Paris, France. The city of Love. A place like no other.
Who truly doesn’t have Paris on their bucket list of places to travel? In relation to romance and all that jazz, I have always personally had it tattooed in the back of my mind, that I wouldn’t be going to Paris with someone that I didn’t have serious intentions with. I’m not knocking anybody who has or wishes to do so in the future, just for me it’s always been a personally “No!No!” and I seriously doubt that I’ll be taking anybody else has a romantic partner to Paris. Life is treating me well, in that respect.
Let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. So, two tickets on the Eurostar purchased. London to Paris, four nights, three days.
Going to Paris presented an opportunity to experience many things for the first time. It was the first time, that I was travelling via the Eurostar anywhere into mainland Europe. Why Eurostar this time? Affordability and overall a better package offered than your usually airline deal. There is no additional fees added on the ticket price for Luggage, as their no weight limit.
“On Eurostar there’s no weight limit for your luggage, but you should be able carry and lift your bags safely. Each bag can be up to 85cm long at its widest point. There’s no restriction on liquids, so you can pack a bottle of bubbly for the train, or bring back some Parisian perfume or a bottle or two from a château-hopping trip.” – Eurostar
No weight limit or liquid restrictions, more than ideal when packing away the necessities for comfort on your travels. London to Paris on the Eurostar will roughly have you strapped in your comfortable seats for 2 hours and 20 minutes.
For more information in relation to Luggage restrictions and the ticket price for children under the age of four, please click here.
Location is everything | Gare du Nord
Location for me is personally the most important aspect of travel. I don’t intend to be located too far away from the shortlisted destinations. I want to be in the heart of the city, a city local for the days that I happen to visit for. A little bit of homework before your travels goes a long way, I highly recommend staying near public transport. Save those euros and become a local. Paris has vibrant and active metro system which be used to its max.
We decided to stay at the Whistler Hotel. The hotel has a rather unique train like décor throughout the building in an attempt of mimicking its neighbour the Gare du Nord. The hotel staff were forever helpful and spoke very clear and good English with ease, which can be more useful for those who find difficulty in understanding the French language. The hotel is located 2 minutes away from the nationally famous Gare du Nord. If you’re travelling via the Eurostar and do also happen to stay at the Whistler Hotel in the future, the Eurostar from London comes straight into Gare du Nord. Two minutes of luggage dragging for you!
The Gare du Nord is like a mini airport. Trains arriving and departing throughout the course day of heading to places all over Europe. I have never experienced anything as complex and yet as simple as the Gare du Nord. The place can seem like a maze for a tourist, with several over and underground platforms dotted around the station. Just like Edinburgh it was Holly who got to grips with the metro system in Paris quicker than myself. She was head of navigation whilst we was in Paris. I cannot stress the value of the metro system enough, it’s cheap, effective and quick. As you’ll mostly likely be spending more time out and about soaking everything in, I would recommend purchasing a ticket which you can hold onto throughout the duration of your stay.
For more information related to the metro system and price queries, click here.
Arc de Triomphe / Champs-Élysées
Our first evening in Paris was spent taking stroll down the notorious Champs Elysees. Thanks to my Dad who has in the past frequently visited and lived in Paris, I was fully made aware of how busy the avenue can get regardless of the time you decide to visit. One word of warning whilst you’re shopping around and understandable all googled eyed, please be aware of your surroundings. Due to the very active pickpocket community and general theft activity in and around the area, be prepared to have you handbags, backpacks and other carrier bags double checked by security upon entering and departing stores on the Champs Elysees.
Ladies who have already done their research on the Champs Elysees, will be well aware that the flagship Sephora store in Paris lies on the avenue. Guys, gentlemen of all ages, this is the time we take a step back and let our ladies shine bright like a diamond (Rihanna voice). If you’re visiting Paris on your own, I would strongly advise my male comrades to alert their respective partner and attempt to get a few items on the detailed list that will be coming your way.
Those of you who are not able get yourself down to the flagship store on the Champs Elysees, will be delighted to hear that there is 93 Sephora stores around the Paris region. Nearly 100 Sephora stores within Paris and nothing in the whole of the UK.
As well as the many designer brands on the Champs Elysees, which happen to attract all types of people from various corners of the globe. The unmissable Arc de Triomphe stares you in the face as you come out of Champs-Élysées–Clemenceau.
Nice interesting fun fact for you to use, did you know that beneath the Arc de Triomphe is the tomb of an unknown soldier from World War I.
One of if the most famous art museum of modern times. To be honest, I don’t care if you’re an art fanatic or not. When in Paris the Louvre is a must, by far the most spectacular art gallery that I have ever been too.
The Louvre contains over 380,000 objects whilst displaying 35,000 works of art in eight different departments, from exhibitions exhibiting sculptures, objects of art, drawings, archaeological finds and paintings. The Louvre is the largest and most visited art museum in the world, hosting over 8 million people through its door last year alone.
