As a birthday treat we went on a trip to Paris, somewhere I had always wanted to visit, and it didn’t disappoint! It’s no wonder it is named one of the most romantic cities in the world!
For anyone wishing to visit Paris, the cheapest method of getting there is to fly with Ryanair to Paris Beauvais airport, followed by a coach transfer to Porte Maillot (1 hour 20 mins approx). From there you can take the metro to your accommodation location, we found that the option to buy 10 trips for €13 was best for us, and this lasted us for the whole 4 days we were in Paris; a lot of walking also involved, but this is the best way to explore the streets of Paris! Although getting lost is a good way of finding things, I’d suggest picking up some maps from the metro information desks whilst getting these tickets (both a map of Paris and the metro system).
We decided to rent an apartment, meaning we were right in the heart of Paris in the 3rd arr, walking distance to Bastille, Cathédrale Notre Dame and The Louvre; working out cheaper than getting a hotel. There are hundreds of studio apartments nestled into the backstreets of central Paris which may be an option when coming to planning your holiday. (You can find apartments here.)
On our first day we ventured straight out to the Eiffel Tower, after seeing it in so many photographs and films, it still didn’t feel real when stood beside it. It is best to get here as early as possible to beat the queues, but we decided to take the stairs to the second level (it isn’t quite as bad as it looks!) saving money and time!
After visiting the Eiffel Tower we went to see other attractions like the Arc de Triomphe, Cathédrale Notre Dame and even just exploring the streets filled with typical Parisian cafe’s. Our last stop was the Louvre, which was a bit of a mistake leaving it until later in the day. The structure in itself is amazing, but that is only the entrance to the art gallery. To see the art works inside the Louvre, this could possibly take up to one whole day with the size of the gallery. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of the gallery with it only being open for another hour, but we did make sure that we saw the famous Mona Lisa painting; much smaller than I would have expected it to be, but great to see up close, once battling with the crowds!
One place to visit if you want to see true Paris, is Montmartre, possibly one of my favourite places in Paris. The cobbled streets are lined with cafe’s and a lovely place to sit down for a meal and some good ol’ people watching. And of course, don’t forget to try the local dishes; frogs legs, snails and onion soup! You may recognise the area from the film ‘Amelie’ and can even visit the cafe in which is featured in the film (Café les Deux Moulins, 15 rue Lepic). You can get to this area by catching the metro to the ‘Abbesses’ stop, which has the famous art nouveau ‘metropolitain’ entrance. Another attraction in Montmartre is white-domed Basilica of the Sacré Cœur, which sits high on the hill and is worth a visit. It can be accessed by walking the stairs or catching the funicular to the top. Moulin Rouge is based in this area, but after hearing bad reviews and seeing the cost for the show, we decided to give this a miss.
Not only is it good to explore Paris through the day, but at night when it comes to life. We sat in front of the Eiffel tower for an hour or two and waited for the sun to set to see it light up; the tower also ‘glitters’ for the first 10 minutes of every hour. On our way back to the apartment we stopped by at The Louvre to see this at night, and it looked amazing with the reflections from the water that surrounds it (but if you hope to get a good photo then maybe bring a tripod!)
On our last day we visited The Catacombs, and after a queue time of around two and a half hours, it was worth the wait. It was crazy to see what was beneath, miles of corridors lined with sculpted skulls and bones, which had quite an eery and strange feeling when seeing them up close. I would say this is definitely worth a visit, and doesn’t cost too much.
Overall, I loved Paris and think there was still a lot to explore when we left, after spending four days there. I would recommend it as a holiday to anyone as it is a beautiful place to see!