Palatable, Panoramic, Paragon Paris

In a city as well loved and heavily trodden as Paris, you’d think every little nook and cranny had been discovered and exploited already. To a large extent, this is unfortunately true – there are few truly “hidden gems” left in Paris. However, all is certainly not lost for the adventurous sybarite. Awaiting you is a plethora of fantastic views, unparalleled gastronomy, and evocative museums and galleries that only the savvy, bon-vivant parisien frequents. So here’s a few of my favourtie Paris destinations, delicacies, and other unequivocally delectable delights that the wonderful city has to offer.

 

Let’s start with my take on Paris’ Best Bars ‘n Bites. First up has to be one of the most picturesque summertime bars/restaurants in the city. Boasting a panoramic view over the Paris rooftops, “La Terrasse” Restaurant/Rooftop Bar at Galeries Lafayette is an elegant, contemporary, open-air rooftop restaurant that is perched atop the ever-popular, always-busy Galeries Lafayette. The cuisine comprises fresh and quality ingredients with a unique Japanese twist – a real ‘fine dining in the skies’ experience. While it isn’t exactly the cheapest place to eat in Paris, I must urge you to have a “pot en terrasse” there during the summer months, as the view is simply spectacular.

Next up, tucked away in the heart of Saint Germain des Pres, Huîtrerie Régis is snug shop-front table with a gleaming white façade and interior. Many seafood lovers have proclaimed it the best place in Paris for a fix of impeccably fresh oysters, which are delivered directly from France’s Marennes-Oléron region on the Atlantic coast. Depending upon availability, prawns, clams, and sea urchins can also be added to your extravagant plateau de fruits de mer. A nice selection of mostly Loire valley white wines complements the delicious menu, and a convivial atmosphere is created by the jovial oyster shuckers and many local regulars. If availability for indoor seating is low, the restaurant also offers a takeaway option – very worth doing as the food is THAT good!

Unfortunately, Paris is just one of those places where paying an arm and a leg for a meal comes around far too often. But that’s certainly not to say that there aren’t a number of affordable eateries that serve fantastic quality French food. Take Bistrot Victoires for example. This authentic Bistrot with vintage décor simply serves no-nonsense, quality French food at generous prices. The steak-frites are exemplary, featuring a slab of entrecôte topped with a smoking sprig of thyme. The plats du jour such as blanquette de veau (veal in cream sauce) are equally comforting and most certainly won’t break the bank. Another decadent delight with a more than reasonably priced menu which is charming, unpretentious, and refreshingly authentic is Les Galopins in Paris’ chic region of Bastille. A restaurant which is surprisingly unfrequented by tourists boasts beautifully prepared both classic and slightly quirkier French staples. With delightful staff, great service and a fantastic menu, this is a restaurant which simply doesn’t disappoint. The highly recommended dishes are the salmon ravioli and the courgette tarte tatin.

 

But, as we all know, it’s not just the food that we come to Paris for. Another main feature of this richly historic city is its numerous picturesque attractions. Take, for example, Sainte Chapelle. This royal chapel sharing Île de la Cité with Notre Dame has a history that is even more incredible than its stunning Gothic stained glass windows. It was originally built in the 1200s to house religious relics from Christ’s crucifixion, including the Crown of Thorns and pieces of the cross. The building was badly damaged in the revolution but rebuilt in the 19th century. Most of the original windows have survived. The chapel is split into two chambers: the ornately carved and painted downstairs for royal servants, and the kings’ chapel with its jaw-dropping elongated stained glass. Combining history, elegance, and unparalleled beauty, this is an absolute must-see when in Pairs.

Paris is also infamous for its many breath-taking public parks which are beautifully dotted around the city like oases of tranquility. Ranging from delightful greeneries to grand Royal Palatial Gardens, there are countless spots for you to choose from to spend a lazy afternoon. I’ve decided to select what I see as the most picturesque park in Paris. The Jardin du Luxembourg, situated in the 6th arrondissement and originally owned by the Duke of Luxemburg, boasts a whopping 55 acre coverage. At the center of the park is a beautifully constructed octagonal pond, known as the Grand Bassin, where children can rent small boats to play in on the pond. The park also features various incredibly detailed fountains and sculptures of Greek mythological figures, which are complemented by the scenic overhanging branches of nearby trees. In the north end of the Jardin is the striking Palais du Luxembourg which currently houses the French Senate, and which, during the French revolution, surprisingly also served as prison. Its masterful construction is immediately obvious and its powerful historic value continues to captivate each and every one of its visitors.   

Think you’ve seen all of what Paris has to offer? Think again… Why not give yourself a dose of goose bumps at The Catacombs. This is easily Paris’ most bizarre tourist destination, but it has been attracting visitors for more than a century, and it’s an experience that you may find humorous, shocking or even frightening… Essentially, you are taken through a series of underground streets decorated on all sides by human bones that have been precisely stacked by workers with a somewhat macabre sense of ‘interior design’. Les Catacombes are a legacy of Paris cemeteries becoming so overcrowded by the 1700s that decaying human matter had started to leach through the soil and contaminate the city’s water supply. The solution was to create new cemeteries outside of the city for new burials, and to dig up the old bones and place them in the distant unused stone mines (what are now “Les Catacombes”).

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, maybe you feel like getting a little more personal with Paris. There’s no better way to do this than a guided walking tour of Montmatre. A walking tour allows you to fully experience the incredible history of each location in an almost tangible manner. Your tour of Montmatre starts outside the Moulin Rouge, the most famous cabaret show in the world. From here, wander through the cobblestone streets as you slowly climb from this bohemian district to the summit of Montmartre. Your expert guide will bring the history of the area to life and at the summit you will discover some of the finest views in Paris, including the impressive Sacre-Coeur Basillica that dominates the Paris Skyline, and also visit Place du Tertre where you can buy paintings from some of the local artists. Your walking tour then moves to the picturesque North Slope, where you can see Van Gogh’s house. Other highlights include the Dali Museum, the famous windmills of Montmartre, and the renowned Montmartre Cemetery. If Montmatre isn’t your desired tour destination, choose from many others here.

 

So, those are some of my personal recommendations for keeping yourself busy and entertained in Paris.

Please know that these are only a slither of the attractive elements that this city of lights and romance has to offer. There are simply an unquantifiable amount of fantastic things to see, taste, and explore. So use this as a starting block, and find out what’s around every corner!!

Degree or Experience?

Is a degree essential to get a good job?

From a UK perspective, the answer is simple – it depends on what profession you want to enter into and then the question of whether that profession needs a degree. Overall, it’s for professional bodies or employers to decide.

However, even if the professionals decide they need or want you to have a degree in their field, do today’s university courses really offer better preparation than on-the-job training and hands-on experience?

University or higher education isn’t easy. It demands long hours, concentration, motivation, and discipline. Many employers will be looking for someone who has a degree, whether it is relevant to the job or not, simply because it displays these important characteristics.

Another argument in favour of the university degree is the “student experience”. And no, I’m not referring to the discounts from your student card, nor to the generic partying lifestlye that an alarmingly high number of students choose to adopt. It has to be mentioned that living at university installs a great deal of self-confidence, independence, resourcefulness, and incredibly useful inter-personal skills – all of which will undoubtedly help you in life ahead.

Nonetheless, you can’t teach someone the qualities of being ambitious, driven, and entrepreneurial – these are attributes that are either part of an individual’s personality or not, and finishing a university degree is definitely not the only way to use these attributes to their highest potential.

For some, a university degree is invaluable, but for others there is no question that being savvy, commercially aware, and having a business acumen are qualities far more essential than simply having a piece of paper (albeit framed) in your hand.

Some people are simply better at learning on the job with practical experience. Others have the ‘gift of the gab’ and can talk their way into anything. Many are shrewd enough to move forward without having to be educated for an extra three to six years. The truth is that an increasing number of employers are far more interested in those who are already well informed and who have specific goals in mind about exactly what it is that they want to do. Hiring someone who has had either previous experience in their field of expertise or who has already had required training can be both far more appealing and economical for these employers looking to fill job vacancies.

And what about the incredible amounts of debt students are racking up by taking on a degree that they don’t necessarily need? Personal debt is a reality that affects a huge number in the UK. The education system is forcing graduates to start their working lives with as much as £50,000 of debt, with the typical graduate owing around £16,000. Additionally, with fewer and fewer graduate jobs available, these students are falling into an unavoidably expensive unemployment.

Employers are increasingly making their job requirements harder for a graduate to meet. All too often an entry-level position will require some level of experience.

As a working student, the best advice I can offer is to make the absolute most of your holidays and/or spare time that you possibly can. Get experience in the industry you want to work in by going in and helping out as often as you can.

There’s no argument that practical, hands-on, thrown-in-the-deep-end experience is simply invaluable for current employers offering positions in their companies.

So whether you’ve chosen to go to university or not; get planning, be proactive, increase your employability, and put yourself in the best possible position to get where you want to be.

Le Patron de l’Enfer

Si vous avez travaillé depuis quelques années, Il est probable que vous ayez eu un patron difficile. Alors qu’elles viennent dans des formes et tailles différentes, ces superviseurs peuvent provoquer l’anxiété, la frustration, la colère, et la douleur pour ses employés. Quand cela se passe, certaines personnes choisissent de changer d’emploi. Si ce n’est pas une option pour vous, pour une raison quelconque, ou si vous appréciez votre travail et que vous ne voulez pas passer à autre chose juste parce que vous travaillez avec quelqu’un de problématique, Il existe quelques techniques qui pourraient être en mesure de vous aider et qui pourraient rendre votre vie professionnelle plus agréable. Gardez à l’esprit que vous devrez essayer de contrôler les émotions et refouler la forte envie de réagir dans une manière  peu professionnelle.

