Mo and I have been to Paris many times before, but we would return again and again. Recently, I was quite shocked to discover that a surprising number of people don’t share the same love for it as we do.
For us in the UK, Paris is a mere two hour flight, not long at all and perfect for a weekend getaway . Mo and I flew out earlier this year to celebrate his birthday. We took a Saturday morning flight there and a late Sunday afternoon one back.
Paris, for me, is not about fitting in as many tourist spots as you can. It’s not about ticking off everything in the guide book, or standing in queues to get into attractions.
It’s about leisurely strolling the streets, relaxing in cafes and seeing what comes up along the way. Forget all the romantic clichés, Paris is a wonderful place for all types of travellers to relax, people watch and rejuvenate.
Here are some of my favourite things to do in the city:
- Cafes. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or whenever I feel like a bite to eat and a drink, I saunter into the nearest one. Paris is famous for it’s café culture so you will find them everywhere. I always like to grab a seat outside, take in the surroundings and at least once a day, indulge in pastries or macarons (or both).
- The Eiffel Tower. You only ever need to go up the tower once but I would always recommend booking your tickets online if you can. The queues for the Tower at the weekend can be huge! Even after seeing it so many times, I can never get enough of it. My favourite place to admire the view is at Les Jardins du Trocadero, literally over the Seine from the monument. In the summertime, I could lay here all day, and I have done on a few occasions. A lot of locals come here to hang out. You’ll find teenagers dancing, kids swimming in the fountains, couples and families having picnics – the atmosphere is bliss. There’s always ice cream, waffles or crepe stalls dotted around too for some light refreshment.
- Find at least one or two up and coming restaurants or bistros to check out. Paris is full of great food joints, where not only the food is incredible, but from a design point of view, the venues themselves can be works of art. I’ve seen interiors vary from traditional brasserie simplicity to the quirky high tech avant garde. I’ve found there is always somewhere new to go and discover. One of our favourite meals ever was at a hidden restaurant on the Champs Elysee, Le 68.
- Book a centrally located hotel. The metro system in France is pretty fantastic, but having a city centre place to stay means you can make the most of walking to get places as Paris is, oh so beautiful. Last time we stayed at Hotel Le Pierre, ten minutes from the Champs Elysee and it was a great base point for us. Would most definitely stay there again.
- Learn to speak even just a tiny bit of French. It can’t hurt to learn a few phrases. I’ve found even a simple ‘Bonjour’ ‘merci madame’ etc. will not only be appreciated, but it always makes me feel like I actually belong in Paris. You’ll find most people do speak English, but it’s always nice to show you are making an effort, no matter what country you visit.
Even though our last trip was less than 48 hours, it was more than enough time for us both to once again fall in love with the magical city of Paris.