Paris has been a long-awaited bucket list trip of mine, and so in a rather dark and moody evening in March I booked tickets for a long weekend getaway in one of the most romantic cities in the world. After my soul-filling two day trip in this beautiful city, I have rounded up my favourite experiences and everything else you need to know for the perfect summer weekend in Paris.
As without a doubt I am an interior addict, I am always looking for design or boutique hotels to stay in while travelling, especially on short trips like this. It is lovely to come back to a beautiful hotel room after a long day out and about. For this trip I chose BoB Hotel & Coworking, as I knew that I will still need to get some work done while here.
Here you will find a 24 hour reception with some of the friendliest staff I have ever met, as well as lobby with an honest coffee bar & snacks perfectly suited for work. You can drink and eat anything you feel like, simply write down what you took and it will be added to your hotel bill afterwards. Brilliant!
Though my absolute favourite spot here was the patio. It is located in the middle of the building and you can have a breakfast here in the morning or enjoy a glass of wine in the evening while playing darts or simply relaxing. Designers Dorothée Delaye and Daphné Desjeux of Desjeuxdelaye, have designed this space for this very same purpose - to relax and unwind.
The quickest way to get from airport to the city centre is train, however when we arrived there was a strike happening and the staff of the information center advised us to take the bus instead. Make sure to ask for the quickest route depending on where you need to go.
As Paris is quite large, I suggest to buy transportation pass already in the airport. You will only be able to use it within the city center [not to get from an airport to the city], and as there are numerous metro lines in Paris you can easily travel from one side of the city to the other to access all the tourist attractions.
If you're a foodie, or at least love pastries, I strongly suggest to try typical French breakfast at least once. Need I say that this is the city with the best croissants in the world? Head over to the Les Frangines restaurant which is nearby BoB Hotel for a Petit Dejeuner - fresh pastry and croissant with jam, chestnut cream, coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. The pastries are so fluffy and light, and the chestnut cream.. Yumm!! A very delicious start for the day!
Oh, and travel tip - don't work on your computer while eating in a cafe. French people like to live in a moment and while most of the restaurants have free wifi, you will not see any of the locals trying to multitask and they don't like when tourists do that as well. After all, it is rather logical given how tasty the food is here!
Another experience you must have to really feel like a local is a picnic in a park. As my time here was limited I swapped visiting Eiffel tower to admiring it from nearby. There were simply too many tourists and if you are in Paris only a couple of days there is really no use of using half of it standing in the lines. And the most important thing that is missing from a view that Eiffel Tower provides? Yes, the Eiffel Tower..
The best places for a picnic in Paris in my opinion is Jardins do Trocadero for a quick lunch with a bottle of wine and the stunning close up view of Eiffel Tower (image above). Or if you plan to picnic in the evening head over to the Basicila of Sacré-cœur in Montmartre. Here you will find many locals and tourists alike, sitting on the stairs of the Basilica that are overlooking all of the Paris. This is a stunning view point in the evening when the lights go up, and what a better place to catch the Eiffel's hourly light show? If you feel like a dessert afterwards, stroll through Montmartre and grab some crêpes from one of the many Crêperies you will find here. There are SO many flavours it's not easy to pick just one, but as it's a vacation, you don't really have to pick just one..
If like me you love snails, mussels and all shellfish in general, you absolutely MUST visit Juste! It is a seafood restaurant in
48 Rue Laffitte, Paris (9th District) and it is the best place for a superb lunch with fresh seafood and menu changing every week. We visited it on our last day as we stumbled upon it accidentally on Instagram. It is hands down one of the best (and rather economic) meals we had in Paris. Here they have a concept where you choose your own packets of seafood which then are prepared and served to you at the table while you wait sipping on a glass of wine. As we visited Juste on Monday, some of the locals were here for business lunch as well so it is a great place to do some people watching too! Win-win!
Places to visit
Paris is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and it is really hard to pick only some 'Instagrammable spots in Paris' as with a little imagination every corner of this city can be used as such. Of course you're going to visit some of the most popular ones such as Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and some of the oh-so many fabulous museums of Paris. Our favourite for rather moody and dramatic Instagram shots were Musee d'Orsey, which is built in an old train station, and here along several stunning Instagrammable spots you will find stunning artworks from Vincent van Gogh to Claude Monet and many more. Reserve an hour or two for a tour in this museum in the first part of the day to avoid tourist crowds.
After your artsy start of the day, head further into the city to the oldest part of Paris, Île de la Cité to visit Notre-Dame Cathedral. You don't have to go inside, simply walk around these two islands (
Île de la Cité & Île Saint-Louis) and admire the exquisite architecture dating back to 12th century. Here you will also find several lovely cafe's and crème glacée shops, perfect for a summery walk in the city. Be ready to stand in line though, especially at Berthillon - divine tasting ice cream, made in France!
For a very Instagrammable coffe spot, visit Restaurant Au Vieux on Île de la Cité. Just look it up on Pinterest and you will understand what I'm talking about!
If shopping is on your to-do list, I suggest to look up Galeries Lafayette. It's a French department store chain, may I add, a luxurious one. The best place to get all the desired items at one place is on Boulevard Haussmann in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. There are 3 Galeries, on every corner of the intersection each dedicated to either Women, Men or Home & Gourmet. Needless to say that Home & Gourmet was of course our favourite. Here on the ground floor you will find all of the best delicacies of France, starting from truffles, to macaroons & eclairs continuing with the best spices & dim sum! Really, it has everything you can think of and on a hot summer day we especially recommend to try ice cream from Pedone stand - it is possible that this will be the best ice cream you have ever tasted. Orange blossom one was our favourite!
I hope you found some ideas of places to visit and if you have any recommendations from your Paris travel experience, please leave them in the comments below! This definitely is a city where I will be returning, hopefully very soon!