Oh my God.
I really didn’t want to be one of those people who typically picks Paris as their favourite European city, but Paris is my favouite European city. Well … so far! I visited in October 2014 and the weather was incredible. I was actually a bit annoyed as I had typically packed lots of layers (we were visiting Prague as a second leg of the journey) and logically I thought I would need layers and tights in the middle of Winter but it turned out to be about 20 degrees.
Anyway… fashion crisis aside the main reasons I love Paris so much are:
- The buildings, sites and architecture.. especially Notre Dame
- The size of it … HUGE!
- The people watching. Fashion and tiny dogs everywhere.
- The Art
- The wine
- The language
We booked a studio flat through AirBnb in the heart of Le Marais. This is the historic district of Paris and right in the centre of everything really. From the airport you take the train to Chatelet and our studio was a 10 minute walk from there. The cost was €75 a night and we stayed for four nights.
The metro system is great in Paris but the weather was so warm we actually walked everywhere except to the Eiffel Tower & Disney. My favourite thing of all time in Paris is Notre Dame Cathedral. I must have taken about 10 photos of it every time I walked by. It literally takes my breath away!
We walked along Champs – Elysees and bought absolutely nothing …oh except a Mc Flurry ice-cream! It’s such a lovely walk and The Arc de Triomphe at the end was just stunning!
We visited the Louvre and I was dying to see the Mona Lisa. I didn’t build it up too much in my head as I had heard it was pretty small so to be honest when I eventually did see it ( after queuing for nearly 25 minutes) I wasn’t that blown away by it… terrible I know! I was however really excited to see ‘the virgin on the rocks’ by Leonardo because I’d studied that picture for leaving cert Art History.
Me with long hair!
Here I am sweating in all black!
Close to our studio was the Pompidou Centre which had lots of cool things going on during the day. Twice we sat and drank wine in a restaurant overlooking the Beaubourg fountain and watched street artists, dancers and entertainers. The wine was delicious.. obviously!
We took a day trip to Disneyland Paris which at the time seemed great however since then I’ve been to Orlando and there is no comparison really! I was a bit hesitant about going to Disney, it’s hardly the most ‘cultural’ thing to do but I was travelling with a 27 year old 4 year old so I didn’t get much say in the matter. My main negatives from Disneyland was the toffee apples aren’t actually made from toffee at all and there was nothing from Frozen there! I suppose it’s great being a big kid for the day and running around with ears on and not a care in the world but the price of tickets is ludicrous at €84 per adult for one day.
Then there’s the Eiffel Tower which of course is spectacular. I had been up it before on a school trip so this time we decided to just stay on the ground and take silly photos! I kind of wish now we went at night time as I heard you can sit along the bottom drinking your own wine wrapped up in blankets which sounds really cute.
One particularly fun and unexpected thing we did was to sit down at the river Seine one night and listen to a group of buskers. It was one of those surreal moments where locals sold us bottles of wine from their backpacks and groups of friends were up dancing. Out of all the historical monuments and sites we saw, this moment is probably one that stands out the most in my mind from that Paris trip! I love when you find yourself in a situation you never would have even imagined.
Many people perceive Paris as being extremely expensive but I think it is possible to do a lot on a medium sized budget. There are so many patisseries and coffee shops where you can get great pastries, cakes, quiches and coffees. For evening dining, we kept things quite simple focusing more on the wine, cheese, olives and street style savory crepes then the frogs legs and other delicacies!
As I said Paris is huge and there is plenty to see, so much so that I need to go back and visit everything I missed out on!
I hope you enjoyed reading,