#1 – Ne Vous Sentez Pas Visé:

Tant que vous faites tout ce que vous devez faire, sachez que les difficultés de votre patron n’ont rien à voir avec vous.

Il est facile à dire que vous ne vous sentirez pas visé, et beaucoup plus difficile d’appliquer cette mentalité effectivement dans une situation. Une réaction plus courante est d’avoir une réponse émotionnelle et de contenir tous les sentiments au lieu de les exprimer. Retenez vos émotions lorsque vous êtes dans le coin de votre patron, puis prenez une pause salle de bains ou une pause-café pour vider votre tête.

#2 – Maintenez une Limite Appropriée:

Tant que les limites au bureau sont toujours importantes, elles sont encore plus essentielles lorsque vous travaillez avec un patron difficile. Que votre patron ait tendance à être critique, à l’écart, ou de partager trop, le maintien des limites est une étape importante pour réussir à gérer la situation. Assurez-vous que vous n’avez que des conversations professionnelles et, si possible, que vous devez uniquement interagir avec votre patron quand vous le souhaitez.

N’oubliez pas aussi que vous ne pouvez qu’être responsable de vous-même. Bien que votre patron puisse vous mettre en colère et vous donner envie de s’arracher les cheveux, vous ne pouvez pas changer la personne qu’elle est. La seule personne que vous pouvez changer, c’est vous-même, et parfois c’est un soulagement.

#3 – Maintenez tout Impersonnel:

Lorsque vous parlez avec votre patron problématique, ne lui demandez pas comment va sa journée. Cela ne fera que lui donner l’opportunité de parler des sujets qui ne sont pas directement liés au travail (ce qui n’est pas ce que vous voulez). En maintenant les choses impersonnelles, cela vous aidera aussi à garder la tête froide. Chaque situation, sans exception, ne fera qu’empirer si vous réagissez émotionnellement, surtout si vos émotions sont fortes et négatives. Quand chaque conversation se concentre sur un sujet spécifique ou est liée au travail,  il est beaucoup moins probable que vous alliez perdre les pédales à cause de vos agacements continus.

#4 – Maintenez votre niveau d’exigence élevé:

Il peut être tentant de négliger vos tâches quand votre patron est difficile. Toutefois, cela n’est pas une manière dont on devrait se comporter: vous risquez d’aggraver la situation et de donner une mauvaise impression de vous-même.

D’autre part, si vous faites du bon travail et vous continuez à faire vos tâches du mieux que vous pouvez, même si votre patron vous surcharge, il ne peut pas vous donner du fil à retordre.

#5 – Ne jetez pas l’huile sur le feu:

Tout le monde a sa bête noire, y compris votre patron. Si votre patron est de mauvaise humeur, les notez le bien et essayez de l’éviter. De cette manière, il est possible d’éviter une confrontation qui, autrement, aurait gâché votre journée et qui vous aurait laissé un goût amer. En outre, si votre patron fait quelque chose régulièrement qui vous ennuie, alors demandez lui poliment d’arrêter.

 

#6 – Soyez Proactif:

Dans une relation avec un patron difficile, il peut être facile de laisser les choses passer. Il est souvent plus facile d’éviter de parler des sujets difficiles que de les aborder, parce que vous craignez qu’après avoir parlé de ces sujets vous ne serez que déçu, blessé, et surtout en colère. Cependant, si vous choisissez de ne pas soulever ces sujets, surtout quand ils se rapportent aux tâches liés au travail, ne fera qu’empirer les choses plus tard.

Si vous avez besoin d’aborder quelque chose et que vous n’êtes pas sûr de savoir comment l’aborder, alors laissez votre patron choisir le moment et le lieu pour que la conversation ne soit pas forcée et pour qu’il n’y ait pas de gaucherie.  Faites-lui savoir que vous avez des questions, et dites-lui de quoi elles s’agissent. Assurez-vous que le sujet de la conversation reste au travail – de cette manière la conversation pourrait être plus agréable que ce que vous aviez prévu.

 

#7 – Laissez Votre Stress au Bureau.:

A la fin de la journée, que ce soit une bonne ou une mauvaise journée, laissez votre stress au travail et profitez d’une soirée de détente. Cela vous aidera à atteindre un équilibre de vie entre le travail et la maison et vous aidera à rester en bonne santé physiquement et mentalement, malgré la situation difficile au bureau. Ne laissez pas votre patron ruiner votre vie personnelle.

En fin de compte, n’oubliez pas que cela ne vaut pas la peine de sacrifier votre santé à travailler pour une personne difficile. S’il n’y a pas de solution à votre problème qui vous permettrait de rester dans votre position actuelle, la meilleure option serait de commencer à chercher un nouvel emploi. Même si vous êtes fortement contre la recherche d’un nouvel emploi, n’oubliez pas que le bonheur et la santé sont étroitement liés, et vous pourriez être surpris de voir combien vous vous sentiriez mieux avec un nouveau travail.