Where we stayed and where we explored.
I had the pleasure of visiting Paris this week for the very first time. It has been a place I wanted to explore for the longest time but never got around to it. If you follow me for awhile you will know my goal for this year was to buy less things and collect more memories. This was our first proper trip away together since I bought my house three years ago so it was a real treat to get to go away together and what perfect place to visit than Paris.
I flew with Aer lingus to Charles de gaulle airport and I stayed in the Duquesne eiffel hotel and I booked our flights and accommodation separately. I stumbled across the hotel on booking.com.
Our hotel was in the 7th arrondissement in Paris and it was a 5 minute walk to the Eiffel tower and the Champs de mars.
I got us a basic room but you can get upgraded rooms with a view of the Eiffel tower but we didn’t spend much time in our hotel as we spent most of our day exploring. When I was reading up on hotels a lot of people were complaining that hotel rooms in Paris were small.This didn’t bother me in the slightest as like I said I was there to explore. Our room felt like a home away from home with its stripe wallpaper and sage green wardrobes and quaint Parisian decor. The neighbourhood was charming and it didn’t feel touristy. Overall the hotel was excellent value for money and in a fantastic location but my only one disappointment was that the Wifi was broken on our stay and as my phone wouldn’t work either I relied a lot on wifi.
We used the Eiffel tower as our starting point for exploring. It was only a 5 min walk from our hotel and it is great to see it at different times of the day. We stocked up on wine, cheese and pain au chocolate in the local supermarket and would have a pit stop and picnic at the Eiffel tower. Rue Cler was a few minutes walk from out hotel and it is a road full of fresh food stalls, little shops and florists. We stopped here first to stock up on food before we set of on our ramblings.
Each hour once it gets dark there is a light show at the Eiffel tower and it is stunning to see so make sure you get to the eiffel tower at night. There is such a lovely feeling around the Eiffel tower and very romantic.
For an amazing view and picture of the Eiffel tower walk across the road to the Trocadero to get a stunning view and a selfie too. Also along the way there is the cutest carousels that are so charming and cute. The Eiffel tower can be seen from most places around the city too.
How we got around.
We had the most fun getting around by bicycle and foot. There is a Metro in the city also but the best way to take in the city for us was by bike. We rented the Velib bikes for €1.70 per day and they have stops every 300 metres so you can cycle and pop your bike back in when you get to your destination. I hadn’t been on a bike in years so I was a bit rusty and needed a few mins practise by the river. Don’t worry if your a nervous cycler like me as we cycled down the river Seine and I only had to cycle on the road a few times but they have loads of bike lanes to use. Also the French people seemed to have a lot of respect for cyclists but just remember they drive on the opposite side of the road to us but it didn’t take long to getting used to cycling on the right hand side. Also don’t worry if your small like me as when we lowered my saddle I was able to fit perfectly on the bike.
Each day we took a map and started off at the Eiffel tower and cycled down the river Seine. We stopped at the Louvre, Notre dame, Pantheon, Grand Palais and explored the streets of St-Germain, the Latin quarter and cycled up to the Arc de Triomphe. Paris is a huge city and each street has something new to explore. There is loads of little cafes and little shops to see. Stunning architecture and really friendly people. A thing I kept reading when reading up on Paris was that people in Paris were rude. This for me is a myth as everyone we met was lovely and friendly. The waiters in the cafes smiled as I attempted to pronounce the french menu.
I loved sitting on the streets and watching the people pass by, people watching with a cafe creme and looking at all of the pretty Parisian ladies. The city for me was calming, people didn’t rush around like they seem to do in Dublin. They sat and enjoyed each others company with no mobile phones and savoured their time and their meals. A little tip is to greet everyone with a simple Bonjour, that breaks the ice.
I definitely want to go back to Paris again and explore the other side of the city around Montmarte an Sacre-couer. Allow time to explore the museums too and the queues can be really long also, especially we found at Notre dame. We went early to the Louvre and there wasn’t a long queue to get in but security is tight so be prepared to have your bag checked and open your coat. The louvre is not just where the Mona Lisa is kept, its a stunning museum and we spent over three hours in there walking round and taking it all in. There is stunning rooms to explore and so much history to see.
I didn’t do much shopping as I wanted to explore the sights of the city but if you want a little treat then a trip down the Champs-Elysees is for you. We cycled down it on our way to the Arc de Triomphe.
Staying safe in the city.
Like all big cities there are pickpockets and unsavoury people. Be extra careful around tourist attractions and watch out for people trying to get you to sign a petition. This is a scam and a way for them to try and rob you while your signing the petition.
I didn’t like the Metro at all and I tried to stay away from using it but on our way home we used the Metro and the RER train to the airport. The train to the airport is only €10 but make sure you know your stops in advance and only ask people at the information desks for help. Unfortunately we took a wrong stop and were followed on the metro, I also had someone try and open my backpack whilst they were “running for a train” I don’t carry any of my valuables in my back pack but try and avoid using one on the metro or carry it to the front of you.
My tip for anyone going to Paris is get the RER B line from the airport and get off at either Gare du Nord, Chatelet-les Halles and then get a taxi to your hotel from there. Always get a taxi from a taxi rank and do not take a taxi off anyone offering one outside of the rank. Remember that film Taken? Yep that stuff really does happen so be careful when travelling especially if your female or travelling solo.
If you want to read up and stay safe then I found this article really useful. Don’t let it put you off either as this can and does happen in all cities so just be careful and stay safe.
Overall I had of the most magical trip to Paris. I truly fell in love with the city and cannot wait to plan my return visit. I want to see more tea shops and explore more streets and neighbourhoods and see the parts of the city I didn’t get to see. It truly is a stunning city and I fell in love with the culture and the people too. Are you heading to Paris? I would love to hear about your adventures so drop a comment below.
Thanks for reading,