A couple of months ago myself and Katy planned a surprise 21st Birthday trip for LJ, and we took her to the wonderful French Capital, Paris. We spent what was essentially 72 hours in Paris, so I’ve decided to pull together a 3 day guide, for my future reference on my next French adventure. I am certainly no expert on Paris, I have previously travelled there as a child and probably experienced the most traumatic memory of my childhood. I was only 3 years old at the time and my 12 year old uncle had holidayed with us, I vividly remember being on my Dad’s shoulders (my parent’s will probably tell me that this definitely didn’t happen, but I know it did) we were on the underground and my uncle clambered on ahead of us. The carriage was so busy and before we could make our way onto the train to doors closed before us and a lone 12 year old boy was on his way in a foreign city without his family. It traumatised me at the time, we did eventually find him, so don’t panic. He had gotten off at the next stop and we jumped on the next train that came along on that route and managed to find him at the other side. So all was well in the end. 18 years later, and I’m finally over that experience and ready to brave this beautiful French City as an adult.
A Place to Stay:
Hotel Mecure Paris Centre Tour Eiffel
For a relatively first time trip to Paris, this hotel couldn’t have suited us more. I’m not normally one to stay in big chain hotels, but the staff were lovely upon check-in letting us leave of bags and go and explore the city in the glorious sunshine which we had arrived to. Literally based at the foot of the Eiffel Tower the location as perfect just a short 3 minute walk to the nearest tube station, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to get some kip and rejuvenate in between of Parisian adventures.
20 Rue Jean Rey, 75015 Paris, France
A Place to Eat: (or three...)
For a leisurely Sunday Brunch this place in heavenly, and naturally somewhere we HAD to visit. We ate Brunch here on Sunday Morning after treating ourselves to a lie in. The food was incredible, and that’s not to mention the never ending list of luxury tea’s to take your fancy. A real parisian bakery famous for it’s macarons, definitely a place I would visit in the future, and I’m maybe even treat myself to the adorable afternoon tea selection. Of course, before leaving we had to pick ourselves up a box of macarons each.
France, 75 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
Martin is a discreet bistro, that quite honestly you could easily walk straight past. Having read about this little gem in a lonely planet guide to Paris it’s most certainly deserving of it’s reputable reviews. The service was faultless, the food incredible, we enjoyed a tapas selection of artichoke with aioli dip, bread, olives, snails, aubergine stew and more. Definitely worth a visit for a true parisian boulevard experience away from the tourist attractions.
24 Boulevard du Temple, 75011 Paris, France
This perfectly little spot for outdoor dining is not one to be missed. When you just fancy a spot of good ol’ chicken dinner. This rotisserie restaurant based in Saint Michel has the perfect little spot for watching the world go by whilst enjoying some wholesome food. With a little adorable drinking fountain in the middle of the courtyard this place has a real dainty feel about it.
9 Place Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris, France
A Place to visit:
Tour de Eiffel
Do I even need to mention this place? Without fail this is of course somewhere that every visitor to Paris just have to see and experience. However I was really surprised by the incredible views of Paris from up here, I don’t know if it’s because it was such a wonderfully sunny day o just sheer excitement at arriving in the French capital and lack of sleep from my early get up but the views of Paris from above the city really are something special, a sea of white architecture below and the bright blue Seine circling around the Landmark, it’s definitely a number 1 hit for me.
Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
Arc de Triomphe
Standing in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, make sure your prepared for a hefty climb when you visit the Arc de Triomphe. The only way to see the spectacular views from the top are to climb the 284 steps to the top on the monument, but when you finally reach the top the feeling of accomplishment is definitely worth the wait.
Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, Place Charles de Gaulle
Basilica of the Sacre Coeur
The architecture of this roman catholic church makes it definitely worth a visit. At the heart of Montmartre this wonderful tourist attraction brings you out of the centre of Paris and up to the summit of the butte Montmartre. As the highest point in the city you can only imagine the views from up here, unfortunately the weather had turned on us for the remainder of our visit and our view was slightly obscured by thick fog, however this was still a highlight of our visit.
Basilica of the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre
A 3 Day Guide:
After leaving our bags at the hotel, we grabbed ourselves some pastries from a local Parisian Bakery and made our way to the Eiffel Tower, from here we walked along the Seine to the Place Charles de Gaulle and up to the Arc de Triomphe, from here we walked down to the Princess Diana memorial, which was pleasantly peaceful marketed with flowers and messages. Making our way back over to the Hotel we checked into our room, had a quick change of clothes and headed out for some evening drinks and food before an early night ready for our first full day in Paris.
On our second day we bought tickets for the hop-on-off Batobus which runs every 20 minutes along the Seine river. This was the perfect way for us to get around and see some of the bigger attractions. our first stop after hopping on at the Eiffel Tower was Musee D’Orsay. A really spectacular building with some famous artwork from the likes of Vincent van Gogh. Jumping back on the Batobus we made our way to the Notre Dame, grabbing a bite to eat before heading in and getting sufficiently soaked whilst we queued. The good ol’ british weather had definitely followed us to Paris. After see the astounding interiors of the Notre Dame, we headed over to the Louvre which was originally on our plan for Day 1 but after an early start we decided to save it for the following day when we could enjoy it a little better. After this we made our way to Martin for a true 'locals' experience of French dining. After dinner we took the underground back to the Tour de Eiffel and purchased a bottle of wine to drink whilst star gazing in the Park.
After having a leisurely start in the hotel, we headed over to Laduree for our Sunday Brunch. Following this we made our way down Charles de Gaulle, in and out of various shops and experiencing a little of the Parisian retail experience. Finally we found an underground station where we jumped on and found our way to Montmartre where we saw a lovely little french town at the base of Sacre Coeur. On our way back into the centre we detoured past the Moulin Rouge (Saint Germain des Pres) and finally made our way to Chez Clement in Saint Michel for dinner.
For now, I’m already planning the places I want to visit on my next trip to Paris.