Sadly it has come to the end of my summer of adventures, but I am really excited to be back in London for the rest of the year. It is our busiest time of year for events, but luckily I definitely feel as though I have had a proper break from my normal routine and I am so excited to start planning my next adventures!
I have not yet posted about my time in Greece which I may do at a later stage, but as Paris is still very much on my mind I thought I would write about my favourite places and how I spent my long weekend there.
This is the first time I have ever been to Paris (not counting Disneyland when I was 6) so I was so excited to just walk around the city and experience everything it had to offer. We basically combined the extravagant with the affordable, by having 2 nights out that were more expensive and the rest of the time not really spending much money. As it was such a short holiday, we definitely tried to experience everything, but I already have a huge list of what I want to do next time I visit, so please feel free to add suggestions to it!
Arriving in the city, we were staying in a hotel called Hotel Prince de Conde. I found the hotel during a sale on Secret Escapes which meant our stay was half price and we were right in the centre of Paris (a 5 minute walk or so from the Metro). We travelled by Eurostar and arrived around lunchtime, which meant dropping our bags and heading straight out to The Louvre, as it was just across the river.
As we were both under-25, it meant skipping the ticket queue and merely showing our IDs at the entrance which is a huge win on saving money. Pretty much all museums and galleries offer free entry to under-25s so it’s definitely worth visiting whilst you are able to for free.
We spent around an hour or so walking round, which is minimal considering how vast and magnificent the place is. The architecture itself is incredible and the ceilings were one of our favourite parts – they were just so stunning in every room!
We obviously paid a visit to the Mona Lisa, just to say we had, and grabbed a crêpe from a crêpe cart outside, which was delicious.
My main advice would just be to take water out with you, water costs between €2-3 around Paris, though some supermarkets and bookshops will stock bottles for less. Definitely found this out the hard way and ended up finding a WH Smiths to get water from.
After leaving the Louvre, we walked around 50 minutes to the Eiffel tower, stopping at a Carrefour along the way to pickup a fresh baguette, cheese, chocolate and red wine. We also bought plastic cups to drink from (keeping it classy) and had a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s such a gorgeous view and a lovely park to sit in! The only downfall, which you will certainly notice, is the tacky Eiffel tower ornaments being sold by the various venders around you is super annoying. Though if you just ignore their offerings/drink lots of red wine, it really is a lovely picnic spot and I didn’t feel as though I missed out by not climbing up to the top.
Next, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go to Montmartre for the evening to watch the 11pm show at the Moulin Rouge.
Now I went through a phase when I was a teen of obsessively watching both Moulin Rouge and Chicago almost every night when I came home from school. Though I was under no illusion that the show would resemble the movie, I was so excited to just visit Montmartre and actually step inside the Moulin Rouge (one. last. time.)
Although the tickets are fairly steep at €97.00 per person, to include half a bottle of Champagne each, I honestly thought it was such an incredible show I’m so glad I paid it. I know the earlier shows are much more expensive, and I’m not totally sure how different the Feeries show in the evening is to that, but ours was exactly how I imagined a show at a burlesque venue of this reputation to be.
The sets were unbelievable, I wish I could share images but photos are strictly not allowed, so you are just going to have to see for yourselves. The changes between sets are so smooth and astounding, and not one part of the show was disappointing. Brilliant chorus numbers were broken up by astounding circus acts, between 2 people on roller skates performing edge-of-your-seat tricks, to a giant swimming pool of snakes being danced with, I loved the whole show and definitely don’t regret the price we paid to see it.
The only thing I want to warn you about it that the area of Montmartre where the Moulin Rouge is based feels a little bit unsafe, so especially with the show being so late at night I would just be aware of that.
The next day we woke up slightly later and only just caught the free breakfast at the hotel. We wandered down the high street near our hotel and stumbled across the most amazing macaron shop with such a delicious choice of flavours called Macaron Gourmand.
Now raspberry macarons are my favourite, but passion fruit is my all time favourite dessert flavour so finding passion fruit and milk chocolate macarons was a dream come true.
Also, although we didn’t try them, they also had an amazing collection of savoury macarons which I would love to return to try again.
We then headed to a bar that Edd had really wanted to visit called La Baron Rouge, which served wine straight from the cask in affordable tasting size 10oz measurements. I’m so glad he suggested going there because I absolutely loved it. We ordered some lovely cheese and happily drake our way through a variety of the different styles of delicious red wine that were offered.
The staff were absolutely lovely and I really enjoyed all of the wine that we tried. Only committing to 10oz is definitely something I appreciated a lot, as it meant I could have far many more styles of wine then I normally would be able to, and priced at an average of €3 a glass this was pretty reasonable.
We then of course took home a bottle of the Côtes du Rhône straight from the cask!
Next, we visited the Notre-Dame, but chose not to queue to go inside. The building from the outside is stunning, and it was such a lovely day we decided to wander round the externals of the building before heading back to our hotel to get ready for the evening.
As Saturday night was a special night, we reserved a table at a restaurant recommended by a friend of mine, which was Pierre Sang on Gambey. Blending French and Korean cuisine, you watch the chefs as they work from high wooden stools in a very intimate restaurant. With only a handful of tables, you experience the menu as one unit as it is a 6 course tasting menu with no actual menu. Quite simply, the waiter asks if you have any dietary requirements, and then they bring you each course and invite you to work out for yourself what all the different elements on the plate are. Definitely an interactive and experiential eating experience!
Although explaining what a pescatarian is was difficult (really not a thing in France), as soon as they understood that I was a vegetarian who could eat fish it transpired that only 1 of the 6 courses was different to what Edd received. I would assume the menu changes fairly regularly, but I won’t give away too much detail anyway. However each of our courses were unique and delicious, as well as being exactly what my stomach wanted after all the bread and cheese we had been consuming.
I really loved our evening there, and I would definitely recommend paying it a visit though you absolutely must book ahead. Confusingly, there is another Pierre Sang a few doors down, though they have a slightly different offering. You can read more from the TripAdvisor reviews here, I definitely understand why it is rated so highly.
Also, if you want to visit, but don’t want to commit to the full 6 courses, their lunch offering is only 2 or 3 courses and therefore quite a bit cheaper too.
Sadly our last day in Paris, so we decided to have a crêpe brunch and then head back to Montmartre to visit the significantly nicer area and climb the stairs to the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
After an amazing savoury (egg & cheese) and sweet (nutella and kinder) at Culture Crepes – who have such an incredible menu you should definitely check out – we headed on the metro back to Montmartre.
Naturally we saw the lift only when we arrived at the top, though it probably is the kind of climb that is worth it, as the views across Paris are absolutely gorgeous. Had we not already outdone ourselves with brunch, we would have loved to take advantage of the gorgeous (but very busy) picnic spot.
We did walk around the Sacré-Cœur, but did not pay to climb all the way up to the Dome. This is something I would love to do if I did come back to Paris, but I definitely wasn’t feeling up to the climb right then and just settled for enjoying the views from below instead. I think it is around 300 stairs and less than €10 to climb though if you do want to!
After that, we were back to the train station to head home to London. Paris was utterly incredible and I cannot wait to go back again!