What’s a better way to start a new year then a spontaneous trip to Paris! We recently had a friend visiting from Australia, who had managed to see a bit of England and Europe, but had always dreamed of Paris, and as I need no convincing to go holiday we booked our bargain Eurostar tickets and off we went!
We departed London Kings Cross on the 5.40am train to Paris Gare du Nord, arriving a little past 9am. We headed straight on the metro to the Eiffel Tower! As we’d been before we knew the best option was to walk up (669 stairs to the 2nd level) and the queues are usually for the elevator up, although being January it was pretty quiet anyway. A light snowing added for a magical atmosphere!
From here we walked about 30 minutes to the Musee Marmottan Monet, it houses the largest collection of Monets’ work including a lot of ‘water lilly’ painting, but not ‘the actual’ water lilly painting, this is in the National Gallery in London (doh!). It isn’t a huge museum, but pleasant enough to wonder around for an hour or so, €11.00 to enter.
After the museum we headed back to the metro to the Champs Elysees to get a good view of the Arc de Triomphe. We didn’t go up, but walked the under pass below the round about to get a good view from underneath. We wandering back down the length of the Champs Elysees, with a pit stop to grab some macaroons before heading toward the Louvre.
Right next to the Louvre (before going in) we went to find a bridge called Pont des Arts, or more famously known as Love Lock Bridge. Two years ago when my sister and I came to Paris we added our lock to the then covered bridge. Unfortunately it’s all been removed! Close to a million locks weighing 45 tons had to be cut of, apparently it spoiled the aesthetics of the bridge…..that’s a lot of love gone! We ended up putting our padlock on the bench leg #itwasbetterthannothing
We then headed next door to The Louvre. Now this is a HUGE place and if you are really into museums could easily spend most of a day here. Being on a two day trip we just had some key pieces in mind we wanted to see, so headed straight for these (Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory Statue of Samothrace etc).
By this point we’d been up for over 15 hours, and done a lot of walking! We decided to head to the hotel – via a view of the Eiffel Tower by night! A great sight is the lights going off every hour (on the hour for 5 minutes), the whole tower sparkles! We stayed at the Hotel Oceanic near St Augustin metro, we paid €30pp and was very impressed with the ease of check in, the quality of the hotel and also the size of the rooms! This was a great find, and would definitely stay again. Plenty of places for dinner and breakfast the next morning around, and only two minutes from the metro.
Day two started with a visit to Notre Dame. Entry is free, although you had to pay to go up (we’ve never tried this as the line is usually very long). Into the main Cathedral the line can come out into the square but this moves very quickly. Easily one of my favourite and most impressive Cathedrals in Europe (not to mention, massive Disney fan!).
As we’d now completed most of the ‘main’ sights in Paris we decided to walk the Rue Mouffetard Market, with patisserie stops along the way! The market itself it not very long, but a great place to taste some French delicacies! (did someone say more macaroons?). From here we decided to head back towards the main bit of Paris again, via Le Jardin du Luxembourg, at which point the rail/sleet started and ruined all plans of a lovely winter garden walk. Plan B was to head to the Musee D’orsay, but it turned out every other tourist also had this plan to escape the weather, so we didn’t bother with the line (but this is definitely on my list for next time!). Just opposite the Musee D’osray is the Paris equivalent of the London Eye, the Roue de Paris. As our original plan B didn’t work out, we decided on ride and for €12.00 I was actually very impressed with the view down the Champs Elysees (Arc de Triomphe in distance) and also a very nice view of the Eiffel Tower. By this time it was mid-afternoon so we headed back to Gare du Nord for the 4pm train back to London.
For a Friday morning to Saturday afternoon train we got a great deal on Eurostar for £50pp return. As it was only one night you only need a backpack (don’t over pack, you’ll regret it once you get half way up the Eiffel Tower).
Walking up the first two levels of the Eiffel Tower was not only cheaper (€7.00) but if you head straight up it means you can get to the top before the crowds have a chance to gather (as a lot of people wait for the elevator). One you’ve got your non-crowded shots from the top, then take you time coming down to enjoy the different levels and views!
As the hop on hop off bus was a bit expensive, we chose to walk and get the metro around (Paris has an extensive metro system). We got a 10 pack of single ticket for €14.50 which was more than enough to get around for two days.
If you’re a student or child remember to mention whenever you buy your entry tickets, there’s usually bit reduction in the price.
Travelling in January where the weather could be sunshine or snow, research which museums you’d be interested in seeing in-case you need to escape the weather for a few hours.
This was my third trip to Paris, and won’t be my last! For £80pp (for train and hotel) it is the perfect choice for a short trip from London, or girls’ weekend away.