Paris

The perfect weekend getaway: Paris

The perfect weekend: Paris

There’s something about Paris. I can’t explain it but the second I landed in Paris for the first time I experienced two different emotions simultaneously. The first feeling was one of belonging, in a way I cannot explain - though I have since read many people who have had a similar experience. The second one was a feeling of not really seeing Paris, of knowing there is more to Paris that I haven’t found yet. I still feel like that - and that’s what motivates me to go back to Paris.

This perfect weekend is a bit different from others because I’m not going to give any specific recommendations for places to eat. I don’t think I have found the best places to eat just yet,instead I have linked some helpful articles down the bottom to (hopefully) point you in the right direction. 

Friday afternoon

Once you arrive it’s time to check in to your hotel and personally I love Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais. Behind a sweet blue door (and just off the Rue de Rivoli) it is cozy and fantastically baroque. What’s great is one you’re checked in you can head out to one of the many bars in the Marais for a pre dinner drink. The French eat dinner around 8 so having an apertif isn’t just a fantastically French thing to do - it’s also a great way to pass the time until dinner.

The perfect weekend: Paris

Saturday

I hope you bought walking shoes because today is going to be an adventure, and the best way to experience it is walking. Weekends are a busy time for the museums of course so it’s important to get an early start. For breakfast I cannot suggest anything other than the breakfast at the hotel. It’s a bit expensive but it is the best breakfast I have ever had. You get a normal croissant, a chocolate croissant and a baguette (with butter, jam and honey). You also get a soft boiled egg, a kiwi fruit, some yoghurt and cheese. Oh and coffee that converted me from a mocha drinker to a coffee freak.

Properly satiated it’s time to walk down to the Louvre. The first time we went to Paris we were walking down to the Rue de Rivoli trying to find the Louvre, wandering past all these high street shops I turned my head and there it was. The Louvre was just sitting across from a H & M like it belonged there.

I tell this story because for an Australian, where no building in the city I grew up in is more than a few hundred years old, the casual clash of history and modern life was (and continues to be) the most mind boggling thing about travelling in places like Europe.

Anyway so the Louvre; it is definitely worth a visit but it is HUGE so pick your battles and don’t try and see everything in one go. In case you were wondering, seeing the Mona Lisa is worth it. I didn’t try and get close because of the crowd but it was more beautiful then I was expecting. 

After the Louvre it's lovely to go for a wander in the Jardin des Tuileries - in winter it’s beautifully barren and in summer it’s a leafy wonderland so you really can’t go wrong.

Then it’s time to head over to my favourite museum in Paris (and if I’m honest - one of my favourite in the world); the Musee D’Orsay. It has an amazing collection of Impressionist art, and it’s housed in an old train station. It’s a joy to wander through, plus the museum cafe is upstairs behind the old station clock. It’s the perfect place for a lunch break.

After lunch it’s time to wander back across the river; you can head to the hotel for a nap, go for another walk in the Jardin De Tuileries or maybe do some shopping on Rue De Rivoli. No matter what you do definitely stop at a boulangerie for some kind of afternoon pastry treat. Remember dinner isn’t until 8 so it’s totally acceptable to get an afternoon snack.

Perfect Weekend: Paris //Miss Sweet Nothings

Sunday

After the intensity of Saturday, Sunday is the day for a more leisurely pace. There are lots of sweet places to get breakfast (if you can drag yourself away from the breakfast at the hotel) and then it’s time to strap your walking shoes on again and go for a walk on the Siene.

The aim is to get to the Eiffel Tower - and yes this is quite a walk. But it is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday. Once you get to the Eiffel Tower it’s time to find somewhere for lunch before wandering back. On your walk back you should take a brief detour to Notre Dame. Now - the cathedral is beautiful - but I’ll let you in on a secret. Underneath Notre Dame is the history of the island on which is stands, the Ile de la Cite. And there is a museum that takes you through the foundations of the Ile de la Cite. For those of you that are Vikings fans this is a must.

