Letter to My Sister – Travel Prep for London and Paris

Dear Ali,

There are not enough pages on earth for me to impart all the knowledge I want to share with you about travel, Paris, and europe in general. I also think it’s important to discover things on your own and to make your own stories and adventure. I will however provide you a list of things that I spent a considerable about of time researching and compiling, in hopes that it will save you some time planning and give you more time adventuring. You can also contact me at any time for help in any sort of situation. I have been stranded in more places alone that I would be willing to admit and have escaped from a plethora of different scenarios that my escapades have landed me in, so it’s fair to assume there is no situation you can find yourself in where I’m unable to provide direction and help. That being said, here’s a quick rundown of what should prove useful to you that you wouldn’t normally be given.

PREP FOR TRAVEL – overall Download These Apps:

1)London Tube Map (offline)


3)Paris Metro
These will allow you to have maps even without wifi and get around in emergencies, also gives you the fastest time between any two points. So essential to have. If you have time to travel independently, get skyscanner. Next, remember to do these things:
-Your phone will fail at some point, so write addresses and everything you need down on a small notepad.
-Memorize your metro line color/number/destination, and explore the area around your immediate home base on foot. -Write down home address in small notebook you always carry with you, also a couple of emergency contacts. Always assume someone near you is going to steal your phone.

To Have:
-Immediately get a sim card from the UK based company “3” (Literally just the number 3) Tell them you want unlimited data for uk and europe for one month. If necessary tell them you are a resident there and give them your flat address.
-All of the Prets (big red star, looks like a starbucks) have free wifi.
To GO:
-ANGEL comedy club, near angel station. Free, and every night at 7 pm. LOVE love this place
-Heaven Nightclub. Every night until 6am. Gay club, cheap drinks
-Mahiki’s (tuesdays). Tiki bar, expensive drinks. Also Cuckoos, crowded club.
-You can get discount tickets to all west end shows at piccadilly circus
-North Gower Street, Flat 187 (left of Speedy’s) is 221b baker street from Sherlock
-find the cafe near the pond in hyde park. Take a picture there for me if you can I used to hang out there.
-Roll down Primrose Hill
-You can go to the markets but everything there is a ripoff. (Portobello road)
-Hyde park. Find the cafe in the center, get snacks and watch people and swans on the lake. Ricky Gervais hangs out here. -MUST go to the Outside of Earl’s Court Station. Look around and tell me what you see 🙂 (its blue)

-If anyone approaches you with a clipboard, possibly asking you if you speak english, they are literally a gypsy trying to jack your shit. Tell them to fuck off by saying ‘Casse toi!’ (say CASS-TWA with anger) and warn everyone else. They travel in packs and are vicious.
-Dinners start at 10, clubbing starts at midnight, until 6. Metro runs until 1 or 2, opens at 5.

-Metro lines are numbers and long distance trains are letters. C train goes to Versailles, A goes to disneyland and Saint germain-en-laye. Most trains don’t announce stops ever, so pay attention.
-Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour for three minutes, 8pm-1am. Best place to see it is also my favorite restaurant, Monsieur Bleu. Get a reservation beforehand.

-If you use the bike service Velib, Make sure they only charge you for the amount of time you use the bike. The Charges should be no more than 1.80 euros for a ride under half an hour, sometimes they randomly charged me 150 or 30 a ride and I had to call chase fraud prevention. Was a logistical nightmare.

Places to GO
-Shakespeare and Co. Go see if my note is still on the mirror, or in the book called poor little rich girl on the wall to the right of the door of the room with a piano in it.
-Pont Alexandre 3. On the bank of the seine, on sundays everyone comes here to chill. I also put our family lock in a grate up high around here. Took three people and a tree.
-Cafe des Chats. Best malbec i’ve ever had, food is meh but CATS
-Espirit chuipitos. Bad area of town, but 300 different mystery shots, some involving dildoes. Never sure which is which, but everything is like 2-3 euros.
-La fee vert is the best place for absynthe. There is also a little shop in the 4th with a nice guy who loves indie music. Befriend him and he will let you taste really good absynthe for free/see his hundred plus year old recipe. This is where you would buy bottles to bring back to america. (It’s the legit stuff, if you go here please pick me up a little bottle)

