Walking without a map is my absolute favorite thing to do in Paris. Getting yourself so turned around, so utterly lost, can be the most magical experience in a city full of hidden passageways and little secrets around every corner. You will discover a much different Paris if you allow yourself the luxury of having no idea where you are or where you are going. Sure, you could head to the famous shopping malls and art galleries and have a wonderful time, but the joy you will get from discovering the hidden gems of Paris will be so much more rewarding. World-class street art hiding in silent alleyways, a neighbourhood patisserie full of lush pastries without the main street price tags, and magnificent 19th century shopping arcades that lie all over the city, forgotten in time. This is the Paris I live for, and the one that every visitor should see.
While on a very deliberate mission, I found myself nowhere near where I intended to be. I suddenly came upon this entrancing place with antiques from Ancient China and phonographs of a different era. Shops and shops of relics and designer vintage jewellery, and quirky items I couldn’t quite wrap my head around. I had accidently found my way to the Passage des Panormas, one of the first covered shopping areas in the entire world. I spent hours going in and out of the dozens of shops in and around the Passage. My favorite shop was the Tombees du camion which literally translates as “fell off the back of the lorry”. The Tombees du camion is a shop like no other. Buckets full of old letterpress letters and drawers of dolls arms and legs. Eyeballs galore. Weirdest but most amazing shop ever. Seriously, if you go to the one place in Paris, this should be it. It will blow your mind.
I could really go on and on about the different places I have come across while getting lost in Paris, and even further on the amazing food I have eaten along the way. (Although I guess those stories will make great posts in the future.) The day I “found” the Passage des Panoramas though, remains the favorite.