Ok, not an original answer, but the sentiment still stands.
When Anja of Ever the Nomad introduced herself in my inbox recently as a professional travel writer, she had my full attention. (Didn’t hurt that the first sentence of her email also said that I did “amazing work.” Yes, flattery does work).
Before responding to her request for a guest post, I did what any reasonable person in this day and age does: I googled her.
The drooling soon began. Anja has written guide books for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, articles for Time Out and Travel + Leisure. Since I started following her on Twitter, she’s hopped from London to New York to a sea-view pool villa in Thailand.
Once I stopped daydreaming (not sure I’ve stopped, actually), I realized how pretty darn cool it was that she wanted some Paris insights from little old me.
As a confirmed cheapskate and with the coming of spring, I found one subject the most natural to write about: places to frolic for free. And since it’s exactly four years ago this month that I fell in love (literally) with Paris + a boy, it was time for a little nostalgia. The 19th was my first home in the City of Light, so I have plenty of favorite nooks in that humble, but humming arrondissement.
Please find below a few sites I mentioned in the guest post, then follow the link if you want the full story. Enjoy!
P.S. I’ve taken a bit of a revised position now. Travel writer would be awesome. But someone paying me to “hang out” in Paris and write up the results could be the real prize.
So, friends: Do you read any such job in my future?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *• The side streets off Rue de Mouzaïa beckon with a rows of adorable bungalows. Wisteria creeps up brick houses, brightly-painted doors hide behind latched gates. Wander small passages with grand names, like Villa de la Renaissance or Villa de Progrès. (The three pillars of the French republic, in fact – Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité – all meet at one street corner here).
Best explored during the day, this area feels like stumbling into a storybook world of secret gardens. Check out Aux Petits Jouers or Les Mères Veilleuses for music and conviviality afterwards, if you’re still around at night. (Metro: Pré St-Gervais)• Buttes Chaumont is one of the most gorgeous parks in Paris, yet it’s rarely given its due. From the Sybil temple perched high atop a cliff to hidden grottoes and gushing waterfalls, this park is at once dramatic and relaxed. Unlike the many manicured parks in Paris, Buttes Chaumont seems more rugged and untamed.
It may not appear on tourist maps, but Buttes Chaumont is no secret to Parisians. Expect lots of locals strolling around the lake or spread out on the green (another advantage over other Paris parks where usually you can’t sit on the grass!). Café/club Rosa Bonheur at the top of the park turns into a hipster hangout at night. (Metro: Buttes Chaumont, Laumière)• Nearby Parc de la Villette also lets you grace the lawns. Flat and modern, it’s nothing like the hilly wonder of Buttes Chaumont, but it boasts interesting multidisciplinary complexes like the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and offers several of the summer’s best events. Villette Sonique presents big-names and up-and-coming indie acts while the outdoor movie series draws crowds with its wonderful selection of free films.
You’re as likely to spot people practicing capoiera as playing the guitar at the Villette. You may stumble into a soccer game, an African drum circle, or a Brazilian batacuda. There’s no getting that in the Jardin de Tuilieries! (Metro: Porte de Pantin, Porte de la Villette)