From Thursday to Sunday last week I was in Paris with my boyfriend. I’ve always wanted to go and I was not disappointed. Paris is a gorgeous city and the architecture is absolutely amazing. I can understand why this is one of the most romantic cities in the world.
We took the Eurostar train from London to Paris on Thursday morning and we arrived at Gare du Nord International around 11am. We then walked to our hotel, which was only about a five minute walk from the train station. Could not be more perfect. Our hotel was the Paris Est Lafayette on 7 Rue Des Petits Hotels and I was very pleased with everything about it. The hotel itself was simple but nice and the rooms were pleasant and clean. We had included breakfast which was very good and I really liked that the hotel was very central. There were several metro stations around or you could walk. It took us about 15 minutes to walk to the spectacular Sacrè Cæur, which is an amazing cathedral where the view over Paris is breathtaking. It is also free to go inside the cathedral. In this area you will also find Moulin Rouge, the trademark windmill of arguably the most famous cabaret in Paris. This part of Paris is also called Montmartre where artists are trying to find their muse. We had dinner here on Saturday night at Chez Eugene Montmartre, a restaurant I recommend. The food was great, it was not so expensive and the waiters wore cute little French outfits.
We also visited Louvre, which is famous for the Mona Lisa and from the film The DaVinci Code. We didn’t go inside as we had heard on the train and read in our Lonely Planet book if you are not very interested in art then it’s not worth visiting inside as you will feel overwhelmed, unfulfilled, exhausted and frustrated after walking around endlessly and not finding what you’re looking for. But if art is your interest then I believe Louvre is perfect. I had fun simply being on the outside. But if you do visit Paris you should be aware of the people who are trying to scam you. They pretend to find a gold ring on the ground, pick it up and then try to give it to the tourists like the ring is meant to be for them. Obviously they want money for it because they found a beautiful ring and gave it away when really it cost nothing and they are trying to earn money. We saw someone who had walked right into a trap like this, but they were running away in the end when they realised what was happening.
Visiting the Eiffel Tower is a must when in Paris and of course we found our way to the magnificent landmark. We were determined to queue up to get to the top, but when we got there we were told that the upper level was closed. We could not really understand why, but we still wanted to go up as high as possible. We then decided to be brave and walk the stairs to the second level. And oh my god, it was 671 steps (yes we counted). But the view was worth it, and we didn’t have to queue up to take the lift. It was extremely windy when we reached the second level, and I guess that is why the top was closed. We came back here in the evening to see the tower with lights and everything and it was so beautiful. I had bought a tripod for my camera a while ago and tested it out and I managed to take some amazing photos of the tower at night. Also in the evening, there is a light show for five minutes every hour on the hour.
Walking the stairs up the Eiffel Tower was not the only stairs we walked; we also walked to the top of the Triumphal Arch, which is the middle of the place Charles de Gualle, the world’s largest traffic roundabout and the meeting point of 12 avenues. That was another 284 steps. We have been walking a lot during our three days in Paris, but it has been worth it.
Since I was a little girl and saw The hunchback of Notre Dame, I have always wanted to see this famous cathedral and we saw it at night and in daylight. It was amazing and like Sacrè Cæur it was free entry. But to go up and see the view you had to pay, but I thought it was worth it. We didn’t see Quasimodo though.
Next to Notre Dame you have the famous Latin Quarter where you will find several markets, shops and restaurants. We had dinner at Le Pre Grill where you could buy a three course dinner for €10 (about £8) and the service was excellent. You will also find Paris’ most famous English-language bookshop here, Shakespeare and Company. Well worth visiting if you’re interested in literature.
Did you know that they also have the Statue of Liberty in Paris? Well, we walked for ages in order to try and find it and I have to admit that it was not really worth it. It was far away from everything and small. I would much rather recommend walking across the bridge Pont des Arts. For now it’s a little secret what was there, but I will post about it closer to Valentine ’s Day.
I really liked Paris and I would love to go back someday. It was a bit too cold when we were there so next time I would like to go closer to summer. But I had a great and romantic time and I feel like I can truly say that I have seen Paris.