I’m always up for a cheeky travel adventure. So when my Insta (and now real life) friend asked if I fancied a break in Paris I said ‘Oui Oui Madame’ and ran to my computer to look at Eurostar deals.
The Eurostar is such a stress free way to escape to the French capital. Its a modest train ride away, and thanks to the customs clearance before you step on board, you can just hop off on the other side with no queues or questions.
Now, I didn’t realise how nice it would be to take a trip with a fellow Insta addict. Firstly, they’re into pretty things just as much as me, therefore don’t mind me stopping every 5 minutes to take a picture of a building or a view. Secondly, they are up for visiting all the cool spots in Paris even if it means cramming in a few on one day. Lastly, they know how to take a cracking pic, cue extra OOTD shots btw @pepperpaperstyle you’re a legend!
Below I’m gonna share some of my favourite places in Paris and the hotspots you should definitely be including in your trip. For outfit details you can follow me on Instagram here.
1) LA TOUR EIFFEL
Probably my most favourite monument in the whole world. There is something special about The Eiffel Tower that instantly steals your breath. Now I’m sure this effect dies down if you’re actually lucky enough to live in Paris, but I have to say, I have seen it a dozen times and I’m still awestruck EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Completed in 1889, it measures in at 324 metres tall and is said to shrink by about six inches in cold weather (just like me).
You can go right to the top to enjoy amazing views over Paris. I would advocate taking the lift, the stairs aren’t for the faint hearted/vertigo sufferers. It is always surprisingly chilly up there – so add an extra layer if you can.
Top Tip: Head to the wall opposite on the Avenue de New York to capture a lovely pic or Rue de l’Universite if you want a stunning full length shot of her in all her glory.
2) ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Another must-see Paris landmark, the arc is actually much older than The Eiffel Tower having been completed in 1836. It sits in the centre of a roundabout with 12 avenues radiating from it. You can see this more clearly from the top when you go up.
The views are really pretty from each of the roads too and there are some cute cafes in this area to grab a Parisian coffee and soak in the views.
Top Tip: Go underneath the arch and look up at the beautiful carvings. You will also find inscriptions of the names of French generals from the first French empire.
3) NOTRE DAME
Not a hunchback in sight, but a must if you’ve ever seen the movie and want to get a closer look at that famous Medieval cathedral.
With French gothic vibes and stained glass, the landmark is well worth a view. It sits on an island in the middle of the River Seine and is a beautiful walk along the river away from the Louvre.
Top Tip: Try and go early in the day before the crowd really builds up (there’s not a great deal of space in front of the Cathedral) and take a shawl to cover your shoulders.
4) THE LOUVRE
Probably the most famous pyramid in Paris, and home of that famous Mona chick 🙂
A trip to the Louvre can easily take up a day of your Paris trip. There are some spectacular works of art inside and for all you culture buffs out there it is enjoyable strolling round the magnificent corridors soaking it all in. A word of warning, the Mona Lisa is insanely popular, therefore there can be a queue to have a close look and theres pressure to get out of the way for the selfie brigade. Maybe try and get to her early?
Without sounding ignorant, my favourite part is the beautiful glass pyramid adorning the entrance and the walk up to it through Tuileries Garden under the Carrousel du Louvre.
Top Tip: Don’t visit museums hungover or sleepy. The sleepiness will intensify and I’m telling you there is nowhere to nap in that joint!
5) LES DEUX PLATEAUX
We’ve all seen the cool black and white stripes on popular rotation on Instagram. But what are they for?
Constructed in 1985 they are an art installation created by Daniel Buren on the Palais Royal’s former car park. Nestled inside the courtyard, they have been designed to hide ventilation shafts which can be seen once you’re there, but mainly, they just look cool and remind you of humbugs/the geordie football (soccer) kit.
Top Tip: Walk diagonally across the courtyard and take in the monochrome view.
6) MOULIN ROUGE
Just below one of my favourite districts in Paris is the famous red windmill which houses the world famous cabaret show.
The Moulin Rouge was originally a place which naughty minxes (courtesans) operated from in the early 1900s. Now, thanks in part to the famous film, it’s a bucket list item and an absolute must-see for any Paris visitor. If you get a chance, definitely go see the show.
Even if you’re not normally a cabaret fan, this is a spectacle that’s worth the ticket price. It’s fun, it’s silly, but most of all it’s fabulously French!! They showcase the world famous Can-Can and the costumes are just insane! I have to say you do feel like dancing a little bit and flinging your legs in the air when you leave (maybe its the bubbles).
Top Tip: Book Champagne with your ticket, its much cheaper than buying a bottle when you’re inside.
7) RUE CREMIEUX
Or rainbow street as I like to call it. I almost didn’t include this spot in my Paris hitlist.
With signs saying ‘no photos’ pinned to some of the brightly coloured window shutters you cant help but feel that you shouldn’t be there.
I can understand why the locals prefer the quiet life, but having said that it is just a beautifully breathtaking street which is a delight to experience. The architecture itself is very pretty but the rainbow painted houses are just a dream.
It’s well worth a walk down the street admiring all of the colours one at a time.
Top Tip: Remember it is a residential street and people actually live inside those ridiculously beautiful houses. If you want photos maybe try and do it discreetly and respectfully as you go, you can always can-can loudly later when you go and see the Moulin Rouge.
Situated on the tip of a hill, Montmartre is one of the foodie districts of Paris and home to many a beautiful scene like the stunningly pink La Maison Rose.
It contains beautiful cobbled streets and winding roads with plenty of places to stop and refuel as you go.
On the top of the hill is the Sacre Coeur; a Roman Catholic church which is just hauntingly beautiful inside and well worth a visit. It has a beautiful calm feeling within which is not to be missed, I actually felt really spiritual when I went inside. Again try and dress modestly and take a shawl to cover your shoulders in the hot summer months.
Whilst in the area I highly recomend the crepe stand on Rue Joseph de Maistre. Best. In. Paris. Order a crepe with the Speculoos spread, you’ll thank me later. La Grenier a Pain down the road is also worth a visit for your daily croissant/bread fix.
TOP TIP: With many a slopey street and tricky pavements to navigate, leave your high heels at home – experienced high heelers only!
WHERE TO EAT
Aspic: Amazing French cuisine
Don’t miss this place! Step through the classic Parisian velvet door curtain into a down-to-earth dining room where the food is the star of the show. Chef Quentin Giroud serves up a seasonal menu of Michelin star-worthy food at an absurdly reasonable price. There’s no menu, just make yourself comfortable as the chef himself presents you with a 7 course tasting extravaganza – it is OUT OF THIS WORLD! It is in no way a stuffy place, the staff are so friendly and super welcoming. I’ve been twice, but I wouldn’t hesitate to go again!
Rouge Bis: Directly opposite the Moulin Rouge
I’ve eaten here before the famous show and it was surprisingly fabulous. The cheese board is a must and I loved their salads!! Wine was tasty too, and considering its prime location opposite the Moulin Rouge, the prices are pretty reasonable.
Kong: For the views and the photos and the die hard SATC fans like me
This place does not fare well on trip advisor and I have to say I am in agreement with a lot of the reviews online. The service is slow, and the food is very pricy, but the view is divine. Maybe pop in for a cocktail and dessert only 🙂
Bistro 25: Good for a Champs Elysees pit stop
Situated at the bottom of the main road, it didn’t disappoint on snacks and wine. Order the snails if you’re feeling adventurous 😉
It might seem a bit excessive discussing Macarons in a separate category, but I am crazy over these miniature french delicacies.
Without a doubt try a few, but my favourite places are
Biscuiterie de Montmarte
WHERE TO STAY
If money was no object then choosing a hotel in Paris would probably involve a daily breakfast overlooking the Eiffel Tower in all her glory and cost several hundreds per night.
If like me, you’re on a more down to earth budget, I would highly recommend the ASOTEL Hotel Chain.
Friendly, comfortable hotels offering free daily pastries and snacks which you can pop in and enjoy in any one of their 16 locations across Paris. The rooms are typically sized for Paris and each has a different quirky decor. I would totally recommend!!
Hope you enjoyed reading!
I’m off to save up for my next trip now…..