Tower of the Arc de Triomphe and spend my whole day wandering around and making my way to Notre Dame and having dinner in the area. Then I hop on the Metro and make my way back to the Trocadero to watch the Eiffel Tower light up. Then it's back to the hotel to rest my feet and have a good sleep before getting up to spend another exciting day in Paris! LOVE IT!!

  20. Walk along the Seine to the George V for a massage.

    Christine Hueber

  21. As soon as I am able to visit Paris again - I will make my first visit to the Île Saint-Louis to just walk, breathe in, observe & savor. I would like to walk each of its streets and peek in every shop - sit in a cafe and stroll along the quais. I found this small corner of Paris totally captivating and long to go back.

  22. Both the flowers and the Eiffel Tower...

  23. Somehow, it's usually the Champs-Élysées. The first time was spectacular because we popped out of the metro and there was the Arc de Triomphe all lit up in its glory. An unforgettable travel moment!

  24. First stop is for a cafe creme at Cafe Danton, then walk to Monoprix on rue de Rennes (or rue de shoe as I like to call it) and then back to my hotel to see if my room is ready. The rest of the day is spent shopping and eating. Is there anything else?????

  25. I always take a look at the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadéro. Always. Then and espresso from Café Kéber or a glass of wine.

  26. I haven't been to Paris in two years! All these suggestions are telling me I have to schedule another trip soon!


  28. Oh, this made me sad we won't be going this year...DH and I drop our bags at the hotel and make a beeline to the Seine to take a walk then eventually stop for un verre du vin rouge and then hop the metro to an area we've never been before and explore!

  29. Tomorrow I fly to Paris for the first time. So, I'll have to get back to you on that. :-)

  30. what a deelight these last posts all the way back to the givenchy sketch. still in recovery from my past three weeks. oh and i love mary's fish camp. i would have skipped the ice cream and just ordered everything on the menu at mary's! at this point feel i should just runaway from home and live in your blog!

    yes for me, on arrival, just get out on those rues and cueillir des impressions!

    there used to be an old yves simon song:

    maman on va cueillir des paquerettes
    au pays des merveilles de juliette.....

    that could be paris for me

  31. Visual buffet is right! That's what you do best with your photos!
    I love that department store stairway shot!
    (And the chocolate tarts :)

  32. Fabulous question Carol. Love everyone's answers...what's up with me never having had a cafe creme in Paris. What do you do? I have to say first off I pinch myself, because still after 3 times I am amazed that I can call Paris "mine" as everyone who dreams of drinking her in from afar makes room in their heart for "her" once they meet her. I noticed my tendency has been the Latin Quartier for some cheap eats, stroll to Notre Dame, over the Seine to Ile St. Louis and Berthillon raspberry sorbet while watching the Seine and still pinching myself that I am in Paris.

  33. I am usually a zombie since they cut out daytime flights to Paris .. grrr ... I stay near St Suplice so am over at Cafe de la Marie sucking up coffee ... I know you hang out there a lot, I see the streets in your pics .. Au Nom de la Rose is right there ... usually it's just get through the day and get to bed. Ah, your photos make me want to leave my desk and run for the airport. Love them

  34. Anonymous3:56 PM

    I love reading everybody's "firsts". As for me, I take the RER B into Paris - Luxembourg Gardens station and walk a few blocks to my son's small rental apartments. After dropping off my luggage and a quick shower, I hit the streets. First, for a cafe creme and then a genuine bowl of French Onion Soup, considered by the French, to be their "get well soup". It's my insurance policy so I stay healthy during my visit. Then it's time to walk, walk, walk, breath some fresh air and soak up the sunshine. I love the Luxembourg Gardens for this activity. It's always beautiful and a great place to people watch. I usually find my way to the children's play area..... what a delightful scene, children climbing, running, and having fun. When the Mother's begin gathering their little ones for home I too head back to the apartments. On the way I usually stop for a few fresh vegetables, a baguette, some cheese, a bottle of wine, and a lovely pastry or two for breakfast. Next time, I'll add some flowers to grace the table. After dinner it's early to bed to be ready for the next day's adventures.

