A Guide to Paris, France
Paris is an extremely popular European destination for tourists, in fact it's one of the world's most visited cities! Renowned for fashion, gastronomy, art, culture, majestic monuments and much more, I was eager to see if much had changed since my first trip to this charming destination in 2003!
Getting to Paris
We travelled on the Eurostar from London St. Pancras International to Gare Du Nord station in Paris which was super quick, only 2 hours 20 minutes. We were fortunate to snap up a good deal on our tickets so we paid £58 each for the return journey in February.
Where to Stay in Paris
We booked a 3 night stay at MonHotel Lounge & Spa which is a boutique hotel located minutes away from the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs Élysées. The hotel is situated down a quiet road in a pleasant neighbourhood, so the ideal place to escape the crowds!
The hotels decor is striking with a monochromatic colour scheme with pops of vibrant red. There are large sparkly chandeliers throughout, quirky lamps, pop art on the walls and soft floral touches of white roses and calla lilies in extravagant vases.
This modern style continued to our generously sized Executive Room which had an open plan bathroom - something I've never experienced before in a hotel room! We were spoilt with quality toiletries, a deep soaking bathtub, separate shower with rainfall shower head and had a great nights snooze in the king bed.
Each morning we were treated to an American style buffet breakfast which consisted of pancakes, crepes, hot food items such as scrambled eggs and sausages, a continental selection of meats, cheeses, granola, cereal, yoghurts, drinks and much more!
Things to Do in Paris & Places to Visit
Getting around to see the sights in Paris couldn't be easier! Purchase a Paris Visite travel card which allows you to travel to certain zones for a specified duration. We got a 3 day pass at Gare De Nord station for zones 1-3 which cost €25 per person and it was great.
Paris is divided into districts called arrondissements, so when you look at the areas you'd like to visit on a map you’ll see the zones clearly marked e.g. 1st Arr. which I've included below for each landmark.
Pont des Arts - 1st Arr.
We actually just stumbled upon this bridge on our way from Musée D’Orsay to grab some lunch. It’s warming to see all of the locks and messages of love on them!
Lourve Museum - 1st Arr.
The Lourve is the world's biggest art museum, famous for its most popular attraction; Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Admission is €15 per person and I think it's only really worth it if you're into Renaissance art or sculptures. Personally, I can't say I was a big fan of the artwork but I did find the glass, pyramid structure and architecture of this museum interesting. I also appreciated the baroque interior, particularly the grand ceilings with all the elaborate details.
Notre Dame Cathedral - 4th Arr.
Unfortunately we didn't manage to make it inside this historic building, however Notre Dame Cathedral is still a stunning sight from the outside, especially at night with all the uplighting.
Musée D’Orsay - 7th Arr.
I preferred Musée D’Orsay to the Lourve, mainly because I like Impressionism art and they had Van Gogh and Monet exhibitions! If you venture up to the fifth floor on the opposite side to the massive antique clock, you can (usually!) get a great view of the city.
Eiffel Tower - 7th Arr.
Having seen the Eiffel Tower 15 years ago and being able to walk freely around this beautiful structure and surrounding park, I was saddened to see it completely enclosed by metal sheeting. The security has been stepped up massively and they are planning to build a bullet-proof glass wall around it as a safety measurement. I don’t advise visiting it close up until this glass wall is complete because I found it chaotic to manoeuvre around the tower, or even to get near it because they’ve blocked off most of the walkways.
At dusk when it was lit up and from afar it still looked spectacular.
Champs-Élysées - 8th Arr.
Like the Oxford Street of Paris, expect this avenue to be very busy with high end shops and a mass of restaurants and bars.
Arc De Triomphe - 8th Arr.
An impressive Arc monument with intricate carvings and sculptures, commissioned by Napoleon in 1806. For €12 per person you can climb the 284 steps for breathtaking views of Paris. Check opening times before heading off because it was closed for us in February.
Rue Crémieux - 11th Arr.
The prettiest road with colourful houses, maybe don’t travel too far out of your way to see this as it’s literally a single street!
Favourite Restaurants/Bars in Paris
We are very lucky to have some close friends living in central Paris who were able to recommend some remarkable places for dinner and drinks - massive thanks to Adam and Eve for sharing some of these gems with us!
- Au Bureau - we visited Au Bureau for some pre-dinner drinks, not knowing it was a London style pub! It turned out to be a nice place to have some drinks with a great atmosphere!
- Jacopo - we dined at Jacopo on our first night after receiving a recommendation from Adam - we were a bit hesitant as the menu was in French but the food was just divine! I had the chicken and the dreamy chocolate mousse - cannot recommend these dishes enough.
- Bistro Le Carreau - we went to Bistro Le Carreau for our last meal and everyone was so complimentary about how great the food was!
- Robert Et Louise - this busy, little restaurant cooks your food on an open fire right by the tables! We ordered the beef rib for 2 which was massive and cooked to perfection, it comes with a side of crispy potatoes and a salad - a must for all steak lovers!
- Little Red Door - we had an aperitif at the Little Red Door on our final night. We had the warmest welcome and were served the most amazing cocktails - if you can make it inside, you'll be treated to carefully crafted drinks from one of the best cocktail bars in the world!
- Spend a penny - the toilets aren't free so bring change (some cost €0.70) - this includes Gare De Nord where I nearly had a melt down!
- Public transportation - you can purchase a travel card called the Paris Visite from Gare Du Nord to cover the duration of your travel
- Private transportation - Uber operates in Paris! Use your usual app to get a cab to take you around the city if you don't fancy the Metro
- Ne parle pas Français? It's always worth learning some basic pleasantries - this is well received by the French, even if you sound a bit silly
We stayed in Paris for 3 nights in February 2018 and I would say ideally you need about 4-5 nights to see and experience everything. When I return, I'd like to have hot chocolate at Angelina, enter the Notre Dame, travel to the Basilica du Sacré-Coeur, checkout Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, visit Place des Vosges and make it to the famed Moulin Rouge.