I have just returned from a lovely weekend break at one of the worlds most fashionable cities – Paris. If you follow me on Instagram (or if you don’t, would be great if you do, link is here and I’m always looking for new people to follow!) you will have seen my little pictures highlighting my Parisian adventure, from shopping trips, to tourist attractions, to food, and of course, to drink. As I try to incorporate a travel piece into the blog every now and again, I wanted to produce a Paris round up for you incase any of you have a trip planned to this city too. So here we go, a whatemmadid.com version of what to see and where to visit in Paris…
Firstly, I am touching on Montmartre as this is the place where I stayed. I tried to locate a hotel in a decent area for tourists, which is also close to the center, with good transport links, has a very busy vibe yet safe at the same time. Montmartre fell into all these categories, and we stayed in the Best Western Montmartre Alize hotel. It was right in the hustle and bustle yet seemed very quiet at night so we managed a good night sleep! Breakfast was included and it wasn’t a little ‘crappy’ one either – although a fairly small buffet style, the breakfast offered cereal, croissants, pain au chocolate, toast, meats, eggs, cheeses, yoghurts, coffees, teas and juices. Perfect to set you up for the morning.
We found our days were fairly long during our weekend in Paris, and we wasn’t returning to our hotel until around 7.30-8pm in the evening, therefore we tended to nip into Montmartre for our evening meal. To say it’s a very Parisian and typically French place, there were actually a number of Italian themed eateries, and we went out for pizza and spaghetti bolognaise for our Friday and Saturday evening meals! However, they rrestaurants catered to the French way of life – seats outside all facing the road, filled with smokers and Parisian’s just watching the world go by. We ate at two restaurants close by to Place de Clichy underground, but really in MontMartre you can’t go wrong for restaurants as they are everywhere!
Being in Montmartre means that after dinner, you can have a stroll down to see The Moulin Rouge all lit up at night, a beautiful tourist attraction. Shows can be fairly pricey so maybe book in advance if you have your heart set on actually going inside and spending an evening watching the entertainment.
Montmartre has a lot of little bars down many small side streets which seems to be very narrow and filled with locals rather than tourists. However, they offer happy hour from the hours of 7-9 and this applies to cocktails too which are very extravagant and tasty! We found ourselves in a little bar behind the Best Western Montmatre Alize for two evenings, and as we were ‘on holiday’ we over indulged in creamy cocktails – and wow – the French know how to make a lovely White Russian! 4.50 euros for one is a really good price when in happy hour too, so do try and go out drinking around this time too.
How adorable is the way they serve an Amaretto and Diet Coke? A sweet little jug for the coke so you can pour to your preffered portion. Very cute!
Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysee’s and The Louvre
After exploring our ‘local’ area, it was then onto the typical tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Champs Elysees and The Louvre. I have visited these before but it was a good ten years ago, so I was more than happy to take my sister to see these typical French attractions. As the weather is going colder in October, I popped on a thick black fedora hat and snuggly Tory Twist Seam Check jumper from Missguided to embrace a day of walking around in the cold…
When visiting a lot of tourists attractions in one day, consider asking at the underground information desks for an all day ticket. We managed to get them for 7 euros for two of us which seemed ridiculously cheap, however they worked and we travelled around the central zones all day with them, so it’s worth asking rather than using the machines.
From the Eiffel Tower (where we managed to witness a marriage proposal – was expecting that!) we walked all the way to Saint Germain and then into The Latin Quarter. What a beautiful part of Paris! If your into designer shopping, quaint cafes, crepes and cakes, markets and unique stalls, then you are in the right place. This is a part of Paris filled with locals which oozes style and sophistication. You have huge standalone Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton stores, along with the very first Diptique store, as well as independant Parisian designer boutiques retailing exclusive collections. We even passed a live brass band on the street, followed by rows of market stalls selling the prettiest of gifts – embroidered slippers, clothes bags and garments, and handmade soups smelling of every scent possible. Oh and I almost forgot, this is where I lost myself to Sephora hell – yes that’s right, put me into this cosmetic genius store and I won’t appear for hours! If your a cosmetic junkie like myself then you will have to visit this store if you head to Paris. Why they haven’t launched into the UK yet is beyond me.
Oh and did I mention how amazing the patisseries over there are? My sweet tooth was crying out in joy…
If you have a love and genuine interest for art, design and arcitechture, then it is worth spending a few hours visiting The Louvre. The building is iconic in itself, with its beautiful glass pyramid. There are so many different types of exhibitions and displays to check out – ancient history from all parts of the world being one of the main focal points- that you could easily get lost in The Louvre!
If you have time, do try to visit the legendary Laduree for it’s world famous macarons. Laduree on the Champs Elysee has queues that literally lap the building, so maybe avoid that one unless you have time on your side. Not only do they do small standard sized macarons, they also do giant ones that look like mini sandwiches! Amazing!
I have to include this as it is really quite funny… if your feet are killing after hours of going up and down the Champs Elysee for a spot of shopping like what we did, beware of the cafe prices! We treated ourselves like mini queens with a cappucino, glass of chablis and a selection of nibbles including cakes, olives and nuts but were hit with a very high bill! A glass of Chablis cost 18 euros, and my coffee alone was 12 euros… they tasted great… but so they should for that price. Ouch.
A place that is worth paying a visit to on a Sunday is Le Marais. Note that shops are all generally closed on a Sunday so don’t leave your shopping until the last minute, or else you’ll be slightly unhappy to see rows of closed stores. Le Marais however, is bustling on a Sunday. The shops are more boutique style, but it’s all about the dining experience – it seems to be very popular for falafel eating and outdoor crepe stalls, and lots of cute coffee shops! The streets are cobbled and the locals are out in force. It’s a real beautiful insight to Paris and a place I wished I had more time to explore.
I visited Paris as a congratulations weekend away for my twin sister, and was really happy with all the places we visited and the hotel I chose to stay in. If your planning a trip to this fashion capital anytime soon, do feel free to drop me an email or tweet to ask about anything in more detail, and I’ll happily help!