  35. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Even before I check in to my hotel, I go directly to Rue Buci and have a kir and croque monsieur and take in the street; then I buy pastries and cheese and a bottle of wine... walk to the Jardin du Luxembourg -- stopping on the way to make a dinner reservation at La Tourelle, then I sit and eat the pastries and cheese. When I am refreshed, buy a small bouquet of flowers -- sweet peas, if I can find them -- and I go find my hotel. After I've unpacked, I go out and walk around the block--to locate the nearest Monoprix, wine merchant, cafes, and patisseries. If there is time before dinner, I walk down to the Seine and walk out to the pointy end of Ile de la Cite and watch evening come along... all the time whilst walking, I am watching for my first glimpse of La Tour E... and smelling the street smells and admiring all the beautiful and stylish people... Ah... Paris!

    Before I leave, I *always* visit the Parc Monceau, the food hall at Au Bon Marche (for the wonderful yoghurt that comes in little terracotta pots), the courtyard of the Palais Royale, the Orangerie, the Beaubourg, the glass ceiling of Galleries Lafayette, Pere Lachaise, Musee de Cluny, and I find a new place that I haven't been to before... and I always have steak tartare, macarons, a salade frissee au lardons, oeufs meurette, frites from a street vendor, a different cheese every day and, en fin -- the last thing I do -- is have a glass of champagne... and whisper .."a bientot..."

  36. I usually arrive very early in the morning, so I always try to grab a cafe au lait and pain au chocolat with my mom. Mmm. Nothing like it! Then we head to a museum (not a big, busy one, something small, like the Cluny). Ahhh. Now I have to stop and make an espresso and take a mini vacation!

  37. I would go immédiatement for Le- Petit- Dejeuner "A La Francaise" at "Boulangerie Kayser" on Rue Monge. café creme avec jus d'orange, un croissant et une tartine. I would sit outside on a lovely rattan chair facing out, so that I could view the beautiful old Eglise St Nicolas du Chardonnet - aah! I'm in Paris!!!

  38. Anonymous8:39 PM

    Reading all those comments is like travelling again in Paris which I miss terribly. First thing I do in Paris is Jardin du Luxembourg watching the children play and soaking up the sun.Find a bistrot have pate et champagne. miammm. Get some sleep so that I am ready for the next day.

  39. Fortunately, the flight is long - long enough to read all these suggestions! I'm going to need them when I go to Paris. BTW Iheard on NPR that Paris is the most popular tourist destination in the WORLD!

  40. Stephen ... totally with you ... Pere Lachaise is def a wonderful, very special place in Paris. But it's a lot of walking first day with no sleep. Love the Pere !!!

  41. .. Oh Carol ... this was a brilliant post, I loved reading everybody else's comments, and took notes ... GREAT IDEA ... thank you

  42. What a pretty painting your box of macarons~ one of my favorites. So fresh and delightful.

    Barbara from the Mojave~

  43. First order of business in Paris is a cup of chocolat chaud at angelinas, where i can relax and people watch.
    I would kill for a cup right now!! its been three years since my last one :(

  44. Great post! All those images were spectacular...ecspecially those PINK SHOES!
    If I had my way, it would be to take a cruise on the Seine, stroll down to a marche and grab something from the boulangerie. The boulangerie is probably the main thing that makes me realize, "Waouh je suis à Paris encore"

  45. Anonymous1:52 AM

    The answer to your question is, all of the above. All at once if possible! As I sit here eating my branflakes here in SE England before setting off to work, I am taken to Paris. My breakfast is transformed to a delicate pastry with a steaming cafe noire. I am there, can't wait to hit the streets.......thank you for a few blissful moments!

  46. My first day in Paris is spend rather jet-lagged, a fuzzy trip to the local grocer to stock up the kitchen...A walk along the curvy streets, picking up a baguette, camembert and some wine...And relaxing!

  47. Flying to Paris in mid-November, first time in some years!! Thank you for this post with your suggestions and also those from the comments. I'll be staying near Luxembourg Gardens and now have so many great ideas for what to do on the first day in such a fabulous city.

  48. Hi Carol, when I got to Paris the first time, squeezed me to know that it was a dream ... Then I sat down for coffee and fell in love glamor of its markets, shops, streets and the Eiffel Tower !!!!! And I love macarrons!!! A kiss, and thanks again for showing me the wonderful Paris! Gloria.

