Sam very kindly took me to Paris for my birthday in September. We’ve both been before but we couldn’t wait to experience the City of Love together. France is close to our hearts as it’s one of Sam’s favourite places and we had the best time in Bordeaux this summer. We couldn’t wait for the next excuse to go! It didn’t disappoint. But then again, is Paris ever a let-down?
We set off for Bristol Airport on Thursday but called into East Village Café on route. In the heart of the delightful Clifton village, they have a great selection of homemade cakes, treats and hot drinks. I’m partial to their matcha lattes!
Our flight was late afternoon and we arrived early evening. Sam chose a lovely apartment in Montrouge, about 2 miles away from the centre. After some unpacking and a freshen up, we headed out for sushi at Bonmunsa and settled down ready for a busy break. LET THE FUN BEGIN!
Today, we were out by 8am to soak up as much of the city as possible. A croissant and espresso later, we set off for the iconic Eiffel Tower. As we were there early, there wasn’t too much of a queue for tickets and the view was as spectacular as I remember. Wow! I wish I could show you but there were too many people around to take a decent picture.
Next up, the Louvre Museum. Neither of us have actually been inside before, so it was cool to see the Mona Lisa painting in real life. Afterwards, we had a spot of lunch before wandering around the Jardin de Tuileries. I love how so many people relax here and lie on the grass with a book!
Then, a quick matcha latte break at Café Kitsune before spending time in the Montmarte district. It was a charming and idyllic village but packed with tourists, so we didn’t stay too long. And while La Maison Rose was adorable to look at, the food was a bit underwhelming. There are much better places to eat!
Later on, we visited the Notre Dame Cathedral, which is still under restoration, but was still extraordinary to see. We also called into Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore who houses aspiring writers and artists in exchange for helping out around the store. You can’t take photos inside but it’s a must-visit!
In the evening, we went for dinner at Café Des Arts. My addiction to French onion soup began here and it was the first of many bowls consumed on the trip. Sam also tried snails for the first time too, so he felt like a fully-fledged Parisian. To finish, we strolled along the Seine and admired all the lights, sights and sounds. Très romantique!
Another 8am start and not even the rain could stop us. We admired the Arc de Triomphe and wandered down the Champs-Élysées, a glorious avenue full of shops, boutiques and restaurants. After some browsing, we stopped for a drink at Joe and the Juice in Galeries Lafayette. It was a welcome change to all the coffee! It wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without a macaron either so a pit-stop at Ladurée was essential.
We stumbled on the Flame of Liberty, a monument, which has become a memorial for Princess Diana, before our cruise on the Seine. I’d highly recommend it! You get to see most of Paris’s most famous and important buildings, bridges and attractions all while sailing on the river. In the afternoon, we pottered to the Angelina boutique in Rue du Bac, picked up some gorgeous pastries and ate them in a nearby park.
Then, we went to Atelier des Lumières located between Bastille and Nation and watched the Van Gogh Starry Night exhibition. There were quite a lot of young and bored children, running around which spoilt the experience a little but nevertheless it was worth going and something different from the typical tourist attractions.
It was my birthday on the Sunday so to wake up in Paris itself was AMAZING and I felt full of gratitude. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining. I opened my cards and gifts in bed with the Paris episodes of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl on TV (living the dream!) whilst Sam nipped out for espresso and croissants for us.
After breakfast, we visited the Panthéon before stopping for another coffee in Place de Valois. You might recognise it from Emily in Paris!
After that, we were quite content just ambling around and soaking up the scenery. In the evening, we went for dinner and watched the light show at the Eiffel Tower. It was pure magic and so romantic, I thought was secretly being filmed for a cheesy Netflix romcom.
On the Monday, we made the most of the sights and sheltered from the rain in cute Parisian cafes before heading for the airport. As ever, we had the most wonderful trip together and I feel so grateful to travel with my best pal (please don’t be sick, readers). Merci beaucoup, Sam and merci beaucoup, Paris. Until next time!