I never used to view France as particularly glamorous. Camping in Wales as a child my view was that France was just a place you went to camp in equally muddy fields, but to add to the trauma they spoke a foreign language and it took longer to get there. Safe to say in my adult years my opinion of the country has completely changed…
Part of this has been falling in love with Paris. A short hop away from London, it’s the perfect city for a weekend escape. Full of glamorous buildings, delicious food and the most stylish women, I never fail to leave Paris feeling inspired (and full…).
So if you’re looking to fall in love with the city of love, here’s my guide to a weekend in Paris…
For what is essentially a train, there is something about taking the Eurostar that feels incredibly glamourous. You only need to be there an hour before so make sure to pick up a bottle of fizz and a couple of croissants to get you in the mood for your weekend in Paris.
Trains not your bag? With over 19 flights a day you won’t be struggling to find a way to get you there.
Whilst Paris has a metro system, it’s such a beautiful place to walk around that I would suggest staying somewhere close to the action. My favourite place to stay is the Hotel des Grands Boulevards – a great location, so stylish it could make you weep, incredibly comfortable, welcoming and great value for money.
The Eiffel Tower:
Arguably one of the most famous landmarks in Paris, no trip is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. For the best photographs, head to the park in front. Whilst incredible to see during the day, my favourite time to go is at night, to catch the tower twinkling every hour. Whilst going up the tower itself means you get to see an incredible view of the city, you’re best to go off peak and when the weather is a little warmer (take it from someone who nearly got pneumonia in December queuing).
Full of interesting art stores and delicious French restaurants (not to mention macaroon shops), this is a wonderful district for a Saturday wonder. I say Saturday, as come Sunday the shops are shut. Wonderful window shopping none-the-less.
Passage des Panoramas:
Tucked away, these passages are home to the most gorgeous little shops and restaurants. They continue form street to street and each one feels like discovering a new secret.
Not only home to the stunning white cathedral, this is the spot to go for a gorgeous view of the city of Paris (without queuing up at the Eiffel Tower). Walk there slowly- there are so many lovely little shops and restaurants en route that you’ll want to spend your time exploring. Head there after breakfast at Hardware Société, or go at night for equally stunning views of the city and cathedral lit up.
Potentially one of my favourite places in Paris. Walk through the archways to discover intriguing little shops and head to the gardens for the most relaxing walk.
A former royal palace, it is now home to the world’s largest art museum. If art isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a visit to take silly pictures pretending to put your finger on the top of the pyramid.
For all Disney fans, you get to see the home of Quasimodo in the hope of catching one of the gargoyles in action. On a more serious note, it’s a stunning Cathedral in the heart of Paris.
Champs-Élysées and Arc de Triomphe:
Another famous french landmark that needs ticking off the list. Wonder there down the famous Champs-Élysées and for the best photos take them from across the road.
An upmarket shopping centre, this is the place to go for a spot of luxury shopping. But for me, the real pull is the Christmas tree in winter. Head up to the top floors for the best view. For another luxury shopping hit, head to Avenue Montaigne.
I feel this deserves a post of its own, but a short train ride from Paris is of course DisneyLand. A magical place, my favourite time to go is in winter. No-one does Christmas decorations like Disney. Stay till late to watch the fireworks and projection on the castle.
Balgan: The highlight here has to be the Sunday brunch. Nothing short of a feast, the Israeli style food will have you going back not just for seconds, but thirds and fourths. We’re talking fresh shakshuka, overnight cooked beef brisket, fresh breads a plenty and tahini and aubergine dip.
Hardware Société: Set up (admittedly) by Australians who fell in love with Paris, the breakfasts are worth the wait. What’s a great about this menu is it truly allows for ‘brunch’. If you’re feeling more of a breakfast option then try the baked eggs, or mushrooms on toast. If your feeling more lunch try the schnitzel and if you’re feeling somewhere in-between the fried eggs and pork belly with cheesy croquets is a must.
Lunch and Dinner
Les Antiquaires: We stumbled across this little french place one day, exploring the city and fell in love. Offering proper French food, it’s the perfect spot to grab lunch on an afternoon in Paris.
Hotel Des Grands Boulevards: More than just a pretty face, the hotel serves the most delicious dinners, with beef cheeks so soft you won’t even require a knife, and buttery ravioli so good you’ll be tempted to lick the bowl.
Kong: With a kooky interior (we’re talking lots of faces) and an epic view of Pont Neuf, this is a gorgeous place for a swanky lunch or posh dinner. The menu is Japanese with a French twist…we’re talking Pan-fried foie gras, fresh mango & chutney or Château filet “Black pepper sauce” with french Pont Neuf fries of course.
Bisou Crepeie: The best place for crepes, savoury and sweet, tucked away in the incredible Passage des Panoramas. Great for an afternoon sugar hit before you continue your exploring.
Macaroons: For me, no trip to Paris is complete without a trip to the Macaroon shop. I love taking in the gorgeous colours and taking my time to fill a box with pastel delights, then savouring them throughout the day. Some of my favourite places to go in Paris for Macaroons is the Laduree (of course) in St Germain, with a lovely cafe where you can eat in or Pierre Herme.