Do Paris & Amsterdam FBF Style (Part 2)

 

This is a continuation of my work / vacation trip to Holland and Paris.  

 

Read Part 1 so you know what the hell I’m talking about in this post.

 

Here’s the Five Bag Fit report from from Paris:

Museums were off the table for me.  It’s summer, I want to be outside as much as possible.  Personal choice there.

Had I travelled with a friend or special someone, I would have reconsidered.  That stuff is better shared for sure.

So what’s doing outside in Paris?

First and foremost.  I established a beachhead at one of the centrally located Boulangeries (bakery).

This turned out to be critical.

Because you know what a person who drinks lots of coffee, beer, and water needs?  – Right, a bathroom.

 

I got to know the ladies working this place pretty well despite the language barrier. Good coffee, an excellent assortment of baked goods and sandwiches, plus easy access to the WC.

YELP reviews and Location: Click HERE

 

I locked up the bike outside this place and either walked or took the Metro where I needed.

Sitting and sipping drinks is a Paris super tradition.  This was incredibly evident with a plentitude of cafes offering outdoor seating on every block – most of them full up.

 

 

I thoroughly embraced this and spent quality time doing some sipping of my own while witnessing the Paris population do its weekday thing.

 

 

Next on the must do outside agenda is the Tower Eiffel (as it’s worded there).

 

 

There was a choice to be made at the entrance.  Take the elevator up or…….

 

 

Of course I took the stairs.  Good chance to get a little exercise and, as a technical person, check out the beautiful and functional steel architecture of the structure.

 

 

I’m mandating the Eiffel Tower as a MUST DO for all of you.

 

You’re not getting city views like this
anywhere else.

 

 

After the Eiffel, I learned something very important about Paris…

 

Public Drinking is allowed!

 

…Or it’s just not really policed.  I surmised that as long as you are not being sloppy / disorderly / blatantly douchey – no one really raises an eyebrow.

This is an important turning point for yours truly.  Throwing on a happy buzz during the day is one of life’s little treasures for me.

A couple adult beverages always elevates my mood and I become a little more animated (in a good way) . Not drunk mind you, just socially lubricated as they say.

Also, some of Western Europe’s easy, low alcohol beers (4.5% abv)  are available everywhere around the city for  €1.50…A good buzz on the cheap – even better.

 

Lots of little stores like this everywhere.
Beer, wine, water, easy food.
Did I say Beer?

 

With beverage in hand, I found a wonderful venue for the walking day drinker.

 

The Viaduc Des Arts

 

 

That’s right kids.  You are guessing right.  This is an old elevated railway line that has been converted to a public garden.

It’s awesome.  A total novelty to stroll through one of Paris’ finest neighborhoods one story up with beer in hand.

 

I was loopy with enthusiasm for this attraction.

 

Walk the whole thing.  It’s a mile or so total.  Totally worth the time investment and a nice respite from from the high energy at street level.

 

Many Parisians relax and read up here.
 Calm and tranquil for sure.

 

The whole walk terminates at lovely Paul Pernin Garden.

 

 

After a big walking day, get on the bike and take the winding Seine River route all the way back to camp.

You’ve got the time so take the long way.

 

Best part of following the river out of the city center.
Witnessing the house boat culture.

 

And just like on land, some neighborhoods are little less than others.
This is the absolute end of the riverfront path.

 

Another fun Paris tid bit was getting out of the touristy areas. Even though I am one (a tourist), I try to pretend I’m not and blend in.

 

HA HA! Blend in – Yeah right!
You shoulda seen me bottleneck the self checkout line with my one can of beer and no language skills.
(Duh Steve! Do you think all the display instructions are in French)

 

But, that was a fun experience and I had a nice chat with a local woman who took pity on my disorientation.

 

So yeah, I jumped on the Metro and hit up the neighborhood of Belleview.  This is out of the spectacle of what is popular in Paris.  But, still a vibrant, hip, and real neighborhood.

I loved it.

 

Plenty of refined graffiti and street art.

 

My favorite spot was this colorful pub / night club called Culture Rapide…

 

Kitschy as all hell and equally fun

 

Below is a good description of the place from The Culture Trip website.

 

With its abundance of artists, musicians, and actors, the 20th arrondissement is a veritable hotbed of creative endeavors. Whatever style you’re looking for, you’re bound to find it at Culture Rapide, which hosts performances every night of the week that range from stand-up comedy sets to poetry slams. The cheap drinks and convivial atmosphere make it one of the most welcoming bars in Paris. If you’re feeling brave, why not take the stage yourself at one of their regular Monday and Wednesday open mic nights?

 

Decals like this splatter across all the walls.

 

 

One of my favorites.

 

The last thing you need to do is mix it up with the people like you would at home.

Do you have a hobby or something you do regularly outside of work?

Book club? – Find a local one.

Gym? – See if you can do a free intro session.

Do you run?  Find a race or group run nearby.

For me it was yoga.

Yoga? WTF?  I’m on vacation.

No Yoga – this is the time to relax and drink.

Exactly – There had been too much indolence and boozing.

Can’t be a total slave to my vices for the entire trip!

Plus, I did want to get on some common ground with the locals and socialize.  Yoga is the perfect vehicle for that.

I did a class in Paris and Amsterdam as well.

Met some interesting people and totally sweat out a week’s worth of sloth.

 

Click HERE for Bikram Yoga in Paris
Click HERE for Bikram Yoga in Amsterdam

 

If Yoga ain’t your thing…… Then do your thing as long as you meet some folks.

 

So that was my trip.

Yeah, I hear you… This was a kinda photo dump for me to remember what happened.

But, the underlying agenda was to give you a few ideas and inspiration to think outside the box on vacation.

I loved my time abroad and would do it the same way again 🙂

 

Steve

 

 

 

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