One of the best things that can happen to someone who loves traveling is to find a partner who supports such passion in any way possible.
This can vary from managing to be on a distant relationship for a while, to helping in all the pre-departure preparation, to taking you to trips around the world for your birthday…
And that’s what happened to me on my birthday the past December: I was taken to a romantic trip to Paris, something that everyone should do at a point in their life! Although I had been there already a couple of times, it was always quite rushed and didn’t get to see much. This time however, we managed to have a good stroll around the best bits of this wonderful city in the heart of Europe, and this is what came out of our weekend:
Arrival early in the morning in the super far Beauvais Airport, the only one reached by the cheap (and much hated by myself) RyanAir.
By 11 we were at our hotel Aurore (very nice and friendly little place), just behind Gare de Lyon in Bercy, however the check in time was not until 2pm so we had to wait around. This was quite a disappointment as I as super ill and really wanted a nap after the journey – thank God Paracetamol exists.
So we took a stroll on the Seine and walked all the way to Notre Dame Cathedral on Ile de la Cité, a brilliant little island in the middle on Paris, most beautiful when it is still warm outside and you’re surrounded by street artists and youngsters hanging out on the Seine.
Starving, we walked around and found a nice little (although super touristy) street on the other side of the Seine in the Latin district, Rue de la Huchette, and got us an amazing huge Burgignon and Fondue for only 15 Euros each – lunch menu. The street is nice and characteristic, and although really touristy it’s worth a visit.
Only CON: the people outside the restaurants calling you inside – this is something I cannot stand, and it really spoils it for you when you just want to take your time and chose.
After a looong walk around Paris back to the hotel, I finally got to take my nap, and for dinner we were back at Rue de la Huchette at Le Chat qui Peche: the atmosphere was warm and paced (unlike the outside, so it felt like our little shelter…) and the food was good. Good, not amazing, but still good, especially for the price and the service.
The thursday was spent strolling around and window-shopping in the expensive Rue Saint-Honoré, but starting from the unmissable destination of Paris: Le Louvre. Ok, we didn’t want to spend the whole day inside, so just like what I guess are the 90% of tourists, we focused only on the Italian Renaissance wing (where the Mona Lisa is), and visited other random parts just to say we didn’t only see the Da Vinci’s painting. Actually, the African and Islamic art rooms are very interesting, and much quieter.
We then moved to what to me is the longest road ever – Les Champs Elisées. The Christmas mood and stands made the walk to the end a little bearable, but still not my favorite part of Paris. However, at the ends it sits the magnificent Arc de Triomphe, and we decided to climb its 284 steps to have a glimpse of Paris from above. To make it even better, if you are a European citizen younger than 25, it is free! (just like at the Louvre, j’aime beaucoup!).
In the evening, we went to my favorite area of all Paris: Montmartre. On one side, just off Pigalle tube station, you’re surrounded by sexy shops and theaters, covered in bright neon lights – not the best place to be at night if you’re a woman and alone it seemed.
But then, just up the hill there is the romantic and sweet Paris we are used to see in films, that jazzy vibes that takes you until The Wall of Love, Les Je T’Aime. This is inside a small garden which is closed at night, so if you really want to see the wall from nearby, I suggest you to go in the afternoon. However, you can still see it pretty well from outside the gate.
We had dinner at Une Zebre à Montmartre, a restaurant we randomly chose a couple of hours earlier on Trip Advisor, and we definitely did not regret it! Great food at a great price in a great setting, worth a visit if you’re around.
On friday it was the time for the big climb up the Eiffel Tower… Something that perhaps everyone wish to do at some point of their life, unless you have the biggest fear of heights as I do! It’s not really a fear of being on top of something very tall, but more about a fear of being of top of something very tall that doesn’t seem that much stable to me and that could fall off in any seconds. (If there’s any psychologist between my readers, please let me know your thought on this!)
Anyhow, almost 700 steps later, I made it through the second floor, after which you can only go up with the lift (yeah, no way!). The view was beautiful and totally worth my freaking out looking down – or even in front of me – whilst climbing up. Besides, by taking the stairs and not the lift, you not only save some $$$ but also do some good old exercise!
After a few hours, well spent around the Tower’ gardens
trying to take cool pictures of us to make our friends back home jealous, we moved to another of my favorite places in Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou. To make it even better, there was a fantastic retrospective on Dali and the Surrealism, my favorite artist and art movement. Unfortunately here the European citizen free entrance doesn’t take you far, and for the exhibition we had to pay 10 Euros like everyone else.
Last day, flight in the evening, seen most of the touristy things we had to see – what to do now?!
We decided to take a stroll in the beautiful Jewish district, Les Marais. It’s trendy, it’s full of vibe, and has lots of pretty little cafes and shops. We had lunch at a cool corner cafe, Le Voltigeur, with a great atmosphere and a really funny (perhaps too British) waiter. Perfect place where to end a wonderful weekend in Paris!
Tube is open until late at night
Amazing art galleries
The Seine at night
The most beautiful rooftops I’ve ever seen
Hidden gems, away from the touristy stuff
The Eiffel Tower lit at night
Some areas are way too dodgy, even early at night
It rains a lot, so bring an umbrella
Stupid Beauvais Airport