Travel - A birthday trip to Paris

September 16, 2014

You can't beat Paris in the Springtime, such a gorgeous city to wander around with amazing food and so quick and easy to get to on the Eurostar. It was my 21st Birthday at the end of March this year so Ben took me to Paris for a weekend in early April as part of the celebrations.

I really hate flying, not so much that I would turn down a trip somewhere but there's no way I'd fly to Paris when getting the train is so easy. You leave St Pancras and within a couple of hours you step off the train in Paris, we jumped on the metro and were at our rented apartment within about ten minutes. Such a good stress-free way start to the trip, especially when you're just going for a couple of days.

I found us a cute one bedroom loft apartment in a great location on Airbnb for two nights which worked out to be around half the price of a hotel and such a great adventure. We felt like true Parisians for a couple of days living in a gorgeous street with views over the rooftops. The street had lots of authentic non-touristy patisseries, grocers and restaurants so close by while still being able to walk to the main attractions around the city. We cooked in a couple of times which was lovely, wandering down to choose what we wanted for dinner from the incredible french supermarkets. Everything in France tastes so good, don't you think? I would definitely use airbnb again. 
On our first afternoon we went for a walk to Notre Dame across the river Seine.

{Our apartment building}

On the way through the Ile de Cite, we walked past the colourful Marche aux Fleurs, Paris' biggest flower market, open daily. We didn't buy any flowers, but given my love for flower markets it was nice to walk through.

Spring was such a gorgeous time to visit, everywhere we walked there was a mass of blossom and tulips lining the streets. 

We couldn't resist adding a padlock to the love lock bridge where legend has it you throw your key away, after locking a padlock to a bridge, into the river to symbolise unbreakable love. Although recently the city is trying to deter the locks after a bridge collapsed under the weight of them!

We posed for photos in front of Notre Dame. 

Then carried on walking to see the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens which were pretty. 

Our feet were so achey after all the walking and we were tired from getting up early to catch the train. So we headed back to our apartment, crossing the Seine again.. 

... and admiring the pretty tulips everywhere. 

We had an amazing dinner in the apartment buying local French produce from the street down below.

After dinner, we got the metro {subway} to see the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. We had heard that every hour, on the hour after sunset it sparkles so we googled the best place to see it and headed out to the Trocadero which has the best views in the city.

We got to the Trocadero just before it got dark and watched the sky change as we waited for the sparkle show. 

It was beautiful to stand and look at all lit up anyway, so iconic. The Eiffel Tower is something you instantly associate with Paris and romance. But then when the clock struck 9pm, the magic really begun with twinkling lights. Twenty thousand lights flash on and off for five minutes. So so magical. 

The next morning we had croissants for breakfast before going on another big walk across the city. 

We walked past the Louvre Museum and then through The Tuileries Garden, stopping again to admire the spring blooms.

We reached the Champs-Elysees, mainly window shopping until we reached Laduree and I couldn't resist going in for some of my favourite macarons. 

I love how to French put such an emphasis on presentation. There are so many patisseries with such skilled works of art. 

After walking the length of the Champs-Elysees and going past the Arc Du Triomphe we got to the Eiffel Tower, still just as spectacular in the day as at night. We had both been to Paris before on various school trips and for a day trip together in 2009 but it was still just as special.

Again, the blossom was beautiful. I really would recommend Spring as a nice time to visit.  

We walked for over six hours that day all over the city. Luckily it's nearly all very flat with good pavements and paths along the river. And with so much to see t's well worth it. We had definitely earned a French baguette for lunch from a patisserie followed by the best ice cream we've ever had from Berthillon. I'd read about it before we went and it lived up to expectations! If you're in Paris, make sure you go to Berthillon on the Ile Saint-Louis. I had raspberry and salted caramel.

We again cooked a delicious dinner in the apartment as we had loved the previous night's so much and devoured our Laduree macarons. I was glad we only had two nights in Paris, any longer and I wouldn't have been able to fit in my wedding dress when we got home! 

Our last morning, before getting the train home, was lovely and sunny. We went for breakfast at Le Pain Quotiden across the road from our apartment. I wish we could have stayed for longer! Although two nights was long enough really, Paris is fairly compact. We took a trip up to Les Puces de Saint-Ouen - the world's biggest flea market and Paris' most famous market. We love going to vintage flea markets back home, acquiring quirky thrifty finds for our house so we thought we'd love this market. While it was interesting with lots of gorgeous things, it was ludicrously overpriced. Most items were nearly ten times the price of back home. I can't understand how they do any business. If you want to go for a look anyway, we used this guide for getting there. But it was good to look around and we walked back from there to the Montmartre area to see the Sacre-Couer, somewhere I don't actually like much compared to the rest of the city. It's so crowded and overly touristy, you also have to be extra careful for pickpockets. 

We still had a couple of hours until our Eurostar home so we finished the trip with a walk by the river and more ice cream for Berthillon. It was so hot and sunny, being by the water was gorgeous and a relaxing experience after the busy flea market and Montmartre. 

We were sad to leave and go back across the Channel but had an amazing couple of days. Sometimes short breaks can feel like you've been away for a week if you plan them right. We love you Gay-Paree! 

You can find the apartment we stayed at here. I can't recommend it enough. But if you're looking for a nice hotel, I always find Trip Advisor or Mr & Mrs Smith good research tools. 

{and finally, Peonies in Paris.. what could be better?!}

R <3 xx

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  1. I can't believe the ammount of locks on the bridge!!! When we were there three years ago it was rather empty;)

  2. You're definitely right, Rebecca! Nothing looks as good as Paris in the springtime. Every blooming flower looks breathtaking. Plus, the loft you stayed at for two nights looks just as good as any hotel room. I can tell you thoroughly enjoyed your trip. I hope you'll have more fun trips like that again. All the best to you! :)

    Marci Deegan @ Twin Pine Casino & Hotel


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