Out and About: A Weekend in Paris

I think it’s quite obvious that I couldn’t go to Paris without writing at least one blog post about it. I mean I like to travel, and I like to write. And I like that this blog is somewhat of a travel journal for me. Alongside my instagram account obviously! So sharing our Paris trip on here was bound to happen. So without further ado, here’s what we did with our weekend in Paris.

I should start by saying that this is the perfect weekend in Paris if you’ve done the main attractions before. If you haven’t and you are planning to see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum, or make your way up the Eiffel Tower then this post isn’t for you. Or it is but you’ll need a little longer at each location to complete this list. You can also check out previous Paris posts here; Visiting the Arc de Triomphe and Paris on a Budget.

<> First up book a late night Friday Eurostar train. We got the last train from London, which at 20:01 arrives at Gare Du Nord at 23:17. If you stay near the station, in Montmarte, then you’ve got a quick 10 minute taxi ride to your accommodation. Easy. The 8pm train also leaves plenty of time to get to St Pancras from elsewhere in London (or the suburbs) so you can visit the Searcy’s Champagne Bar and stock up on M&S food for a train picnic dinner. What a way to start the trip, am I right?

<> On Saturday morning start your day with a local breakfast of fresh coffee and pastries. There are plenty of breakfast places throughout Paris that serving a very filling petit dejeuner. Or do what we did and walk to your local bakery and feast on croissants in your apartment.

Paris-Autumn

<> Next head to the river. The metro is super easy in Paris and you can get a 24 or 48 hour ticket for each of the zones, which lets you take as many journeys as you want during that time frame. We opted for the zone 1-3, 48 hour ticket which was less than €20. And so totally worth it. We headed straight to Chatelet metro stop and then walked along the river, crossing at the Pont Neuf onto Île de la Cité (Île de la Cité is one of two islands in the middle of the River Seine).

<> Once on Île de la Cité wander around the island and passed Notre Dame Cathedral. This cathedral is stunning. The gargoyles and flying buttresses are beautifully carved and the stained glass windows are beautiful. From Notre Dame cross to the other side of the river (the opposite of where you came from) and explore the quaint lanes, small shops and eateries of the neighbourhood. Shakespeare & Co. bookshop is in this part of the city, so stop here if you want to peruse for books.

Paris-Notre-Dame

<> Stop for coffee or an early lunch around here, or have a brief sit in the nearby park or squares and churchyards dotted around the area. We found Odette’s which had delicious coffee and tasty choux buns. And if you can manage the walk up the tiny staircase to the next floor there’s a fantastic table in the window with stunning views across to Notre Dame.

<> Once you’ve refuelled head back along the river to the Pont des Arts and cross back over the Seine to the Musee du Louvre. The buildings of the Louvre are stunning. You’ve got the classic grand buildings of Paris, but in the courtyard is the glass and iron of the pyramid. The pairing makes for a striking contrast and is a big tourist trap. You can’t help but spend some time here, just staring in wonder. Next to the Musee du Louvre is the Palais Royal which has a fabulous art installation by Daniel Buren in the building’s courtyard. They look like sticks of rock coming out of the ground.

<> From the Louvre and the Palais Royal it’s only a quick stroll to the Jardin du Tuileries which in Autumn looks absolutely stunning. In any city a stroll through the park is always a must. There’s something relaxing about being in the greenery, with the busy roads and tall buildings out of your sight line – it’s tranquil. These gardens are landscaped with lots of chairs dotted around, so if you want to stop and have a rest and people watch then this is the place for you.

<> After the park we jumped back onto the metro and headed back to Montmarte for the afternoon. We explored the roads around the area before heading to the Sacre Coeur. Perched on the top of a hill, it’s quite a climb up steps to get to this church. There is a funicular that you can get on which gets you up there in no time at all. By the way if you have the travel card then it covers the funicular. The view from the Sacre Couer is absolutely stunning.  We visited on a wet and rainy day, but we were still able to see Paris stretched out in front of us.

<> If you’re staying in Montmarte now is a perfect opportunity to wander back to you hotel or apartment and have a rest and recharge the batteries. We did exactly that, before heading back out for dinner. A friend living in the Paris suggested a lovely restaurant near our apartment. So we headed there and feasted on steak and wine.

Paris-Montmarte

<> After dinner and drinks I highly recommend heading back into Paris to the Place du Trocadero. This is probably the ultimate touristic way to spend your Saturday night. But it’s also pretty unforgettable. From the Place du Trocadero you get an epic view of the Eiffel Tower all lit up in the dark. It’s a stunning sight, especially on each hour where the lights give a little show to everyone watching. Even if you’re not there bang on the hour the visual effect of the giant tower lit up against the dark sky is still a stunning site. Plus a post dinner crepe is a pretty fab way to end the evening! If your spending a weekend in Paris then I think it’s a must do.

<> For us day two was a lot calmer. We started our day at a local cafe for breakfast and chatted away about our trip so far and plans for the rest of the day. From there we dropped our bags at a left luggage shop before heading back into the city for a final wander.

<> We visited Galleries Lafayette and exclaimed over the Christmas windows in all their intricate details. They also have a giant gold hot air balloon filled with toys inside the shop – it sounds a little odd now I type this, but actually it was quite mesmerizing with the music and the almost choreographed movement. This giant department store also has a roof terrace which once again offers stunning panoramas of the city rooftops.

<> The rest of our last morning was filled with more shopping and coffee stops. Plus we just HAD to stop at Laudree for macarons. The selection is unbelievable and the rows and rows of colours just look so pretty! Let me tell you this, eating macarons on the Eurostar back to London made me feel pretty happy.

Phew, when you write it all down, it seems like a super busy weekend in Paris. No wonder my feet were in pain on my return! I had such a lovely trip though. I really want to make sure I have more of these long weekends in European cities next year. Now I know I’ve done Salzburg already this year and that I have Hamburg planned for this weekend but hopefully 2018 can be a year of four European city breaks. Obviously I’m hoping that one of these can be an Evans girls trip. Tell me, what are your favourite European cities, where should we visit next? And have you ever spent a weekend in Paris, or do you have plans to?

Laura xx