Never to return to Paris without a boyfriend, husband or something inbetween.
At the time, although I enjoyed the romantic ambiance of the city, I couldn’t help but find it a little depressing (read previous entry about the city: May Day in Paris). But I discovered something important this year, having revisited the city of love as a woman, and not an impressionable girl:
You really CAN survive Paris single.
Here are some activities to help you through it:
French Afternoon Tea
Dragging a man to join you for afternoon tea can be an impossible task anyways. Tea is definitely a chic thing. The French take on England’s “High Tea”, includes rich savory flavors (soft cheeses and figs) and light, sweet sensations (rose essence, creme fraiche). No scones in sight, however, but you may get bite-sized servings of quiche.
I personally can spend hours at tea, and when sitting on the famous Champs-Elysees, in the ornate building of Laduree, you really don’t feel the time go by. (Photo: The “Ispahan” is a signature dessert at Laduree).
Day trip to Versailles
I only recommend this if you can go during the week, when it’s neither very hot or very cold, and during the tourist off-season. If you follow these strict directives, then you will have a lovely time admiring the colourful art and careful detail of the palais. You could also pick up treats (there is even a Laduree on site) and sit for a picnic on the lawn of the site’s extensive gardens.
If you don’t heed my advice, get ready to share the experience with 1,000 of your closest “friends”.
Price information: free for Europeans and foreigners registered in Europe (students, employees, etc) under 26 years of age. A $25 ticket will give you access to the chateau, its gardens and a (reasonably pathetic) “musical fountain” show.
The heated terrasses of the many restaurants that line Rue Cler are another sit-and-chat hotspot. You can dine comfortably until 10:30pm, and people watch until the new day begins. Conveniently located à deux pas from the Eiffel Tower (7th arrondisement, metro Ecole Militaire) the area is great to stroll around as well, although surprisingly quiet. A Parisian friend and member of the city’s fête-set recommends Tribeca. In my personal opinion, this is a typical French Bistro with reasonable value-for-money. But it is ALWAYS PACKED, so maybe it’s just cooler than the rest.
These delectable treats get their own entry. Of course no French tea would be complete without a serving of their most popular sweet snack. But if you really are miserable about being single in the city of love, forget drowning your sorrows in ice cream. Macarons have got you covered. No one makes them better than Mr. Pierre Herme, French pastry chef and owner of a boutique chain of these treats around the city under his own name. Herme was also a former chef at Laduree, mentioned above.
Fun fact: Mc Donalds has even adapted their Mc Cafe menu to include the bite-sized sweets…
Additional note: if you go to the Pierre Herme shop in the Opera area of Paris (metro Opera), then you can also enjoy a walk around this beautiful building. The surrounding area is also fantastic, more charming than romantic, I promise.