Last month my boyfriend Dan and I went to Paris for a long birthday weekend. I haven’t laughed so much in ages; we had glasses of red wine every night, french bread, some amazing meals, and some gorgeous strolls through the capital. Apart from on Saturday when the view from the Louvre showed black smoke rising in the distance from the shops and cars on fire in the Champs Elysees as Paris saw it’s 18th weekend of protests. We decided to walk in the opposite direction to the smoke and tear gas bangs, as you would.
Anyhoo, here’s what we got up too, and how to have the perfect long weekend in Paris.
We flew in the end as tickets weren’t too expensive – around 60 euros, but after adding luggage etc, it did all add up. Easyjet only do one carry on bag now, but their dimensions and images are misleading on the website. You can easily take a carry on suitcase and just pop your handbag in your bag for check in, to then get it out again on the flight.
The euro star was around £230 so not considerably more than what we paid for flights, but the flight is quick and we both slept the whole way. Dan took photos so I look forward to those coming out.
We basically walked everywhere on the first day, a nice 23,000 step stroll around Paris. Walking is definitely the best way to see the city, but it’s exhausting and the least efficient. The Metro is quick, easy and only 1,90 euro for a ticket to wherever you’re going. From Charles-de-guille airport it was about an hour to our hotel or central Paris, but pretty straightforward apart from the fact we arrived at rush hour.
Where we stayed
We stayed about a twenty minute walk from the Eiffel tour in the Nouvel Hotel. It was a great location for the metro, for restaurants, and Dan had arranged for flowers, wine and balloons to be in the room. CUTIE.
If you were staying longer than a long weekend then you’d probably find it low on storage space, or additional space if you had a large suitcase etc. But it was the ideal hotel for us. Clean, cosy, contemporary – dreams. The ceiling also had a pink sky on it, which was a quirky lil twist I appreciated.
Where we went
Um, everywhere. Dan had never been to the top of the eiffel tower, but sadly it was closed due to the wind the day we’d booked, so we only got to the second viewing platform, and even that was SO damn windy. If you want to go up definitely book in advance, I booked the week we went as there was only a 9:30am slot left, oops, safe to say we had a strong ass coffee in the queue that morning.
After that we walked towards the Champs Elysees through some backstreets, to the Arc Du Triumphe. Then walked to the top of the Arc – there’s a theme here eh? Also as we’re 25 and under – well I am by miles, Dan actually is 25 (poor man) – this was free, you just whack out your passport, and away you go. Same for galleries and museums, Louvre included.
The views were great, even if we were assaulted with the wind again. After that we strolled down the Champs Elysees very leisurely, it was slightly unbelievable that there was protests and shops burnt down there the next day. It’s a good old walk, then you reach Place de la Concorde, and we decided to leave the remainder of the the stretch from there – to the Louvre then further along Notre Dame – to the following day.
Dan booked for us to take a river cruise with champagne (dream man) and we so we travelled down the Seine for an hour or two, hard to remember how long exactly with alcohol and the amount of Chinese tourists that wanted to take photos with us the whole time. Yep, I’m not sure why either. I also mean that we’d take a photo together, then they’d stand in between us to take a photo with us… eh?
Sunday was a day full of culture, and a great pain au chocolat, that I mostly got all round my face, classy. We started off at the Louvre, after a nice long walk round the Jardin des Tuileries as the police had shut down all of Place de la Concorde down to the Arc in anticipation of the protestors.
Louvre was free, and it’s a stunning museum. The art is great, but the architecture is just as interesting. We explored for a couple of hours, saw Mona, saw some more Da Vinci and grabbed a bite to eat.
Then in the glorious sunshine (feat assaulting wind) we strolled back through the gardens across to Musee D’Orsay, as the L’Orangerie had closed early. We managed to pop in L’Orangerie the following day before our flight to see Monet’s WaterLilies and several other of his pieces. D’Orsay is an old train station converted into a museum – again the building is spectacular. D’Orsay also has a mass of fantastic artists including a whole room of Van Gogh.
After our cultural afternoon, we got the metro away from the tear gas bangs and towards Notre Dame, the sun was setting, need I say more?
As we walked around the inside of Notre Dame a service began; we listened for a while, lit candle and went in search of food. Basically our whole weekend consisted of – walk, ooh look at that, shall we eat? Repeat.
Where we ate
During the day we basically ate around wherever we were or on route to wherever we were going and it worked out really well.
On our first eve, the eve of my birthday, we had dinner at the end of our street at Au Roi du Cafe. The food and service was amazing. Actually, we ate around where we stayed two of the three nights and the food was amazing.
The second night we had insane burgers (with more wine) at La Tour de Nesle, again near our metro station Sevrelles. We’d also had lunch at a dreamy bakery that day, at Josephine’s just off the champs elysees. I would walk back to France for that bread. Dang. We also grabbed some macaroons at Laduree – because it’s obligatory right? Anyhoo, enlightened Dan on how dreamy they are. The coffee or salted caramel was probs the best. Great, now I’m hungry.
Sunday we struggled to find food (OH NO), very few cafes were open even though it was 11am. Luckily we found a bakery near the Pasteur metro stop La Boulangerie du 37 – which for two euros you got a pain au chocolat and an espresso, not too shabby. It was the only, but best pastry we had on the trip. Side note, coffee was great and pretty cheap throughout the trip.
Another note, I probably wouldn’t take cash again to Paris as the exchange rate both ways is awful. I had euros left over after the trip and for 60 euros, I could get £40! So I’ve finally got a Monzo card both to have a stricter budget month by month and for travel abroad.
Then Sunday eve we had the best dinner near Notre Dame. We had red wine, cheese, great bread, and steak. Ugh. Dreams.
All in all we had the BEST time.