If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll know that over the Easter weekend Dave and I headed to Paris for a city break. I hadn’t been to Paris in a very long time, we had never been together and for as long as we have been together, we’ve been planning on going. So needless to say, I was super excited about our trip.
There’s just something about the air in Paris, isn’t there? If you’ve been before you’ll know exactly what I mean. It just screams chic. The style, the architecture, the fashion, the attitude, the personality, the atmosphere. The effortlessness of it all is intoxicating and you find yourself wondering what your life would be like if you were born a Parisian.
We arrived late on Thursday evening so it was straight to bed for a good nights sleep, I had a lot planned so wanted to make sure we were both up to getting everything done. Our hotel was a small boutique hotel, and while it was fine, the location wasn’t really what we’d hoped for. We were staying in what we thought was Le Marais, but actually it was further out. So thank god for the Metro!
We did so much so I’m not going to go into everything, but rather share what the highlights of the trip were for me. And hopefully, if you’re off to Paris anytime soon, it will give you some tips on where to go and what to do!
Our first stop was the Moulin Rouge and Montmartre. I have always wanted to see the Moulin Rouge, as cheesy as it might be, I’m kind of fascinated with that period of Paris in the early 1900s; the champagne parties of the rich and famous, the artists, painters and writers who hung out there for inspiration, and the artistic movement in general around that time.
It seems like it was a great time to live. So it was great to see it in person and for a moment imagine what life would have been like back then.
Musée du Louvre
An obvious Tourist attraction, the Louvre is as much a monument as a museum. The infamous glass pyramid is the first thing that greets you as you arrive at the Louvre Palace, and alone is worth a visit. It’s quite a spectacular site to see and the setting of the Palace grounds that it sits in, are just stunning. Unfortunately unless you arrive very early however, it’s hard to take it all in with the thousands of tourists that gather there each day, but you can still appreciate the grandeur of the buildings and architecture.
You could easily spend an entire day wandering the halls and exhibits of the Louvre, but as we were pressed for time, we made our way straight to the Italian and Greek artists. As with most people who visit the Louvre, the Mona Lisa was the top of my list and it was amazing to see it in real life. Smaller than I imagined it to be, but amazing. Next on my list was the Venus Di Milo statue, which again was incredible. So much of art history is housed in the Louvre, and while I’m certainly no art connoisseur, we really enjoyed the few hours that we spent here.
Initially Pont Neuf was not on my plan for the trip, but for as long as I can remember, I wanted to go to the Love Lock Bridge in Paris. Traditionally this was the Pont des Arts, but in 2015, the French authorities had to remove all the love locks from the Ponts des Arts due to the weight of the locks damaging the infrastructure of the bridge.
Although I had read about this last year, I didn’t realise all the locks were gone so when we arrived to nothing but empty railings, I was so disappointed. That was until, I discovered that a new place had been designated to the Love Locks, the Pont Neuf.
Once I discovered this, we made our way to the Pont Neuf, lock in hand (because I am that cheesy), and added our lock to the thousands of others that reside there. Then we sat in the sun overlooking the water taking it all in. Even if you’re not a hopeless romantic, this is still worth a visit, even just to see the thousands of locks and messages that people have left there. Not to mention the stunning views it has of the city.
You can’t help but be overcome with warm fuzzy feelings there, I even asked Dave to propose to me again, just because it was so romantic. As you can imagine, he was having none of it! Although there was no second proposal, I loved it all the same.
Friends who travel to Paris a lot told me that Le Marais was the place to be, hence why we booked our hotel there (well what we thought was there). It is a historic district full of gorgeous boutiques, gourmet cafes, fashion houses and hip galleries and therefore a must for any trip to Paris.
I could have spent hours (and a lot of money) wandering through the small streets shopping, eating and drinking – the fact that the weather was glorious for our visit was an added bonus too. We went for lunch, strolled around the shops then found ourselves a lovely cafe where we sat drinking wine watching the world go by. The perfect way to while away an afternoon in the city of love.
There’s really not much to say about the Eiffel Tower as it speaks for itself. As you would imagine, it is a haven for tourists so this place is busy all the time. I read somewhere that it’s the most visited, paid monument in the world with over 20,000 visitors a day. So that might give you an idea of just how busy it is.
Because of this, we didn’t spend too much time here, but we did stroll around the Champ de Mars for a while taking it all in. You cannot come to Paris and not visit the Eiffel Tower, that infamous picture so many of us have in our minds of this city is the Eiffel Tower. But if you plan on going up the tower then be prepared for a long wait and lots of queuing.
L’Avenue is a restaurant located near the upscale area of Avenue George V, off the Champs Elysees and so many people recommended us going here. Over the years I’ve read loads about it, so it’s been on my wish list for a long time and finally I got here!
The restaurant is a combination of luxury interiors, tasty food and lots of hip and trendy Parisians, and is one of the places to be seen in Paris.
We booked in advance for lunch as it’s always super busy and spent the morning strolling along the streets taking in all the fabulous stores such as Chanel, Dior and Diane von Furstenberg. After a little shopping we arrived for lunch and we were not disappointed.
Champagne flowing, I ordered a Prawn Risotto and Dave went for a Mushroom Rigatoni, and they were delicious. I ate so slowly, savouring every bite it was that good. This was then followed by dessert which for me was a Lemon Sorbet with a Pecan Tuile, and a Tarte Tatin for Dave. Again delicious.
The restaurant isn’t cheap so be prepared to pay if you decide to go here. But for the food and the experience, it’s definitely worth it in my view. We had a lovely long lunch, and it made for the perfect afternoon. I’ll definitely be going back, especially as I discovered they do the skinniest fries I’ve ever seen, and skinny fries are my fav. I will need to have these in my life at some point!
Again after several recommendations and lots of hype, we paid a visit to Ferdi one night for dinner. It’s not what you might expect from a Paris restaurant given that it’s actually a burger joint but my god is it the best burger I’ve ever had. This restaurant is hidden away on a small quiet street in the Opera district, and unless you know about it, you’d probably never venture in.
The décor is red, like a lot of Parisian eating spots, but the interior is super fun and quirky with teddy’s, dolls and miniature cars dotted around the place. It’s small but cosy, with a great, relaxed atmosphere and the cocktails are delicious.
Given that it’s famous for its Cheeseburger and Churros, that’s what we ordered and we literally could have eaten it all over again afterwards. Not because we weren’t full, but because it was literally the best burger we ever had. So boldly delicious!
Le Petit Marché
Le Petit Marché is a little French bistro situated in Le Marais and I had heard loads about it so we added this to our list of restaurants and asked our hotel to book us a table. It’s small, it’s rustic and absolutely buzzing and we were excited when we arrived.
We both decided on Steak with pepper sauce, it was a little difficult to figure out the entire menu as neither of us speak French very well. As with a lot of Parisian restaurants, the staff did not speak English and there were no English menus. So if you decide to go here make sure you bring your dictionary si vous ne pouvez pas parler Français.
Our meal was so perfectly French, and I washed my steak down with a beautiful glass of Cotes du Rhone, as I did with so many of my meals in Paris and it was a lovely last dinner to have before bidding farewell to this fabulous city.
So there you go – a snapshot of our trip away. There was so much more that we did, and so much more that we wanted to do and didn’t get done. What better excuse to have to go back another time though.
We had such an incredible weekend and I can completely understand why people fall in love with Paris when they visit, it’s an intoxicating city in the best possible way and I’m already looking forward to planning another trip.
All that’s left for me to say now is Paris, J’Taime…