I was about 12 when I visited Paris for the first time- my first trip abroad without my parents! I was part of a choir that had been chosen to sing at Eurodisney (I can't remember why though!) We had only half a day to explore the city but I remember eating a lot of ice-cream and staring in the windows of expensive shoe shops, dreaming about one day owning something so tres chic :)
Most of the trip was spent in Eurodisney, we were allowed in the park before it opened and I went on space mountain 19 consecutive times! haha :)
Cut to earlier this year- I was wondering why I had never travelled back to Paris when Henry surprised me with a weekend away! 3 whole days to spend exploring exploring! I started researching where to visit straight away to try and cram in as much as possible!
We stayed in a hotel not far from the Arc de Triomph it was cheap and cheerful (Although rated 4*) I would consider trying an AirBnB closer to the centre next time- being able to visit the markets and cook up something yummy would be a treat!
We arrived late in the evening, and after dropping our bags off we went straight out to explore! We wandered around for a good hour or so, no destination in mind, we were happy stroll hand in hand through the streets of a new city :) We stopped on the way back to the hotel at a little restaurant and enjoyed steak tartare and a good bottle of red!
The next morning we filled up on a delicious petit dejeuner of croissants, baguettes, jams, coffee and juice to power us through our sightseeing!
Our first stop was the Luxor Obelisk on the Place de la Concorde. It originally stood outside the Luxor temple in Egypt, before being gifted to King Louis-Phillipe in 1833- detailed around the obelisk is the method they used to bring it all that way, quite a feat in that day!
I love the stories of the French Revolution, "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickins is one of my all time favourite books. In this area during the Revolution, a statue of Louis XV was torn down and the area was renamed, "Place de la Révolution". There, on January 21, 1793, the new revolutionary government erected a guillotine.
Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre and Danton were among the 1,200 people executed here.
A bronze plaque located in the western-center of the Place de la Concorde commemorates those executed here.
Off to the Louvre next! The Tuileries garden surrounding it are worth a visit alone- the views are beautiful and the garden buzzing with picnickers and happy chatting tourists.
A tip on entrance- use the stairs leading underground near the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and you will be able to skip all the queues outside!
You should definitely try to have a plan of what you want to see while you are in there as its so huge, unless you have a few days to experience it all!
We headed straight for the Egyptian antiquity department! Another area of history that I love, I find the culture and art from that time fascinating :)
Next on our 'Must see' list was the Venus de Milo, although so crowded you had to hustle your way forward to get a good view, it really didn't disappoint! Henry doesn't seem too impressed however...
Outside, we spotted the tourist buses queued up. Normally I would skip taking a bus and walk everywhere, but we were tired from all the walking we had done. I was glad we did it, they are great for first time visitors, €50 got us travel all day, as you pass the sites your headphones tell you the history and stories around the place. You can jump on and off where you like to explore more and there are 4 routes that cover most of the city.
I love the street signs, shops fronts and art of Paris- everywhere I turned there was a cute red fronted shop or a spot of graffiti art hidden away somewhere!
Un petit snack, du vin, du pain, et le fromage!
We had a little picnic in our room, rested our weary feet and scrubbed up to hit the town that evening. There are lots of places to experience cabaret in Paris, we lazily picked the Lido as it was a short walk from the hotel the show- good job as the show was starting 15 minutes after we arranged the tickets! It was a fantastic show, champagne flowed, the showgirls were beautiful, the sets stunning- a horse even made an appearance on the stage at one point!
Cue to our last day!
Although we arrived at the Eiffel tower early, there was already an almighty queue to go up. I think we waited about 90 minutes or so in the end. Tips for skipping the queues; Book online before you go, take the stairs up to the first floor for shorter queues or skip them altogether by making a reservation at one of the restaurants!
The terrible see through floor! Even Henry couldn't stand completely on the glass! I have terrible vertigo when I'm up high- luckily for me the top floor was closed at the time because they had reached their maximum capacity, but even on the second floor I struggled to not be a quivering mess! After edging down the stairs to the first floor with waves of vertigo threatening to send me toppling down them, I actually felt back to normal and I could properly enjoy things- hurray!
After one final snap of another gorgeous art neavou tube entrance, we made our way back to the airport to catch our flight back to London!
Not without stopping off for some classic parisian treats first though! Macarons from Laduree... I bought my Mum a little box, and then one for me for being such a thoughtful daughter :)
- As soon as you know you are going, book any important trips to restaurants, sights, museums etc- cheaper and less queuing!
- Try and get a french data sim or be with a provider like 3 that lets you use data abroad. Having an app like citymapper online is indispensable and free wifi isn't as prevalent as I'd been told.
- Try and create a map of places of interest with pins on it, that way, whatever area you end up in you can always have places to eat/visit!Laduree
Links you'll love:
Links you'll love: