Paris is such an iconic city. Fun fact: I actually won a trip there when I was 6 years old. I entered a competition through my French club and sent a cassette tape (yes I did say CASSETTE TAPE… 90’s kids, ya feel me) of me singing the french nursery rhyme ‘Allouette’. That tape represents the one, single time in my life where somebody thought my singing was good, good enough that they gave me and my family a 3 night trip to Paris, anyway! It’s strange, because I don’t really remember that holiday. I have a vague memory of walking around Monet’s gardens, having seen his paintings and pretending I was in one! But I don’t remember the city AT ALL.
Following my success at tiny tots French club, I went on to study French to A- level at school. Paris was a place I spent 4 hours a week talking about for so long. It felt really surreal stepping off the Eurostar into a city that felt both familiar and brand new all at once.
My Eurostar arrived at the Gare du Nord on Friday evening, where my lovely fiancè was stood on the platform waiting for me! We stayed in a gorgeous little hotel in Saint Germain des Près, which turned out to be my favourite area in Paris…. so much so, that I think it deserves it’s own blog post – so keep a beady eye out for that one! After checking in, we headed over to Chez Fernand where we had the most delicious Boef Bourginon (and also, where I spoke, and was spoken TO, in French the entire time… *hair flick*), and then spent the evening wandering through Saint Germain.
On Saturday morning we were up bright and early, and headed straight to Café de Flore for la petit dejeuner. This café is one of the oldest in Paris, and it’s one of the best places to sit and watch the world go by. The café culture is one of my favourite things about Paris. It’s exactly as it’s portrayed in films. People sat in the coolest clothes reading their paper whilst sipping on an expresso, and puffing on a cigar. SO CHIC.
After the most delicious croissant I’ve had in my life, we started our walk around Paris. We crossed over le Pont des Arts to the Louvre museum, took that classic pinch the pyramid photo, and then made our way to le Palais Royale.
Next, we headed for Angelina’s, ‘cos I heard they do the best chocolat chaud in town! I’m going to do a whoooooole post on sweet treats in Paris, so I won’t go into too much detail here… but suffice it to say. I still think about that hot chocolate. A lot.
With our blood sugar at a record high, we headed down through le Jardin des Tuileries to the Champs Élysées, Paris’s most famous road. It was like a cross between the Mall and Oxford Street. Très cool. We walked down to the Arc de Triomphe, picked up some macarons and then went off to search for the symbol of Paris – the Eiffel Tower.
We sat on the grass at the Trocadero and ate our macarons, with the Eiffel Tower providing the PERFECT backdrop.
Next, we decided to take the Metro up to the Sacre Coeur, a beautiful cathedral in the north of the city. The Sacré Coeur is gorgeous. It’s a shame it’s ruined by the gangs of street sellers that make you feel unsafe. I had read it was best to avoid this area at night, but we went at around 2pm and felt like we had to cover our pockets. Not only that, but the Sacré Coeur has two staircases leading to the church – one on either side. On both sides, there were gangs of men trying to sell bracelets. But they formed a physical barrier blocking the entire path. Then they GRABBED people, including my fiancé, physically pushing them back until they bought their bracelet. I’m not usually confrontational, but I shouted at this guy telling him this was assault, and to stop touching people. He let us pass, but we didn’t feel like staying long knowing we had to go back down through these men. There was such a strong police force throughout the rest of the city, but up at the Sacré Coeur? de Rien! Odd.
For dinner that evening we went for Italian (my fiancé had been eating French food for a week, and was craving something a little different). We ate at Alfredo Positano, and it was delicious (especially the bruschetta)! After dinner, we picked up some more macarons (we spent a hideous amount of money on these little balls of deliciousness), and walked to the Eiffel Tower for sunset. Sitting there, munching on a macaron, watching the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower, was honestly one of those pinch me moments. It was the best way to spend a spring evening. Paris is truly such a magical city that I can see myself going back to time and time again ♥… now just excuse me while I pop on over to the Eurostar website.
I made a video diary of our time in this gorgeous city – bear with me – I’m used to taking photographs not videos (!) But I really wanted to start creating these video diaries to go alongside my blog posts for even more lovely memories, and everyone has to start somewhere, right!?
My Paris Post Series:
- Paris: Falling in Love with the City of Love
- Saint Germain de Pres: My favourite Parisian Neighbourhood
- Macaron Madness: My guide to sweet eats in Paris
- A Photographers guide to Paris