  49. Correction: our hotel was the Hotel La Bourdonnais on Avenue de la Bourdonnais and it was walking distance to the Tower.

  50. 1. Drop bags (avoiding feet if possible).
    2. Rummage for change.
    3. Buy Le Monde, Maire Claire Maison or Elle Decoration, and Pariscope.
    4. Order 'une noisette', kick back and unabashedly people-watch.

    Thank heavens it's only a TGV ride away. And then there's Barcelona...

  51. We just got back a few weeks ago and your post makes me want to return tout suite....this time, we had a friend with us who had never been to Paris, so the minute we got off the Eurostar, we dropped off our stuff at our hotel and hit the streets. We wandered under the Tour, had lunch on Rue Cler and got on a Bateau Parisien so she could see a bit of everything. We sped thru Notre Dame, shopped on the Champs and had a bistro dinner before putting her back on the train to London. Not my normal first day, but it was great fun!

  52. We were in Paris for 10 glorious
    nights in June and I was suspended ecstasy. When we first arrive, I always must reconnect with my very favorite bakery, Laduree, have a
    cappucino and some divine patisserie.
    Then I walk down Rue St. Honore happy to looking in all the windows and snapping pictures as much as possible.
    Then, depending upon what time we had
    arrived, I'll rest a bit, my husband always likes his early drink of wine and some snack, and we're ready to sit in the bar at George V, enjoy the people watching and the very attentive service, and then head to Chez Andre nearby for dinner, and enjoy having filet of sole endlessly for a week perfectly prepared everywhere we go. J'adore la vie de Paris. We'll return there
    in May, 2011 for five days - not really enough for me, but I'm very
    grateful that we're going back at all. I think my husband really fell
    in love with Paris in a way that I've waited to have happen for years. He booked next year's trip within days of returning home, so I
    think we're on the right track for the future.

  53. I really love your conception of the parisianism.

    It such a great pleasure to see your point of view of the capitale.

    When i see your pics i realize the lucky to me, to study at la sorbonne in paris and i'll live in this town normally in september!

    congrats for your talent of painting"! it's really beautiful!!!


  54. Anonymous9:17 AM

    I enjoyed reading all the answers here about firsts !!!
    Café crème comes TOP1 !!!

    Now my turn to ask YOU a question :
    After your many stays, what is your favourite season/time in Paris?


  55. We try to stay awake all day, starting with a great meal. Once that was "catered" by a dear friend who had arrived a week before my wife and I. It was a memorable meal, provided by local stores and markets, along with two dense molds of Bertillon ice cream. Another time we lunched at Le Fleur de l'Ile with a beautiful view of the back of Notre Dame. That time, while others napped after lunch, my then-15-year-old daughter and I walked through the Marais, but she wouldn't stop to hear the musicians in an arcade of the Place des Vosges.
    She and I also took in the magic show on Rue st.-Paul. We don't expect too much on the first day, mostly a great meal or two and lots of walking. I think my favorite memory of a first day was the time we just had to take a nap after unpacking and then found that a favorite restaurant, Aux Charpentiers, was not serving between lunch and dinner. We then passed another restaurant, Cote Bergamote, where we were welcomed even though they appeared to be on break. That herb-themed restaurant serves delicious food, including herb-infused wines. Delighted with our meal, we strolled the neighborhood and then enjoyed seeing an American film with French subtitles. That's always interesting! We made the same restaurant the final stop of that trip, and we always love going back there.

  56. Anonymous8:18 PM

    I would like to exchange links with your site parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com
    Is this possible?

  57. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Your blog is very charmant. I lived in Paris for several years, working. When I get back (not for work), I actually like to stay in the hotel the first morning, because in Paris my wife becomes even more beautiful than she already is. We open the door to the balcony to let in the morning air and sounds of the street; get room service and tell the world in a whisper: "mes jours sont plus beaux que vos nuits." Lunch at the marche du Ternes, a walk to parc Monceau, tea time at Marriage Freres close to Place des Ternes, a concert at Salle Pleyel, late sea food dinner at brasserie La Lorraine.

    This corner of the 17th and 8th is beautiful, not marketed to tourists, and full of lovely places, parcs, museums...


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