Oh we do love to have a potter around gaye Paris, not least when the sun has got his happy little hat on. Last week my best girl pal and I hopped, skipped and jumped on to 11am Eurostar from London to Paris. Simply in Paris for the joy of exploration and living as the Parisians do (with a side of tacky touristing!) We were there for what I consider a great amount of time to see a lot of the main sites of Paris; 2nights and 3 days. We covered a fair feet but had ample time to soak up the atmosphere of the city blooming beautifully into Spring. Here’s a low down of what we got up to and the gems (not worth missing!) that we found along the way.
We opted for the simple and slightly more affordable stay at the Hotel Des Nations located on Rue Monde not far from the Latin Quarter. The hotel offered impeccable service and exactly what we needed in terms of a basic clean comfortable room for our 2 nights stay.
Checking in Wednesday afternoon we grabbed the first chance we had to go and explore the French cuisine. Taking a short stroll around the Latin Quarter we found a gorgeous square where Cafe Delmas took our fancy. We hadn’t looked up where to eat at that point we just stumbled on the restaurant. Between us we ate a selection of steak tartar, cheese, red wine, frites – could we be any more French!? Sitting with the sun shining down we people watched whilst gazing into the square.
A short walk later we strolled along over the river to Notre Dame, taking in all of its beauty as we went. A friend had recommended Les Marais as a top spot for hip and trendy restaurants, bars and shops which was short walk from Notre Dame. Catching a glimpse of the extremely innovative “pompidieu centre” – which shows a phenomenal building described as being “inside out”, think all the workings of a building but on the outside. Quite the feat of engineering and architecture. The sun beamed down on us so we didn’t want to spend hours queueing to enter the museum – if we had more time it would have been a nice option to explore. Us Brits – never ones to miss out on sunshine opportunities you know! We meandered our way through the Parisian streets through Les Marais, catching a drink by the river Seine at Le Saint-Regis – perfect people watching territory.
We had spoken to our concierge about the local burlesque offerings, curious to explore. We were recommended the Lido show on the Champs Elysee. So after a quick freshen up we were tottering or way down he Champs Elysee – a street of pure beauty and bustle! Gazing at the Arc De Triomphe before chomping on nutella and banana filled crepes (when in France right!?) we then made our way to the show.
Wow la Lido, what a show! I can certainly say I’ve never seen anything quite like it. There was “a lot” to be seen – think many many beautiful topless (and basically almost pantless) girls ferociously shaking what their mumma gave them. Chuck in some acrobats, contortionists aplenty, gymnastics, you name it. It made for a pretty entertaining, if a little peculiar show! We finished the night with yet more wine and cheese and head to bed ready for day 2.
Full of beans ready to explore our second day in Paris, we head for happily yet more French cuisine – pastries! It was quite magic sitting back a relaxing with a pastry and a coffee in a quintessentially Parisian coffee shop. Le Sully was an obvious local spot, just off the river, the perfect place to start our day people watching and planning our next steps.
We were blessed with wonderful weather so after breakfast we took a stroll along the River Seine, all the way up to Musee du Louvre. Ever iconic and the home place of the great Mona-Lisa painting. After we strolled passed the Hotel De Ville, back the Les Marais (inadvertently getting lost trying to find the Sacre Couer, don’t ask!). From Les Marais we walked all the way up to Montmarte. We choose to walk as much as we could in the day, which was especially nice given the sunshine, but the Metro proved a very efficient and easy means when we did ride it. By the time we reached Montmarte (and detour!) we were hungry for lunch. So lucky that we knew to go and visit Pink Mumma’s. What a spot!!! I couldn’t recommend this place highly enough. Gorgeous building, filled with gorgeous interior, enter glass and plants everywhere. Divine Italian cuisine. A true gem of a find in the city. Next we finally found the Sacre Couer, walked the many steps to see it up close and personal and take in the fabulous views of the city.
From our trip to Monmarte we found ourselves heading to tourist hotspot the Eiffel Tour, but choose to admire its beauty from a far as part of the scenery vs fighting off the tourist crowds to go up it. It really is a sight of true beauty and architectural genius. Breathtaking, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. It’s also surrounded by the most beautiful gardens, perfect spot for a picnic.
The evening took us to trendy hang out Canal St Martin. We sipped wine at trendy wine bar (and restaurant le verre voile. We originally went for dinner but it was super packed out. We were allowed to sip wine on the street, becoming completely immersed in the buzz of the city at night. We later ate at the Fuxee, which also proved a nice choice for dinner.
Already on the last day we decided it would be wrong not to make the most of another patisserie. The pastries are to die for! Nothing like what we get at home. French has got to be my all time favourite food! All of the beige, all of the YUM! After grabbing a pain au raisin to go we found ourselves back near the Notre Dame. There we found the most incredible coffee and bookshop Shakespeare & Company. An absolute must see if you’re in the city. The cutest book shop filled with little rabbit warrens of book cases after book cases. People reading and coffeeing to the hearts content. We grabbed a matcha latte whilst looking over the Notre Dame.
Paris really is the most beautiful city. When you get a chance to sit back and take it all in you see the French Revolutions influence on the buildings.The whites and greys of the buildings dazzle in the sunshine. The city is simplest form of chic from building to building. Speaking of chic, the capital is is obviously also very well known for its fashion. Wrong then to leave without browsing the Rue Saint Honore and the Place Vendome. Iconic fashion areas with top fashion houses and brands aplenty. Nearby Angelina’s also proving a wonderful stop off for their renown hot chocolate and cakes (we had the mille feuille which was to die for). Good for lunch too and definitely worth the visit.
A speedy trip back through the Luxemburg gardens, a glance at the Pantheon and we were then on our way back to Gare Du Nord – ready physically (but not really emotionally!) for our trip back to London.
Wanting to dabble in the French fitness scene? Why not try Chez Simone on the gorgeous Rue Ravioli? The perfect place to grab a boxing, circuits, yoga or pilates class. Then eat and chill in their beautiful cafe and lounge area. Another glorious option is a run along the River Seine, sightsee as you get your sweat fix, what could be better?
I can honestly say I didn’t ever feel the instant attraction to Paris in previous visits. My view was completely changed on this trip. I saw it in new light; with the help of the sun shining gloriously and seeing a new less touristic view of the city. By walking we really got to appreciate the local culture. We certainly made the most of the cuisine! It was an easy city to navigate once you found your barings. Uber works exactly the same as home for those late nights getting back, the French were (dare I say surprisingly) friendly and welcoming, the Metro was easily understood. Beautiful architecture. Wonderful sights. Incredible city vibe. Paris you’ve managed to win me over with your romantic charm. I can’t wait to go back!
I hope this can help give you a little insight into what a potential mini break could look like in Paris – especially if you’re in the foodie way of life! Please let me know any questions you may have or recommendations for the future – I’ll certainly be racing back soon!
Sending health & happiness,