36h in Paris on the cheap (and on a Sunday!)

Paris has a reputation for being super boring on Sundays because *everything* is closed. However, if you know where to go, you can actually have an incredibly lovely time. I was recently there on a 36hr layover and created this guide for anyone wanting to spend a Sunday in my favorite city: Paris.

Disclaimer: If you’re looking to do the typical touristy stuff in Paris, this post is not going to be useful at all. I used to live in Paris, so it’s been decades since I have visited any tourist site other than a museum.

The best neighborhood on Sunday is Le Marais which was traditionally the Jewish quarter has special permits to operate on Sundays given that a lot of the shops close on Friday afternoons and remain closed on Saturday.

6 am: land at CDG

I was coming from the US, so I arrived at CDG painfully early. In fact, my flight arrived 45 minutes early which put me on the ground by 6 am. Thanks to my EU passport and strict “no checked bags” policy, I was out by 6:15. Knowing that no hotel would let me check in this early, I tried to waste as much time as possible in getting into the city.

The cheapest and IMHO most efficient way to get to the city is by taking advantage of Paris’ great public transportation system. When exiting your gate, follow the signs for the RER.

Once you’ve reached the Sheraton, grab a mandatory croissant at Paul, and head down the two flights of escalators where you will find RATP ticket purchasing machines. A ticket to Paris will set you back 10.50€ (I think you save a few cents if you buy a two-way fare… but then you have to make sure you don’t lose your return ticket.)

Follow the signs to Paris and hop on the train – you are on the RER line B. Depending on where you are staying, you may want switch over to the metro. I hate changing from the RER to the Metro in Chatelet, so I chose to walk the rest of the way.

7:30 am: check-in

I decided to stay in one of my favorite neighborhoods: Le Maris. I found a great little boutique hotel which is in a fantastic location, at a great price, and with impressively good service.

Hotel Jacques de Molay – http://www.hotelmolay.fr/en/

I got there obnoxiously early and as to be expected, my room wasn’t ready. But the staff was incredibly nice and immediately made me a coffee to help fight jet lag. I recharged my phone and rested for a while.

10 am: Un p’tit (huge) brunch

If I were a brunch, I would be Paperboy’s “Le Healthy” it’s basically all the things I love in the world.
You first get a basket of carbs along with delicious butter, salted caramel, and homemade peanut butter as well as a custom juice and coffee or tea.

Then come the oeufs a la coque and the accompanying avo toast with a salad.

I had been traveling for 10 hours before I got here, refusing to eat airplane food, and even so, I was unable to eat the whole breakfast all by myself.

11:30 am: un peu de shopping

For shopping, try La Rue des Francs Bourgeois which has everything from traditional French boutiques, to European chain stores like Sandro and Women’s Secret, to the beloved Japanese exports: Muji and Uniqlo.

2pm: Lunch

I wasn’t quite hungry just yet, but a dear friend recommended Minzon. I went in there and everything looked and smelled incredible. This is on the top of my list of things to try next time I am in Paris. It had a line out the door (always a good sign) which seemed to be moving quickly.

Alternatively, you could go by the Marché Couvert Des Enfants Rouges at 39 Rue de Bretagne and pick up a baguette tradition, some cheese, and fruit and head to the little park across the street for a picnic.

3 pm: walk

Get lost in the alleys around le Marais, walk into the hidden courtyards and public gardens.

You could also go to the Centre Pompidou and take a look at some of the craziest modern art exhibits around. If you want to avoid the droves of tourists but still see cool art, check out the Hôtel de Ville for temporary exhibits that might suit your interests.

5 pm: tea time

Ok, this one may be touristy, but I love tea, so I try to stop by Mariage Frères for some tea and a snack.

8 pm: Dinner

A visit to Paris is not complete without some crêpes. Head to Breizh Cafe for some oysters, savory crêpes (galetes), dessert crêpes, wine, or cider. The place is cozy, modern, and very reasonably priced.
If you can, make a reservation, otherwise budget 20-30 minutes to stand in line depending on the time of day and size of your party.

10 pm: crash

I returned to my hotel where, upon seeing me return freezing and wet from the rain, the receptionist made me some peppermint tea and sent me off for a good night’s sleep. Who said Parisians aren’t nice?!!!

8 am: Wake up

Find a bakery – any bakery – grab a croissant or a pain au chocolat and head back to the RER to get on your way to the airport. In my case, the 45 min ride to the airport is a chance to reflect on how thankful I was to get to spend in the city I was once lucky enough to call home 💟

What’s the value of social media?

A couple of nights ago I joined a few friends for an after dinner drink on the rooftop. One of them informed me that he had just joined twitter and concluded that it was nothing but a waste of time. A 45 minute debate began. Here are some of the things I took from that debate.

People waste *a lot* of time on social media, yes. But is there actual value to it?

As for most things in my life, I like to apply the law of diminishing marginal utility. I believe that consuming social media up to the point in which you are getting the most for how much time you put to it can yield great benefits. Spending any more time than that, would result counterproductive.

I will not get into whether looking at pictures of your new born niece, or knowing what your friends are doing at any given time adds more value than the time you “waste” on it. It is too subjective, but here are some examples in which I have personally benefited from devoting <140 characters to my social networks.

Customer service: I have found myself in a pinch trying to find something specific at a grocery store. So, instead of going from store to store looking for it, or calling and trying to navigate through the touch tone menu I generally just tweet at them. @wholefoodsATX is notably the best responder. Many times they have answered my questions instantly (including the isle number in which I can find a product) and even offered to buy me a breakfast taco when I tweeted that a bird outside the store attempted to steal the one I was holding away. (I love Whole Foods!)

Recently I was on an American Airlines flight DFW-MEX and 45 minutes before landing we were told that we had to return to DFW do to problems with the navigation system which would impede us from landing in MEX. It caused a total delay of about 4 hours. I [somewhat] jokingly sent the following tweet:

A few days later I was informed that 4,000 miles would be added to my account. Score!

Networking: One of the arguments the person I was debating with brought up was that no one can have 500+ “real friends” so Facebook is really just a popularity contest. I see Facebook as a directory of my connections. A way to easily find people I have met in the past, and although I do not necessarily try to keep an active conversation with them, I know that they would help if I ever traveled to their city, for example. Inversely, I am more than happy to provide information to them.

Recently I expressed interest in moving to San Francisco in my status message. Immediately, people I had not talked to in a long time who live in the bay area leaped to my aid. They offered to send my resume around and to give me advise on places to live, restaurants, etc…

I could provide a million other example in which social media has brought value to my life, but it would make this post so long that it would immediately diminish the utility you are (hopefully) getting from reading it! My conclusion is: Social Media is as useful as you want it to be. When committing to creating an account on a platform ask yourself what you want to gain from it. The quality of information is dependent on who you follow and how you use it.

Finally, I asked my followers in which way SM enriches their life, here are some of the responses:

@lizwinks I’ve meet an incredible number of really wonderful people that I never would have known without it, and now enjoy new friends.

@lizwinks – Massive amounts of information with very little effort.

@lizwinks It allows are widely diverse population to interact and communicate directly in ways never before possible.