Travel

Slow Travel In Paris: A First Attempt At Slow Travel

05.26.17

Slow travel in Paris - Jessica Rose Williams

My fifth time in Paris but this time it was different – there was no itinerary and no specific plan. I was attempting Slow Travel for the first time. Slow Travel is basically throwing the guide book out of the window, ditching the jam packed itinerary and taking a slower pace to really enjoy the details of a place.

This was a first for me and being the itinerary maniac I am (think Monica from FRIENDS), it felt very strange. In an attempt to simplify my travels and apply a little minimalism, I’m trying to spend less time researching and planning. It can be really time consuming, not to mention expensive, when you’re cramming as much in as possible.

It’s actually quite exhausting with too much structure and you often miss those spontaneous moments that are the most memorable. I have this idea that leisurely wandering around and seeing where the day takes me is a better, more relaxing and enjoyable option. So, off we went to Paris for two nights travelling light as always and without an itinerary.

PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN EIFFEL TOWER
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN FLOWER MARKET
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN BIR HAKEIM BRIDGE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN CAFE KITSUNE
Cafe Kitsune, my favourite cafe. I’ve visited here the last three times I’ve been to Paris.
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN CAFE KITSUNE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN PALAIS ROYAL
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN MONTMARTRE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN MONTMARTRE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN MONTMARTRE
In my case, it turns out there is a big problem with not having an itinerary – I thought I had time to do it all! 30,000 steps later on our first day, I was left with a very disgruntled travel buddy and very sore feet. So, no itinerary at all isn’t for me. I think I’m better with a little structure to keep me reigned in and I’ll try that next time. Turning myself into a slow traveller is going to be a work in progress. Something tells me the journey will be fun though.
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN MUSEE D'ORSAY CLOCK
Did you spot the Sacre Couer peaking through the clock? The view is worth the climb to the fifth floor of the Musee D’Orsay (get there early, head straight to the fifth floor and work your way backwards to avoid the crowds – spoken like a true introvert!)
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN PONT ALEXANDRE IIIGetting up early is a must in Paris – it’s the best time of day. I stuck to my usual routine and set my alarm for 6am Paris time. The two mornings were my favourite part of the trip. Watching Paris wake up is really something – especially for us people watchers. Find a cafe with space outside, sit back and just enjoy the view.
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN CROISSANT
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN PARISIAN DOG
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN PLACE SAINT SULPICE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN LOUVRE
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN ILE SAINT LOUIS
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
The Jardin Du Luxembourg was another morning stop. It felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN JARDIN DU LUXEMBOURG
PARIS WITHOUT A PLAN L'ECLAIR DE GENIE

Highlights

– Jardin du Luxembourg – my favourite park in Paris. Grab a croissant and a coffee from a local bakery (keep an eye on where the Parisians are coming from) and get there early for the perfect breakfast picnic
– Place Saint Sulpice – one of my favourite spots in Paris. It’s not too touristy and you’re within walking distance of all the best boutique stores and patisseries
– Palais Royale – a quiet haven right in the middle of the city and a people watching gold mine
– Staying in Saint Germain. This is the 6th arrondissement of Paris and it is by far my favourite. Everything felt like it was in easy reach

Low-lights

– Montmartre – it takes a pretty picture but I felt a shift in this part of Paris on this trip. It had a certain seediness to it, which I didn’t like. I wouldn’t rush to go back to this part again
– I found the city quite busy in May. There were a lot more tourists than when I came off-peak

Food and Drink

– Pierre Herme – the home of the best macarons (yes, better than Laduree) I pre bought my dessert here one day, always thinking ahead!
– L’eclair de genie – the home of the best eclairs I’ve ever tasted
– Cafe Kitsune – my favourite cafe. I’ve visited the last three times I’ve been to Paris and it’s still the smoothest coffee I’ve found yet. Sit outside a while and enjoy the beautiful Palais Royal
– Huguette – a restaurant we stumbled upon in Saint Germain. It wasn’t the cheapest, but the food was worth it and it’s another great people watching spot. Despite specialising in seafood, they put a delicious vegetarian dish together for me

Where we stayed

http://www.mayet.com This was a good little find via www.iescape.com a website I find myself using more and more. They specialise in small boutique hotels which I prefer over the bigger hotels. I also find their reviews very honest.

What I packed from my capsule wardrobe

– White button down shirt
– Black skinny jeans
– Black trousers
– Trainers
– Ballet flats
– Black trench coat
– Striped tee
– Long sleeve grey tee
– Large black bag
– Small black cross body bag

All photos were taken on my Canon 6d camera with a 50mm 1.8 lens.

If there’s anything else you wanted to know – just leave it in the comments below or get in touch via the contact page. I always reply.

