When my sister was with me in Europe last summer we got to spend time in some great cities. However, we only had time to quickly pass through Paris and Milan (and I’ve also had a couple layovers in Milan) so I have combined them into one post. Enjoy!
What I did:
One of the most famous pieces of architecture in the world, the Eiffel Tower is very impressive to see in person. I decided not to wait and pay to go up the tower, but seeing it from bottom gave a good sense of its grandeur.
Sandemans Free Walking Tour (Paris)-
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, free walking tours are a great way to see a city. My favorite free walking tour company is Sandemans, and I had the opportunity to take their Paris free tour and was not disappointed. However, they do not currently offer any tours in Italy.
Duomo di Milano-
The Milan Cathedral is a beautiful building. However, the Piazza del Duomo (the area just outside the Cathedral) can get extremely packed. That being said, it is worth braving the crowds to at least get a look at the exterior of the Cathedral.
The Palazzo Mezzanotte is site of the Italian stock exchange headquarters in Milan. In front of the building is a giant statue of a middle finger, as an apparent dig at the financial institution.
Where I ate and drank:
PIZ Milano is the only restaurant I have visited where I was greeted with a free prosecco just for entering the restaurant. It was a very good pizza place with excellent service and good prices, and is only a short walk away from many of the major sites in Milan.
I got dinner at Rossopomodoro at the train station while waiting for the night train to Paris. The pasta would have been well above average in most places in the world, but it was only average by Italian standards. That being said, it is probably the best meal I have ever had at a train station.
Un Zebre a Montmartre (Paris)-
I went to Un Zebre a Montmartre on a recommendation from the Sandemans free walking tour. The food was very good, and the prices were fairly good as well.
Orsonero Coffee (Milan)-
In an area where espresso rules, Orsonero offers excellent filter coffee options. They also offer a few food options.
Where I stayed:
Ostello Bello Grande (Milan)-
Ostello Bello Grande is a very good hostel in Milan. It is located right around the corner from Milano Centrale train station. While it could use a few things like curtains for dorm beds, perks like a welcome drink, free dinner and breakfast, and balconies on the dorm rooms make it a very nice place to stay.
I took overnight trains out of both Paris and Milan. This allowed me to avoid the need for overnight accommodation and allowed me to go to bed in one city and wake up in another. I slept on “couchette” beds, which is basically a bench seat folded into a bed. It wasn’t the most comfortable place I’ve slept, but it allowed me to lay down and get some good sleep.
How I got around:
While in both Paris and Milan I used a combination of the metro system and walking to see a handful of things in a relatively short amount of time.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing in Paris was the architecture, and my favorite thing in Milan (like just about anywhere in Italy) was the food.
My least favorite thing:
Both Paris and Milan can be cold and cloudy for much of the year, and they both tend to be relatively expensive.
For next time:
There are still plenty of things I would like to see and do and eat and drink in Milan and Paris. It would be nice to be able to check out some of the famous art in both cities.
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