Paris, the city of love and one of my absolute favourites. I have been to Paris several times now, having family that live in the outskirts and would love to return many times in the future. There is so much to see, do and experience in this beautiful city.
Last July Pete and I paid the city a visit, but with only a day to explore, it was jam-packed with excitement and adventure. In the 10 hours we had, we managed to see the majority of the major sites, as well as stopping for a beautiful lunch and picking up some sweet treats along the way… but more of that later!
We started at one of the monuments France is most famous for and that you have to go and see when in Paris… The Eiffel Tower. Knowing we had lots to see and do in a day, we didn’t queue up to climb the tower but instead admired from below before walking to The Arc de Triomphe.
The Arc de Triomphe, another famous Parisian monument, has 12 arterials radiating out from the central giant arch, which was built in the early 1800’s. We stopped for a few minutes to people watch as the mass of cars attempt to navigate their way around the complex roundabout surrounding the monument. With a lot of beeping horns and near misses, a drive around this road maze is not for the faint-hearted.
From The Arc de Triomphe we headed straight down Avenue des Champs-Élysée, possibly the most famous avenue in the world, stopping off for a spot of shopping along the way. If you follow the avenue all the way to the end, you end up heading into the centre of Paris. On the way we walked by the Grand and Petit Palais then continued on to Place de la Concorde, where you can see beautiful fountains and Cleopatra’s Needle. The Jardins des Champs-Elysées are particularly beautiful in the summer months and Parisians sit out in the sun, or under the shade of the perfectly shaped topiaries.
Continuing through the gardens, we came to the magnificent glass pyramids of the Louvre – a juxtaposition to the old traditional elements of the famous museum and gallery. Being under 25, we were able to pop into the Louvre for free, so took the opportunity to see a few famous pieces, including the Mona Lisa. Hundreds of people were gathered round the famous piece, a little bigger than a piece of A4 paper, so you have to wait a while to get your snap with Mona.
After our brief visit to the Louvre (you could easily spend a whole day in there), we decided to stop for a late lunch at a beautiful traditional french restaurant in Place Saint-Michel, enjoying steak frites with white wine, followed by creme brulee.
In the afternoon we stopped off for some sweet treats I’d heard so much about. Firstly from the Notre Damn area we walked across the Seine to the island of Île Saint-Louis to get a famous Berthillion ice cream. The salted caramel and vermicelli ice creams I had tasted like no other ice cream I had ever tried – some say it is the best in the world!
The second sweet treat we had to pick up whilst in Paris were macarons from one of the three Pierre Hermé boutiques. Having read that Pierre Hermé macarons are simply the best in Paris, I thought I’d see for myself and picked up a box to sample. With flavours such as milk chocolate and passionfruit, salted butter caramel, and pistachio and raspberry compote, these macarons did not disappoint, so be sure to pick some up on your visit!
We tried to visit the cemetery Père Lachaise, resting place of many famous people, but it was closed, so continued to make our way on, up the hill of Montmartre to walk around the markets, see the street painters and loose ourselves in the cobbled streets of the historic neighbourhood. Montmartre is a great place to find a nice restaurant to sit outside with a glass of wine in the early evening.
Be sure to take the Funiculaire de Montmatre up to the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur. From the cathedral there is a beautiful view overlooking the city of Paris (see the header image to this post). We sat on the grass bank watching the world pass us by as we enjoyed our macarons before making our way back down to the Seine to sit on the riverbank as the sun set; the perfect ending to our Parisian adventure.
What are your favourite things to do and places to visit in Paris? Leave a comment below!