Study Abroad in Paris: 5 Tips (pt. 2)
Something like 17,000 students journey each year to study abroad in Paris. We asked Californian, Ariana Mozafari my lovely research assistant who worked on my book Paris Cocktails (release date 9/8/15) how to make the most of your time studying in Paris. Miss Mozafari is studying, living and working part-time in Paris for the next two years. She has perfected her French, found a terrific apartment (more on that in her next post) and even a Parisian boyfriend, who better to give fellow students tips on how to study abroad in Paris than Ari?
1. Befriend someone with a Vespa. One of the most fabulous memories a girl can brag about is clutching onto the back of a French man while riding past a sparkling Eiffel Tower at midnight. And if you’ve tried and tried again to find that trusty man with a scooter and have been denied, rent a Vélib’ (Paris’ cheap bike share system) and ride around the city yourself. Some tips while riding through the city:
a. Snapchatting your Vespa/Vélib’ experience is possible. I can attest to this, but watch watch where you are going please!
b. Brace yourself while riding through the Etoile, which circles the Arche de Triomphe. Even expert drivers/bicyclists start to sweat in this busy roundabout.
2. Take advantage of the open-air markets. You’ll find ancient treasures at flea markets and the most orange-yolked eggs at open-air food markets. Make your abroad experience exciting by enjoying meals using the best of the best ingredients that pop up in weekly neighborhood markets all over the city.
a. Marché des Enfants Rouge: Located in the 3rd arrondissement, this market is known to be one of the most beautiful and historic marketplaces of Paris. This market is open every day except Monday.
b. Marché Mouffetard: A marketplace located on the narrow cobble stoned Rue Mouffetard, this market is filled with fresh and organic groceries on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings.
3. Follow the tourist’s path. Some of the most famous architecture, museums, and landmarks of the world are located in Paris for a reason: they’re magnificent. Also, if you’re a student studying abroad in Paris, always carry your visa or student card around with you when you’re visiting tourist spots: you’ll be happy to find that France is very accommodating in providing free or reduced admission to students.
a. You have to visit the Louvre just to see some of the world’s most famous works, but many visitors to Paris prefer the Orsay. This museum is less overwhelming and houses equally famous modern works from Monet to Van Gogh.
b. The view from atop the Arc de Triomphe is a spectacular sight of all of Paris. You’ll get some of the best shots of your trip from up here.
4. Step off the tourist’s path. At the same time, Paris is so much more than rose macaroons at Ladurée or picnics by the Eiffel Tower. Paris thrives with culture, from night soirées under bridges by the Seine to intimate (but free) exhibit openings that showcase up-and-coming artists. It’s important to seek out where the locals go, because there, you’ll get a taste of unadulterated French culture.
a. Check out some of the speakeasy bars that are harder to find in Paris: La Conserverie and Moonshiner are two of my favorite clandestine spots.
b. Pointe-Éphémère is one of my favorite low-key spots of Paris, located on the graffiti-d banks of Canal Saint-Martin. It’s a constantly changing atmosphere; for example, the last time I visited, the venue included a used bookstore, a secondhand clothing shop, and a gallery showing in addition to the Thai restaurant and café.
5. Enjoy an afternoon apéro. Invite some friends and enjoy the simple pleasures of good food, wine, and company, the key elements that unlock that French secret to a happy and simple lifestyle.
a. Canal Saint-Martin is the kingdom of picnicking hipsters. If you want to seem like you’re in the know, spread out your picnic essentials by the banks of this République canal.
b. If you’ve already done the quintessential Seine picnic, check out another one of my favorite canals: Canal de l’Ourcq in the 19th As this canal flows towards the outskirts of Paris, you’ll find more open spaces and trees to set the scene for your apéro.
Relish each day in the City of Light, you’ll miss it when you’ve gone.
Vélib – How To’s
Marché des Enfants Rouge
Ariana Mozafari is the founder and editor of Paris Chic, a blog for Parisian travelers who dream of more than pink macaroons and Eiffel Tower selfies.