Norma Thiessen – travel blogger
Every other week, Discover Walks will share with some great insight from Travel bloggers from around the world who fell in love with Paris. They will share their favorites addresses and things to do while in Paris. Because genuine advice and stories are so important to us, in addition to our born-and-raised Parisian tour stories, we now bring you real advice from fellow travelers.
Bonjour Norma, can you tell us more about who you are?
My name is Norma Thiessen and I live in Toronto, Canada.
Why did you start writing mybeautifulparis?
I started traveling to Paris in my 20’s. Every time I returned from a visit, I wanted to immediately plan my next. Traveling as often as I wanted, or moving to Paris, was not possible for me, so the question became – how do I keep Paris alive while not being there? This is how my idea of the website became. I decided that writing about my experiences after I returned home would satisfy me until I was able to return.
Why did you start traveling?
My first exciting trip took place in my late teens. It was a road trip to New York City. This is precisely when I discovered my desire to travel. It was at that time, on that trip, when I knew New York City was only just the beginning of incredible adventures to come.
What’s special about your blog?
I feel my website is special in that every hotel, restaurant, shop, place, etc., I recommend is because I have personally experienced it. I don’t recommend any type of service or place unless my personal experience has been a pleasant one. I also don’t write negative reviews. It is important to me that my website remains a positive one.
What would be your top 3 things to do in Paris?
My top favourite things to do are;
- Just wander. Beauty is pretty much guaranteed, so, I will wander around the city with no destination in mind. I get up, walk out the door and just walk. I love where those walks lead me.
- Take a book to Jardin des Tuileries. I have spent hours reading and relaxing in this park. This garden is very special to me. There really is no specific reason for it – it is just a strong feeling I have.
- Enjoy a Kronenbourg 1664 at Bar 228 in Le Meurice. If I had all the money in the world this lounge would belong to me! I would carve it out of Le Meurice, wrap it up and send it home!
Your Top 3 good addresses in Paris?
- Hôtel Ritz Paris. The captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz fascinates me. Place Vendôme is elegant and magical and the square is home to the most exquisite jewelry and fashion boutiques.
- The très chic Le Bon Marché is the oldest, and my favourite, department store in Paris. And I can’t get enough of the beautiful food hall next door, La Grande Épicerie de Paris.
- There is never a trip to Paris when I don’t make my way to Notre Dame for a traditional lighting of a candle and a quick prayer for my family and friends. Everything about Notre Dame is breathtaking. If you have never been to Paris, the cathedral should be on the very top of your list!
Your favorite landmark in Paris?
Place des Vosges. I certainly didn’t have to think twice about the answer to this question. The reason is because I just stumbled upon it. It was my first trip to Paris and I didn’t know Place des Vosges existed. When I turned on to Rue de Birague and spotted it for the first time – it was instant love.
What is your favorite neighborhood in Paris?
I love the Marais and Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighbourhoods. It would be difficult for me to choose between the two. They both have a lot to offer in architecture, cafés, shops, winding streets and a rich history.
Could you give us your recommendation to first timers in Paris?
My suggestion to first-timers is – do not fill up your days running from one landmark to another. You will miss experiencing Paris. If your days are jam-packed, your trip will fly by. If you don’t prioritize, and allow yourself some free time, you might miss those special moments of just taking it in.
Thank you so much Norma, keep on enjoying Paris!
Merci beaucoup :-)