Anyone who visits Paris will come away with a favorite café (yes, they are really everywhere), a favorite monument, neighborhood or restaurant. Because Paris has many different, diverse neighborhoods, there really is something for everyone! While there are no right answers, my favorite has always been the windy, quirky pedestrian streets of the Village Montmartre. Famous as Paris’ art district, the streets here have been walked by almost all of Paris’ artists; architects and painters alike from all of Europe’s corners have congregated here and there is still an air of creativity, diversity, and of course, art all around. The Moulin Rouge and the neighboring Pigalle bring a different crowd and perception to this area, and there are certainly storefronts and streets that should be avoided by PG-seeking tourists in the evenings, but this does not affect the rest of this arrondissement.
For us, we spent our first day sitting at a sidewalk café; drinking beer and trying some Onion Soup. Bistros do not serve French Onion Soup in France; just Onion Soup or soupe d’oignon. The soup was wonderful on a brisk fall day with fading sunshine. On the weekend the streets were filled with locals and tourists enjoying the views, the people watching, good food and conversation. We wandered the streets in the evening looking for good restaurants that did not offer pictures on the menu (just a travel tip!), lounged on park benches and drank beer in the local Pub while listening to Robbie Williams. We tried Belgian micro-brews that we could not have even found on the other side of the pond. Here you will find my heart in Paris. Here, you will find me in Paris. But, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone, and it definitely doesn’t mean the rest of Paris is any less worthy of your attention. The next day we walked the entire city, over 12 miles, in horribly uncomfortable shoes (well maybe that was just me) … but it’s worth it and if you bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes; I suggest you do the same.