If we’re friends on social media you may know that this comes to you in place of a Prague travel post. Unfortunately, a series of unfortunate events en route to the airport led to us missing our flight. After some angry words and hours on the phone, we sat in the car determined not to waste our week. There were very few flights available and the limited last-minute options decided on the Eurostar to Paris for us.
After only discovering the metro towards the end of our trip to Rome, I made sure to do my research this time. On arrival, we headed to the metro and purchased a ticket for the duration of our stay. Three days cost €26.65 (£23.03) p/p which included not only the underground but also buses (although we didn’t use the latter). The metro saves a lot of steps but more importantly, time.
WHAT TO SEE
The Eiffel Tower
I’ve never been one to romanticise the Eiffel Tower but this trip changed that. My biggest tip is to ensure that its night when you first lay eyes on it. You’ll fall in love.
Whilst the structure is much more impressive in person generally, it’s at night when it really shines (pun intended). I hadn’t realised that it was so visible from the Louvre, so we almost came upon it by chance. In an attempt to avoid cliché descriptions of Paris I’m reluctant to describe the experience as magical, but there really is no word more fitting.
Musée du Louvre
Perhaps even more impressive than the artwork it holds, is the building itself. Formally a royal palace and famous for its Louvre Pyramid entrance, it’s definitely high on the list of worthwhile things to see. The building is stunning in the sun but if you have the chance, factor in a visit right before your nighttime viewing of the Eiffel Tower. The Pyramid is another landmark far more stunning once the sun has gone down.
Admission to the Louvre is free for certain visitors including those from the EU, so make sure to remember your ID! It’s also a good idea to check the opening times as they vary and on Tuesdays, it’s closed entirely.
Views of The City | Arc De Triomphe
I read a few Paris travel guides last minute before visiting myself and so many of them advised that actually climbing the Eiffel Tower was a waste of time. Although it’s definitely a bucket list activity, for this trip we decided to prioritise the views from the Arc de Triomphe instead. Again, admission is free for certain visitors including those from the EU. We’d budgeted for both entry fees so were pleasantly surprised to have a little more spending money.
I can’t personally recommend the Arc de Triomphe instead of the Eiffel Tower. I can certainly vouch for its incredible views though. Not only will you get the Eiffel Tower in your pictures instead of being stood upon it you’ll also spot the Champs-Élysées, ‘the world’s most beautiful avenue’.
After the recent news I count myself very lucky to have been one of the last to see this beautiful building. We chose not to actually go inside (which I slightly regret now) but just knowing how important the Cathedral is to so many people is awe-inspiring.
WHERE TO EAT
A French restaurant enjoyed by locals, Le Fumoir is the perfect place to head for an evening meal. The menu, although slightly limited in options (very much like a set menu) encouraged us to order different foods than we perhaps usually would of. I enjoyed seared bream and tried a little of Jamie’s duck too, both exceeded my expectations (which are often slightly too high).
Whilst I’d recommend Le Fumoir for the food alone, what really made the meal special was the ambience: low lighting, a candle on every table and service I couldn’t fault. This was the most expensive meal of our trip at around €120, but worth every cent.
If you’re heading to Moulin Rouge during your trip then Pink Mamma is in the area. A recommendation on In The Frow encouraged us to travel out of our way specifically for their pizza and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The service wasn’t the quickest but it was definitely the friendliest. On ordering pizza our waiter advised us that there would be a 40-minute wait but the restaurant was so nice that we were more than happy to add a starter to our order and to sit and chat.
Without a booking, we were happily seated at the bar on the second floor. It was a little close for comfort (I think generally in the UK we feel a little entitled to more personal space) but still enjoyable. If you know you’re heading to Pink Mamma though, it’s worth booking a few weeks in advance and requesting a table on the top floor (3rd). The building is beautiful and although it’s very hyped on Instagram, everything about that is justified. Our meal was very fairly priced at around €50.
Angelina’s was another choice fuelled by Instagram hype. A very pretty tearoom with the most beautiful restaurant toilets (because that’s worth knowing). We decided to share a breakfast selection as well as their speciality Mont-Blanc pastry and hot chocolate. The traditional pastries included within the breakfast were wonderful and I’d highly recommend them. I also really enjoyed the Eggs Benedict with salmon. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the rest of the order.
Overall I think that my advice would be to stick to your preferences. There were so many wonderful looking treats that I could have ordered so going for the Mont-Blanc just because of its speciality status was definitely an error, but my own. Jamie and I typically like hot chocolate too. At risk of sounding very uncultured, it was far too thick for either of us to enjoy. Whilst it’s clearly very popular with others, I’d definitely recommend ordering one to share and sample first. It comes in a little jug which fills two cups anyway and it’s not cheap. I didn’t mind it to begin with but after eating I honestly couldn’t stomach it. Actually, I ended up leaving more than half.
We spent around €50 but this could easily be done for much less and still be enjoyable. The pastries were the highlight and only a few euros each.
Whilst our trip was a result of less fortunate circumstances, we really did have the most wonderful time. The Eurostar provides such easy access between France and the UK that I have no idea why we hadn’t made the trip sooner. We’ll definitely be making it again. I’d love to hear of any of your experiences of Paris or of any other recommendations!