Andrea Bunod is part of Everyday Women – and in a series during this summer, we are passing on the word to 24-year-old Parisienne for insights to the city of lights and love, and an honest take on being a young, plus-size woman.
I'm Andrea, a twenty-four-year-old French nurse who moved to Paris just over a year ago. I describe myself as a forever explorer, a food lover and an art lover, so those aspects of myself will obviously stand in my writing. I am also what society calls a plus-size woman.
Growing up as a tall plus-size teenager hasn't always been easy but I found through the years the way to make it my biggest strength. I've built my self-confidence through the way I like to dress up, how I listen to my desires and moods.
Through these posts, I'll try to present to you how I found my strength but also how I'm still learning every day to extend it.
As a new Parisian citizen, I have discovered the beautiful city of Paris, and here is my guide. Because besides all the *croissants" and the "baguettes", there is so much more to discover.
This city offers me a place to feel like myself, to discover new places every time I walk around and where I can lose track of time. That is exactly what I would like to deliver to you through this little Parisian guide: A mini route through Paris to continue getting to know yourself.
First of all, when I discover a city, I try to ask locals about their favourite places around the city and why they like those places. When I arrived in Paris, I asked my colleagues and my friends so I could secondly make a list of all the places I wanted to see by myself.
Writing this list allowed me to discover step by step the city regarding my hobbies, what I like and what inspires me.
- 1. Start your day at brunch/bakery spot “B.O.U.L.O.M": My favourite place to have very tasteful and diverse brunch on the weekends. Everything is homemade by a famous French chef! And it is also an amazing bakery.
I would like to start with my favourite Parisian neighbourhood: The "Marais" in the 3rd arrondissement.
Vintage clothes lovers, food lovers, street art lovers will all be delighted in this area. The neighbourhood is known for its artistic vibe and its many narrow streets with medieval courts (yes it is as beautiful as it sounds!). I like to take my breakfast there and walk through the streets with some music in my ears – at the moment, I like “I AM WOMAN” by Emmy Meli (this song always makes me feel fearless and dauntless!). I like to go around the vintage stores and the avant-garde stores.
Going to the many vintage stores in the area allows me to find unique pieces of clothes that would perfectly fit my really diverse wardrobe. Every piece of clothes that I own tells a story about me and that is one of the things I love the most about clothing.
- 2. Kilo Shop, 6th arrondissement: Do you need to find yourself some unique vintage clothes - and do you know that you can buy them by kilograms? I have the perfect place for you! An amazingly well-organized store with plus sized clothes and accessories (belts etc). 60% is sold by kilograms and 40% with tagged prices. The owners of the store offer an incredible diversity and quality. So it puts this store to the top of the best vintage stores in Paris.
- 3. Tucked Friperie, 12th arrondissement: A store that sells luxurious items (Kenzo, Versace etc) with large sizes and everything under 50 euros! It’s an amazing store!
Walking through the West, I like to go to the Louvre Museum, with its 16 kilometres of art galleries there is always something new to see and explore. I like to sit by the pharaonic jewellery to contemplate those magnificent art pieces of ancient civilization. After the pharaonic aisle I like to go into the French painters aisle, where I can admire some of the work of one of my favourite artists: Claude Monet. I usually sit for more than an hour in this aisle, there are so many paintings to keep discovering every time you go. I never see or feel the same thing each time I look at the Louvre's works of art. But I always leave this place with peace of heart.
- 4. Art Gallery “L'Atelier des Lumières”: My favourite cultural place in Paris: A warehouse where expositions change approximately every six months: Imagine an entire room (ceiling, floor and walls) enlightened by Salvador Dali’s paintings with the Pink Floyd’s songs playing in the room?!
After this artistic break, I like to go around the Eiffel Tower and sit in the Champ de Mars to read the book that I said I would be reading for so many months. This moment over there is a very peaceful one. You can sit almost everywhere in this park, it is gigantic. I usually sit in the park for a couple of hours.
It's already lunch time and I can't wait to find a nice "brasserie" to eat. In those restaurants you'll be able to have duck dishes, homemade french fries, salads, fish dishes and an amazing homemade dessert as a Paris-Brest. Most of the time, I try to eat something different every time I go downtown. I think that it allows me to perpetually travel to a new culture. In fact, Paris is known to be a multicultural city: In the same neighbourhood you can actually eat African food, Japanese food, Turkish food or similarly eat in a restaurant that mixes different cultures in the same meal.
- 5. Restaurant Riv'k: One of my favourite restaurants in Paris, their cuisine mixes Asian and Israelian cultures perfectly. It is absolutely amazing (if you go there, you need to try their fried burrata and their desert called "Brioche Perdue").
- 6. Restaurant “Poulet braisé": My inevitable spot for lunch break: affordable and so good! For less than 15 euros you can eat an amazingly cooked half chicken with rice, fried plantain and African sauces.
- 7. Delicatessen “La Grande Epicerie de Paris": You absolutely need to try this place if you come to Paris: It gathers so many stands presenting exceptional food, artisanal objects, wine and all of that in multicultural vibe. The main shop is in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
With a full stomach and a large smile, I continue walking downtown, still being careful around all the cyclists of the city (Yes Paris is a city where we try to use our bikes when we can).
The evening goes along and I call my friends so we can meet at the "Comédie Française", the most popular theatre of Paris (and the most beautiful, according to me). The theatre was built in 1680 by the French King Louis the 14th and still offers in our time the perfect place to keep exploring and developing French culture through the art of theatre. I remember first going to the Theatre when I was still a teenager and I never stopped being outstanded by the beauty of the building and the talent of the actors on stage. I truly recommend it to you.
- 8. Theatre “Le Panam'Art Café”: You want to have a good laugh while drinking a good cocktail and a nice meal? So this place is made for you, it's a stand up place where new or famous humourists come and perform almost every night. Make sure to have reservations before going there!
During the summer, I also like to go to the many outdoor cinema festivals. You can watch movies for example in the park of "La Villette" in the 19th arrondissement. This event is totally free and so fun to experience. Don't forget to take a blanket to sit on and maybe a little snack and you are good to go!
Still looking for a way to keep enjoying the last hours of the day in Paris? I suggest you go to the "Bastille" area in the 11th arrondissement with the subway so you can go grab a drink, dance in a very cosy and modern bar that closes around 3 am. That is what I usually do to perfectly end the day with my friends.
- 9. Bar & Beer: One of my favourite bars in Paris: A place where you can chill by yourself after work while drinking a nice beer or cocktail. This place is really peaceful and joyful.
- 10. Bar Le syndicat: A staple of Parisian life: THE absolute best cocktail place!
- 11. Night Club “Le Pachamama”: My favourite night club in Paris, amazing 19th century building with 3 floors with each of them having their own music and decorative theme.
In conclusion, this little guide serves as a way discover a city by taking time for yourself, to listen to your desires, to walk by just letting the vibes of the area guide you. Walking in Paris like this allows me to find peace and a quiet break in a quite noisy and crowded city. And with this little tour of my perfect day in Paris, I hope you feel inspired and ready to explore Paris - or another beautiful city.