When I first started travelling at 19, my first time abroad was Paris. Ever since I was 19, I think I have returned to Paris more around 12 times (see other posts here
) That is a lot. Of course, Disney being one of the main reasons. However, in the past few years I have found myself accompanying people who have never been and wanted to go (and had no one to go with!) and I never turn down a trip.
Yet, no matter how many times I return it still feels brand new to me. Despite those rumours that it is “Tired” and “Exactly like London” I say don’t listen and take the leap to see the city. Another tip from me is to take it as a city break, not the romantic “city of love.” Trust me.
This time I returned to the city with my new partner, back in December. He has never seen any other part of Europe besides our recent trip to Norway (!!!!) so I thought I’d take him to a “classic” place. I didn’t do any tours for this trip but I tried to be the best tourist I could possibly be for him. Even stopping to pose for a photo pinching the top of The Louvre!
There was an advertisement on Facebook around October time for £39pp each way for the Eurostar. I took this opportunity and booked an Air B&B to really keep the cost down for this trip (as he was paying!) I also got to experience the new Sea Odyssey on my smart phone in the tunnel… it was actually really fun to do!
After arriving in the afternoon (to rain!) we trudged to our temporary studio apartment to drop off our things, change our soggy socks and wait a few moments for the rain to pass over.
Each year Gallery Lafayette takes Christmas very seriously and has incredible window displays and decorations. I’d personally never seen it before so this was my first destination for the day.
After walking and exploring the little side streets for the rest of the day, we ended the night by taking a trip to the Moulin Rouge. We didn’t head inside; this was way out of budget but still pretty to look at.
You all know what I am going to say next… Yes, I made a trip to Disney on the Friday. I have been so many times but as you all know, it is a massive love of mine and I had never seen it at Christmas! Main Street was so lovely with “snow” falling from the buildings, but later came the real snow and freezing rain! It was so cold! We watched the new fireworks show Illuminations and it was truly magical.
The final full day of Paris was a late start and a breakfast made in our apartment. Surprisingly we didn’t eat out for breakfast at all throughout our trip. It was really nice to just pop in to a Mono Prix and buy a few essentials. We really saved a lot of money doing this (unexpectedly!) and if you are just after a breakfast pastry in the morning, even if you’re staying in a hotel (and breakfast is not included) it may be worth just heading over to a super market.
As the sun was setting, we head on over to the Eiffel tower. It only dawned on me while we were there figuring out what to do next that I haven’t ever seen the Eiffel tower sparkle. We realised that we were going to be around for the first one of the evening, so we found a little spot with the perfect view and waited. It was really quite special and surprisingly not what I expected. I thought the Eiffel tower had built in lights but the sparkles are actually a really fast projection of stars!
In total, I walked around 32 miles and definitely put on more weight with sweet treats! It would be rude not to. Although I can never tire of Paris, I think I might skip it in 2018 if I can…there is so many European countries to visit on my wish list. I’ve put together a few recommendations below that I think you should give a go!
- Sweet Treats to try: Buy Macarons from Pierre Hermé, they’re much nicer! and try the Meringue sweets from Aux Merveilleux de Fred. Amazing!
- Tourist Tips: Buy The Catacomb tickets in advance. Average wait time is around 3 hours otherwise.
- The Eiffel Tower is currently boarded up at the base so there is no greenery at the moment like the photos and there is only one way in to access the tower (which is at the back) which you now need to go through security checks for (which is understandable).
- Food: Try to avoid places with a separate English/other language menu. These places are over priced/have different prices for tourists and the quality of food is poor. Most, if not all French restaurants that have menus outside have English written underneath the dish if you are really struggling.
What is your favourite part of Paris? Did I miss any sweet streets off my list above? Let me know!