Apologies for the lack of posts- I’ve been undergoing some changes in my life (including changing job and moving house!) This has meant I’ve had little time for blogging or collating ideas for my little online space! Not to worry- I’m back to write another post on my most recent trip to Paris!
I visited Paris on May 17th for 3 nights for my fiancée’s birthday. The weather was gorgeous and perfect for us as very sunny but with a nice breeze during the day (only a little drizzle of rain one evening). The only time I would have appreciated a few more clouds was when I was climbing the stairs up the Eiffel tower- there was no way I was queuing for the lift- too much to see in the 3 days!
TIP: On arrival in Paris, I had pre-booked and paid for transfers into the city and on my return. This was totally worth it (cost about £50 for a private car) as saved us so much time and meant less to worry about!
Where to Stay:
Paris is HUGE- there are so many central hubs across the city it really does depend on where you would like to be! This time, I chose to stay a little further away from the major tourist attractions to explore a bit more of the purer Paris. This obviously isn’t for everyone as it means a 5-10 tube ride to key sites, for me, however, it was spot on!
Grand Hotel Francais
Prices around £130 for two people per night based on a standard double room (with breakfast included). A bargain for those wanting to save a little money on their accommodation, and honestly there was nothing the staff wouldn’t do for us. We were given a list upon arrival of all local restaurants to try and a map of the city (which became my bible!) As it was Joe’s birthday they had left a bottle of wine in the room with a message to enjoy our stay (very sweet touch). The room was smallish, but nothing compared to other hotels I have stayed in (New York Pod comes to mind.) All in all I enjoyed my stay at Grand Hotel and would stay there again!
For those wanting something a little more luxurious I would absolutely LOVE to stay in Four Seasons George V. Just off the Champs Elysees, this stunning hotel offers pure glamour for anyone wanting it on their stay in Paris. From marble floors to painted ceilings you will feel like royalty from the moment you walk in.
What to do:
I’ve read so many wonderful blogs on all of the key sites in Paris (and some more unusual) so thought I’d cover three not so mentioned places.
Ahhh Notre Dame. We visited Notre Dame on our first day in Paris for a little wander. There was no queue and inside was quiet and pretty empty (a blessing for a major tourist spot). As we went in May the stained glass looked beautiful with the sun peeking through to make the vibrant colours really come to life. My poor Joe had to wander with me as I began my love affair with these pieces of glass having done my dissertation on the same study. I am not necessarily religious, but this is an extremely holy place, you can feel it as you walk in, and you therefore respect it. Please visit next time you’re there to view some of the greatest masterpieces of Stained glass depicting stories of Christianity.
Palace of Versailles:
Ok, a little out of Paris. But we easily picked up the RER train to Versailles from D’Orsay and spent a full day wandering around the gorgeous Palace and gardens. I won’t lie, this place is a total tourist nightmare- I’ve never seen anything like it. Queues were about 4 hours long when we left and there was NO room to move inside the palace exploring the rooms. I was stood looking at one of Veronese’s least famous paintings ‘Feast in the House of Simon’ when about several backpacks were thrusted into my sides disabling any movement on my end. This would have ruined it for me if it weren’t for the beautiful gardens.
TIP: Don’t be fooled by the little train that is just before the garden entrance- many tourists thought this was a tour for around the gardens (who can blame them) but it actually takes you to Versailles Park and can be quite a long wait to return to Versailles. Instead pay for entry to the garden and eye up the hot statues… see below.
TIP: Entrance to the palace Versailles is free for EU citizens under the age of 26. Don’t lose your place in the queue by heading to the ticket stalls- join the queue and simply show your passport or driving licence at the front of the queue to enter. (please note- accurate at time of writing).
Yep. The ugliest building in Paris. Yet I’m recommending it? Why I hear you ask? Well if you go up the tower you get the most beautiful view of Paris (minus the ugly building as you’re stood on it!) It really is a beautiful undisturbed view and has both in inside viewing area as well as an outside terrace (take a jacket as it can be windy!)
TIP: If you buy the Paris Pass like I did, save this event for one of the evenings as it is open till 10:30pm (11pm on Saturdays) meaning you can get the most out of your pass!
Where to eat:
My most favourite spot to find food (that wasn’t ridiculously priced) was Rue de la Huchette. They have every type of food here from traditional French cuisine to chips! You can visit in the morning for coffee or later for a meal, it is good any time of day. This street is extremely focussed towards tourist trade so in no way am I saying that this is the place to get an authentic French experience, because it’s not. If you are however looking for somewhere to eat, a little more relaxed with extremely competitive prices then you should try here!
Like Paris and want to read more on this city and its great art? Then please visit Lizzie’s post on the Louvre
Ciao for now,