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27 comments on “Slow Travel In Paris: A First Attempt At Slow Travel”

  1. You make me want yo visit paris again. Beautiful photography. Im in awe of your minimalist packing. I always feel under real Pressure packing for paris because everyone is so chic. But it seems a minimalist wardrobe is tres chic by default! Great post x

    1. Aw, thank you Georgie! I know exactly what you mean about pressure, they are the chicest bunch you’ll find aren’t they?! Having the right clothes in your wardrobe really helps with packing and less is definitely more. I wore most of that list to the airport ha ha.

  2. Gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing. I almost feel as though I’d been to Paris. For not having an itinerary, it looks like you covered a lot of territory. I love how you recommend what to do and see. Maybe you should become a travel advisor 😉

    1. You’re very welcome. The idea was to try and keep it to a minimum and aim for a few photos but I got carried away ha ha. I do love my photos, especially when I’m away. It’s when I feel most inspired. So glad you enjoyed the post. I am always available for travel tips! Great idea.

  3. Great write up jess, i definitely wouldnt be able to do the no itinerary thing either! but i always try to make time to get lost. youre photos are so beautiful! and i’m making a note of all those cafes for the next time we are on that side of the world xx

    1. Thank you Jen. I’m glad I tried it but it’s just not for me. I’m liking your ‘scheduled’ getting lost time ha ha. They are all good ones I assure you. You’ll love them. I’ll be picking your brain for some Australia recommendations very soon! x

  4. Thank you Jen. I’m glad I tried it but it’s just not for me. I’m liking your ‘scheduled’ getting lost time ha ha. They are all good ones I assure you. You’ll love them. I’ll be picking your brain for some Australia recommendations very soon! x

  5. Aw you look like you had an awesome trip! Beaut post! Im applying minimal packing strategy for my upcoming trip to Greece so I hope it worKs out! Being freNch and no matter How many years i have lIved in sheffield, France will always have my heart and i miss it terribly! France has a spiRit unlike anywhere else, un petit je ne sais qUoi as we say x

    1. Had a wonderful time thank you Allana! Paris never lets me down. I’ve been PRACTISING my french with my duolingo app and I was more confident than ever this time. I wish I could speak fluently. I envy your bilingual skills. Greece will be a good one. Hot climates are the easiest. Where abouts are you off to? I really fancy mykonos – a friend went and loved it. Let me know if you struggle with packing. I’m happy to help out.

  6. Beautiful post Jess! All of your photos are so stunning. For someone without a plan you managed to fit so much in! But yes I think a good balance of scheduled things to do and free time always works well! Especially if you put your free time near the end of the trip so you can go back and do anything you may have noticed once you’ve arrived and wandered around a bit! Love that you’ve included the things that you didn’t like, but such a shame montMartre was no good. It was so beautiful when I went 3 years ago. Did you walk up behind the Basilica? Because I know everything in front of it is really touristy and a bit scammy.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I think because i’d been before I just wanted to revisit all the old spots ha ha so I set off on a mission. I love MonTmartre and last time I was there, it was lovely, this time it just felt different. I don’t like being negative but thought I’d be honest. We walked behind the church and made our way back round via the steps. I made a huge mistake in having a drink in the really touristy square and got charged 7 euros for milky water DISGUISED as coffee. I don’t think that helped my experience but I should’ve known better. I was all walked out by that point and desperate for a coffee fix.

  7. What a fantastic post, JESSICA! Your pictures captured Paris the way I imagine it to be. So, thank You! When I travel and depending on the length of the trip, I usually have between 3-5 things that I really plan and the rest is just discovering a place, just like you DId. What a beautiful CITY! I really miss Europe and home. Thanks again for sharing. It made my day! X

    1. Hi Joy! Great to hear from you. I think you have the perfect idea there. I’m going to try that next time. So it’s a case of some research – but not too much. All about balance I guess like most things. Thank you for that. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post x

    1. Thank you Britt! Minimalism has really boosted my creativity so I’ve finally had the time and head space I wanted to focus on photography (something I love). Hearing you thought the photos were wonderful and beautiful honestly made my day 🙂

    1. Been trying really hard lately to figure out what my photography style is. It was only after minimalism came along that I finally started taking it seriously. I’d always wanted to but never got round to it. I do love relaxing images so it means a lot that you got that from these. Thank you!

  8. Looks amazing jessica, love the cheeky poochie shot, i must show My hubby who has always said he Doesnt fancey paris, believe it or not! Im sure this will change his mind. Im slowley transforming my wardrbe im determind to travel light on my next trip in four weeks to scotland

    1. I do love to pooch watch as well as people watch ha ha. That little guy was the cutest thing. He came along as I was eating my croissant and I quickly reached for the camera, couldn’t resist him. That’s great news about your wardrobe! Look forward to hearing how your trip to scotland goes. Not an easy one to pack for with the weather. Anything I can do to help, let me know. You know where to find me on Facebook or Instagram.

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