We managed to go the Louvre twice throughout our time in Paris. Once in the light of day and the second in the darkness of night. The place takes a character of its own under the night light of the evening. If you plan to head to the Louvre whilst in Paris, time is a luxury that must you have. Whilst walking around the museum taking in the experience and sheer amount of history around you, you’ll quickly notice that the hands of time move ever so rapidly through the maze like structure of the Louvre.
Just to put everything in perspective for you, this is what trip advisor have to say in relation to the Louvre.
If you spent 60 seconds looking at each of the objects at the Louvre, going steadily for eight hours a day, it would take you 75 days to see them all. It is simply enormous. You should read about the museum online and plan your visit to see just the things that would interest you most. – Trip advisor
If I was able and allowed to have a sleep over or two in the Louvre, I would probably spend the part of 75 days inside the museum moving from piece to piece with a 60 second timer in my hand. Even though time was against us, we did get the chance to see the Mona Lisa, Great Sphinx of Tanis, Winged Victory of Samothrace and The Wedding Feast at Cana which is the largest painting in the Louvre which happens to nicely be placed opposite the crowded Mona Lisa.
Without a doubt, the Louvre will definitely be paid another visit in the future. Opening times and entrance fee information can be found on the museums website.
Parc de Prince
Parc de Prince, the home of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club. Historically PSG have been in the shadows of other French clubs such as Olympique Lyonnais who dominated French football throughout the noughties, recording 7 straight league titles and the countries darling Olympique de Marseille who are the only French team to have sat at the top of the European throne with their Champions League title win 1992-93 season.
The Qatari takeover of the club in 2011, made PSG the richest club of the land and one of the wealthiest in the world. The Qatari owners have ambitious plans for PSG, over the past seven years or so the dominance and control over French football has been quiet spectacular luring and attracting the biggest stars in the game to the capital city. PSG flexed their muscles again in the transfer market last year, seducing Neymar from Barcelona and snatching this years World Cup star Kylian Mbappe from last years Ligue 1 champions.
With the influx on money being poured into the club, Parc de Prince has become one of the city’s major tourist attractions with football fans like myself travelling from all corners in the attempt of witnessing some football magic.
Thankfully for me, I have a beautiful girlfriend who was already looking for tickets to a PSG game, when PSG announced the transfer of Neymar for a world record fee. Luckily enough for us, we did manage to get our hands on some tickets for PSG vs Nantes. It’s not a bad place to start, watching our first football game together.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some tickets, please bring some form of identification with you to the game. Your iD is used to confirm your face with the name on the ticket, thankfully enough for me I used a picture of my passport which for some odd reason is saved in my camera roll. No iD, no game for you. The different country, different culture, different rules. It’s not something that I have ever experienced watching a game in England.
As expected and wished, PSG were amazing on the day. All the star names played and didn’t disappoint either, strolling to a comfortable 4-1 win with two goals from Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria and Javier Pastore who has now moved onto Roma this season.
Common Sense European Tour
This is when you start to think going to Paris was just meant to happen. Before we even booked our tickets and accommodation to Paris, J Hus announced that Paris would be one of the destinations on his Common Sense European Tour.
For those of you who are unaware, J Hus is a UK rapper. His debut album Common Sense went Gold, peaking at number 6 on the UK charts. J Hus also had success from the singles on the album with Did You See becoming J Hus’s highest charted single coming in at number 9 on the UK charts.
Holly made me aware of the availability of tickets for the tour, at the time I decided to play it cool and pretend as if I didn’t have any interest of going to the concert. Little did she know that I was scheming my way around getting my hands on some tickets at work during a quick 15 minute. Thankfully, for me I was able to get my hands some tickets with Holly receiving a encrypted Whatsapp message from myself using the title of the songs in the album.
The atmosphere and show itself was amazing. I’ll leave this little clip here, hopefully you can get a sense of the madness that occurred on the night.
The beating heart of the capital. You can run out of words to describe what the Eiffel Tower looks at night whilst its all lit up and gigantic metallic Christmas tree.
In the darkness of the night, its truly magical. You’ll need patience and timing to get the chance to the Tower sparkling lights all lit up, as they bring the monument to life for 5 minutes every hour on the hour until 1 am.
Like the Louvre we did get the see the Eiffel twice, again once during daytime and in the evening as you can see above.
I have already made personal pledge for the next that I get the chance to visit this great city once again. The pledge involves getting over my fear of heights and going up the Eiffel Tower itself, giving myself the opportunity to see Paris from above. I’ll try not to look down, for now the view with my feet firmly on ground is good enough.
For those interested and querying about going up the Tower, click here for more price related information.
On a scale of 10 Paris a strong 11. Paris you was a pleasure. I know briefly, I did mentioned the active criminal activity in the Paris region, what I suggest to those generally worried about any possible trip is not to place to concern or worry about it all. Unfortunately crime happens everywhere at anytime. I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to experience something so rich.
Thank you for reading about my time spent in Paris and the things that we got up too. If you have the opportunity to travel, pack your bags and head out. You’ll be a more richer person returning home with bag full of experience.
Holly, you a Queen. Thank you for a memorable trip. First of many trips to Paris for us, we will definitely be coming back to this beautiful city to say Bonjour. Until the next post, its Au revior for now.