Places to DANCE
-La Montana. Best club in paris. Also Check out nearby rue Princesse, some new things opened here. Also close to Prescription cocktail, a speakeasy. Password is ‘Je veux boire un verre’
-L’Arc, standard saturday night club, strict door (and height) policy. Must wear heels/dress/pass as a runway model.
-2 rue carcel, vaugirard 75012 was my first apartment. There is a little man selling crepes in a window of the ‘Vaugirard’ restaurant. Try and get a picture with him, and ask him his name (I got crepes from him daily for nearly a year. We always called him peter but I swear it’s something else)
-La dernier bar a la fin du monde, châtelet. Nerdy video game styled bar. Not my style, but you may like it. There is also a ping pong bar.
-BEST BRUNCH on sundays: YEELS, 8th
1)Louvre, touristy, lots of pickpockets. Go to louvre on a friday night for free, way better.
2) Place de Vendome is my favorite for shopping. Also home to famous hotels, including the Ritz, well established in history for hundreds of years. Hemingway came ere, has a 20k shot named for him. Also stop into Laduree’s for the best macaroons in the world.
3)/4) these are both the marais, 4 is more the mall called “Chatelet Les Halles”. Many gay bars here. Go to the roof of the inside out museum. Also the shower bar RAIDD is here, they have hourly shower shows at night.

5) My most recent stomping ground, the latin quarter. Tons of student bars near the sorbonne (old house was on Huchette, SUPER american student tourist street. Le Piano Vache is the best live music place here, every day of the week. Check their website. I would go on mondays, great hipster french crowd, always made friends here. Also Cave de la huchette is famous jazz bar. Walking distance to the 6th, head towards la montana on foot from the fountain to experience the walk I did with melanie every single night past all the lively restaurants and bars. One of my favorite speakeasies is here too, Prescription Cocktail. 23 Rue Mazarine, 75006 Paris, France.

6) THE BEST for everything, st Germain is epic. Great to walk around, good food and close to….

7)Luxembourg! Go to the garden. Find hot chocolate and drink it if you can, and bring a bottle of wine, bread, and some cheese to this park (yay drinking in public) I ran this park every day. Go to Musee de Rodin (the thinker from midnight in paris) and musee d’orsay (better than the louvre, and has big clock you can stand in on the top floor)

8) Arc De triomphe! ALL the big clubs are here. L’arc, ANGIE, Titty Twister (sundays), Cartel (also friends with owner), The American Bar, Heritage, and Matignon are the good ones. Don’t waste time anywhere else.

9)Pigalle – Gross. Avoid this area, only cool things are in neighboring area of 18th, more on that later. Lots of thieves/homeless. Bad area.
10) Canal St Martin / Gare du nord. Not a great area to walk around by night, the canal is okay to see during the day. Home to speakeasy called Comptoir General that is quite cool, but that’s it.
11) Bastille. GHETOOOO do not go here, this is also where the shootings happened. Used to be some cheapo bars but basically now is covered in grafitti, lots of sketch.
12) Residential. Meh.
13)Place d’Italie. SOOO boring/residential. Only cool thing here is on the river and that is the NUBA boat, open every night with games / food/ dj until 6 am.
14) Montparnasse. Massive tower with best view of paris. Walking from here to Invalides, one of my favorite places to hang out, is a beautiful walk.
15) residential, nice.
16) Nice residential area. Upscale restaurants and food, no nightlife but next to the 8th.
17)residential, next to 16
18)Here’s where the true sketch starts getting in. Montmartre is not a nice area, and COVERED in pickpockets/creepers. I have gone on runs here alone at night but do not recommend, truly scary. The steps are a great place to watch the sunset with friends and of course wine. One of the better speakeasies is here too, go on a weekend. Hotel Tres Particulars. You must go into a little alley, ring the doorbell, open the gate, enter the gate on the left down the alley, walk through the restaurant, and ask to use the elevator to go upstairs. You won’t be disappointed.
19)Never ever ever ever go here OR the 20th. This is the actual ghetto, and where all of the concentrations of dangerous people who managed to get within the walls of paris past the banlieurs reside. PROMISE me you will not go here, especially now.

There is literally so much more I want to tell you but half the fun is discovering adventures by yourself. Of course, if you get bored, I will be updating some of my various websites from time to time with relevant travel info if you are bored, and my promoter friends and contacts are at your disposal. I also have many friends throughout paris and London in case you get into a jam, they’re there to help you, just like me 🙂

I love you so so much ali, you’re the best little sister in the world, send postcards if you can and I’ll see you when we both get home! Also skype if you have time

Love, Samantha


All content on this website is copyright 2016 by Samantha Kelly. All rights Reserved

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