It was a bit of a last minute decision we made to go to Paris for our first wedding anniversary. We only booked a number of weeks ago, and I am glad we did. We went early Friday morning and flew back late on Monday, so a long weekend. Because we booked so late the flights were quite pricey, about £400 for the two of us from Edinburgh. The accommodation was about £180, although more on that later! We flew Air France and immediately noticed a massive difference between flying with them as opposed to our usual Ryanair or Easyjet. The whole process was hassle free, it was a lot more chilled on the flight as you weren’t being constantly asked to buy random crap and you even got a drink and snack on board. We flew into Charles de Gaulle airport and got the Metro into Paris.
We stayed at the Mercure Opera Faubourg. It was just off Grand Boulevard a pretty Main Street in Paris. The hotel was well situated for the Metro and within walking distance of a lot of restaurants and bars. The hotel itself was not brilliant. Although it had a 3 Star Rating. The walls were paper thin and it didn’t really bode well on our romantic anniversary break when we could hear our next door neighbors conversations and movements including their toilet trips. It got so bad at one point I genuinely thought there was someone in the room. Also, the room had a weird shaggy carpet like you may find in a seventies throwback movie. I don’t recommend the hotel.
We had a busy few days in Paris, packing a lot in. So much so by Day 4, we were actually so exhausted that we put everything we had planned to do aside and instead chilled out in a McDonalds for a while and then got to the airport a few hours early and chilled out on these funky leather beds watching the planes taking off. It was strangely relaxing. (FYI Charles De Gaulle is a massive airport so it is worthwhile being there a tad early)
I have been to Paris before but one major difference I noticed was the increased security. Your bags were searched going near any tourist attraction and even shops. There were police and army presence everywhere we went. I am not sure if this was heightened due to the fact it was the Paris Marathon weekend.
The first thing we did was go up the Eiffel Tower. I would recommend pre-booking this. I was a little apprehensive as I am scared of heights. Well, not so much heights, but I get vertigo when looking down from some heights. You get a lift straight up to the second floor when there you can pay to go all the way to the top, although the second floor was fine for me. The views were incredible and you got a real sense of the scale of Paris. The thing I loved about Paris is that it is such a picturesque city. All the buildings are beautiful and so because it was such a clear day we got great views. The only wobbly bit I had was walking down the stairs from 2nd to 1st floor. I found it worse on the 1st floor for some strange reason and my legs started shaking. There are cafe’s and shops and photo opportunities on the different floors but it is easy to avoid that. If you are planning a trip to Paris I also recommend going to the Trocardo to get pictures of it too!
We got lots of different views of Paris and plenty of panoramas from different locations including the rooftop viewpoint of LaGallieries LaFayette (a massive department store, well worth a visit) as well as from the Pompidou Centre and behind the clock at Musee D’Orsay. Also, that’s where Blair Waldorf meets Prince Louis so you know iconic. Sacre Coeur is good for views, as it Montparnasse Tower although we never managed to get to either.
One thing that I really loved about Paris was the food! We had breakfast at Angelina, which has a world famous African Hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was so thick and creamy, you could eat it with a spoon. They had a special menu for breakfast where you got baguettes, pastries, hot chocolate and fruit juice. It was delicious! We did eat out at some quite nice places but all in all, it didn’t work out that pricey. It was really hot when we were in Paris so we had a lot of snacks throughout the day. We ate in the restaurant at Musee d’Orsay, which the menu does look quite pricey at first glance, however, we had a charcuterie board between us which was enough. Also, wine is cheaper than coke! I am going to write a post all about the food in Paris and where I recommend going so watch this space!
On the Saturday after our amazing breakfast at Angelina, we went to the Louvre. Something that is not too widely advertised is that if you are under 26 and an EU citizen (so do this whilst you can!) you can get free entry into most museums. Not only that but your passport is your ticket, so you don’t need to queue! The only place we needed to get a ticket was the Pompidou, we showed our passport and got a ticket in exchange.
So in one day, we went to the Louvre, the Orangerie, Musee d’Orsay and Pompidou all for free! Admittedly we are not really art fans. We went just because we felt we had to, there are some nice pieces etc, but by the time we got to Pompidou (the modern art museum) I was over it. I mean there were some iconic paintings but yeah I couldn’t spend hours looking at art.
Paris is stunning at night time as well as during the day. We went on a boat trip that we pre-booked on Expedia before we went. There were so many to choose from, party, dinner, sightseeing etc. We went for a basic 1-hour sightseeing one. It was good although had very limited commentary, there was a couple sitting next to us that had just gotten engaged which was cute. The Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour every hour after dusk. Make a point of going to see this. Also, take a trip to see the Louvre lit up at night and if your anything like me run around pretending to be Tom Hanks in the Da Vinci Code. I not afraid to say I spent half my holiday making comments about movies or tv shows whilst we were away. “This is where Serena and Chuck met for breakfast!” “This is where Carrie and Big got together!” “This is where Anne Hathaway throws her phone in the fountain!” “That’s where Jason Bourne stands on top of the building!” My husband has no idea what I was talking about, except the Jason Bourne reference.
We went to Disneyland for a day too. I loved it. We were uncertain about whether or not to go as it was so pricey but we are glad we did it! I’ll do a separate post all about it!
All in all, we had a fantastic time away. We are completely knackered and have totted up about 78500 steps or 36 miles! Paris you were brilliant by you have broken me!