Ah Paris. What’s not to love?! The city of romance, chic style, stunning architecture and delicious delicacies. So, join me and lets escape!
We are so lucky in the UK to have numerous transport links to the French capital, by car, train, ferry or plane, meaning many of us have experienced the magic of Paris on more than one occasion. I have so many fond memories of the city- from childhood visits to Disneyland, to a girlie weekend with my mum and most recently the city my husband proposed in. Paris will always hold a place in my heart, and I still dream of having the opportunity to live there one day. Writing, drinking coffee and watching the Parisian world go by, could you think of anything better?
Where to stay in Paris
With so many districts to choose from, you really can’t go wrong when you pick your Parisian home for the weekend.
Thanks to one of my favourite blogs, TheMessyNessyChic I found the most perfect spot for our girls weekend. A tiny cream ‘dolls house’ hidden behind a plain wooden door on Rue des Martyrs, in the trendy South Pigalle (SoPi, to the boho crowd) area. Through said door, a stone corridor and yet another door, we entered a courtyard surrounded by four blocks of apartments. And one unique house in the centre, our home for the weekend.
Unfortunately, I can no longer locate the Airbnb host of this property, but there are plenty of amazing apartments in this area, which is close to Moulin Rouge, Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre, so do check them out before moving onto hotels if a home from home is for you.
Hotels more your bag? During our escape to Paris, Tom booked us into Atelier Montparnasse , located in the bohemian 14th District and a mere 25 minute stroll to the Seine.
Atelier is a charming and modern hotel, with an excellent breakfast to start your day! Yes the rooms can be very small, but standing at your window with the wrought iron Juliette balcony, you’ll get a real sense of Paris.
A weekend in a standard room in April is around £200 for 2 people.
What to see in Paris
There is so much to see, that you’ll definitely need more than one trip- but if you only have a weekend, the ‘must see’s’ are a good place to start.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is an excellent place to start your first day, this house of God is one of the cities most iconic features and sits on the banks of the beautiful Seine. Admission to the cathedral is free and it’s open between 7.45am and 6.45pm (7.15pm at the weekend), 365 days a year. If you have the time to explore the interior, you won’t be disappointed- if not, the exterior is just as breathtaking.
There is lots of little patisseries and coffee shops in the vicinity, so grab yourself a pew for an espresso and croissant for breakfast the Parisian way!
From here, we continued our stroll along the Seine, until we reached the famous Pont De Arts bridge. Not familiar? If you happen to walk across before they’ve removed the newest padlocks, then you’ll understand it’s fame. From 2008 to 2015, the Pont De Arts was filled with hundreds upon hundreds of Love Locks, which unfortunately, caused severe damage to the bridge which leads us to the Louvre. You won’t see many if you visit now, but I still love to stop and admire the more traditional Parisian bridges from the Pont De Arts,.
The Louvre is an absolute must. Closed on Tuesdays, the museum is open from 9am until 6pm or 9.45pm on a Wednesday and Friday. Admission is 15 Euros for over 18’s, and there is a few entrances to chose from. We queued for around 30 minutes, and it was well worth the wait, but you can beat the queues and book online. There is many permanent and temporary exhibitions at the Louvre and you wouldn’t even see them all if you spent your entire weekend here- so decide what’s most important to you and go from there.
For us, and many of you, it’s the Mona Lisa. There has been rumours of a private room for Da Vinici’s famous artwork, but when we visited she was still on the first floor within the 13th-15th century Italian paintings. And yes, the rumours are true, she is a lot smaller than you’d expect!
Once you have fulfilled your artistic side, enjoy a stroll under Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and through Tuileries Garden and explore the Grand Palais and Petit Palais area. Here you’ll find numerous statues including one of our very own Winston Churchill! You’ll also spy a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides from here too!
Depending on the time of year you are visiting, you may reach the Eiffel Tower in time for a spectacular sunset. Or in our case, no sunset and a terribly windy, grey August day! Whatever your weather, it’s worth every penny to take the lift up to the top. The better the weather, the longer the queue, so we were lucky to have the place pretty much to ourselves. Bad weather has its benefits after all!
You are looking at 25 Euros per person, but it’s a lovely way to see the city, which looks total different depending on which area you are facing.
If it’s a beautiful day, take a moment to sit back and take in your surroundings in the adjacent gardens or even see the city from the Seine on a boat cruise.
We took an hour long cruise with the Paris Pass and would totally recommend it.
Still some free time? Head on the Metro to Luxembourg Gardens, with a bottle of wine, fresh bread and cheese and soak up the last of the day.
It’s time to explore the utterly charming Montemartre! First on the agenda is Sacre Coeur and the second best views in the city. The Roman Catholic Church is located on the highest point in the city and the surroundings are nearly as beautiful as the church itself.
Grab yourself a take-away coffee, a breakfast croissant and take a seat on the steps below the Basilica to indulge in the breathtaking views.
Wander down from here and enjoy the winding streets, art noveau style shops and street art.
Eventually you will reach the famous cabaret Moulin Rouge! As showstopping as you would imagine, even from the outside, you can treat yourself to a peek inside if you book one of their daily shows.
Fancy some retail therapy? Carry on walking south towards the impressive Galeries La Fayette. This upmarket department store has a jaw dropping ceiling, and feels more like a fashion museum than a store at times. If you want to splash the cash you’ve come to the right place!
Once you are spent up, you’ll quickly find yourself outside the beautiful Palais Garnier, which is certainly worth a picture stop.
The best way to end your trip? A cabaret of course! We booked tickets for Lido de Paris which is located on Avenue des Champs-Élysées. With ticket prices at around 170 Euros, including a delicious 3 course dinner and drinks, it’s not cheap, but it was worth it.
At the top of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées you’ll even find the Arc de Triomphe another of our Paris must see’s!
Where to eat in Paris
Remember the film Midnight in Paris? If you are a fan, you can even eat at one of the film’s famous sets, Polidor Restaurant and join previous customers Ernest Hemmingway and Victor Hugo. The food is delicious but do note, they don’t take reservations and you can’t pay by card.
You can’t visit Paris and not try Laduree Macarons. Yes the queue will be out the door, but these little moreish treats deserve the time and wait!
A cocktail is the only way to end a weekend escape! Remember that amazing cocktail bar I visited in Berlin? Well you can visit the original Harrys New York Bar, in Paris! The bar that invented the Sidecar and called Ernest Hemmingway a regular, is a must.
Off the beaten track
If you love books as much as I do, then Shakespeare and company must be on your agenda! Filled with unique and best selling books, this famous bookstore now even houses it’s own coffee shop so you can sit and devour your latest novel.
I’d love to hear about your escapes to Paris!
Tempted to visit the French capital? Save the image below to your Pinterest!