Lot of food inspiration

Wander Guide: A Weekend in Paris by Local Milk

Alex the French Food Guy filmed a love letter to Paris

Smitten Kitchen shared where she ate in Paris

Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl lives in Paris and shares some amazing articles


Travel Guide: Paris

I'm so excited to share some of our honeymoon over the next few weeks; we had a fantastic time and I want to tell you about some of our must do's and must eat's.

First up is Paris. Paris is one of my favourite cities in the world - we've been there three times now, and each time I have fallen a little more in love with the city of lights. There's just something about it that has completely captured my heart. I never feel like I've explored enough or eaten enough when I'm in Paris.

What to do?

Paris is a city full of things to do. Even after three visits we still have things we haven't done yet - which is exactly how it should be. I always think you should leave a reason to come back. Below are our favourites (so far):

The Louvre

We didn't go on our most recent trip, but we did the first time we visited. It is worth a visit, though I do suggest going on a weekday and getting an early start to try and skip the lines. I swear this is true - we went on a Wednesday about half an hour after it opened and we just waltzed straight in - and by the time we left the queue was massive. It is important to note most other museums in Paris are closed on Monday (aside from the Louvre) so if you can don't go on Monday as it will be busier. 

The Louvre is huge, and you won't see all of it in one day - thankfully their maps are divided into sections, so you can just pick the bits you're most interested in. We did end up getting to the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo in our morning there. I was very surprised to find the Mona Lisa much more beautiful than I expected. 

Jardin des Tuileries

These are the gardens attached to the Louvre, and well worth a wander. We've only ever gone in winter, but still have found it really lovely. Paris is winter is bleakly gorgeous - all bare trees silhouetted against the sky. I adore it. I definitely recommend going for a walk first thing in the morning - and there are even some little cafes where you can stop for a morning cappuccino. 

Musee D'Orsay

If your time in Paris is limited and you can only fit in one museum please pick the Musee D'Orsay over the Louvre. You will not regret it; the Musee D'Orsay is housed in a giant converted train station and specialises in Impressionist art. It's constantly expanding, and unlike the Louvre it was worth a repeat performance on our most recent trip. Aside from the amazing artwork one of my favourite parts of the Musee D'Orsay is the upstairs cafe, it's behind the former train clock and it is seriously cool.

Travel Guide: Paris // Miss Sweet Nothings

Les Catacombs

So, the Catacombs are not for the faint hearted, not so much for the six million people interred - I found that to be quite peaceful. Far more disconcerting is the fact that you are 60 metres beneath Paris and I don't like to use the expression "with crushing rock above you" but I certainly thought it at several points. Also the stairwell out of the catacombs is a cork screw nightmare. However if you think you can get past that it is completely worth it - the Catacombs are beautiful, serene and almost spiritual. I was so glad I fought past my initial terror.

Walks along the SEINE

Mike and I are big walkers on holidays - on one memorable day we walked 15 kilometres - and some of my favourite memories are of us walking down the Seine and enjoying the winter sunshine. On one walk we stumbled on a vintage car rally, on another we walked through a Christmas market.

Travel Guide: Paris // Miss Sweet Nothings

 Where to eat

Rather than give you a specific recommendation I thought I would give you some guidelines on how to think about food in Paris:

  • French bread: I have never eaten more delicious bread in my life than the bread I ate in Paris. At our hotel we were would order breakfast every day and the baguette was always my favourite part. I cannot even speak about delicious all the bread I ate in Paris was.

  • The French eat dinner late: 8 or later - I know it's hard to hold out but it makes you feel more at home in France (Europe in general in fact) if you wait until the "normal" service times.

  • Boulangeries are magic: They’re perfect for affordable lunches - and snacks - and eclairs.

  • This is more of a tip in general but that old myth of the unfriendly Frenchmen is simply not true. Mike speaks a little French and I speak French food (with appalling pronunciation)so we can't really say we're comfy with the language. However we smile a lot, we laugh at our terrible French and we are yet to feel unwelcome.

  • Just. Eat. French food is magical and incredible and so beautiful. They do simple so, so well it is an inspiration (at least to a foodie like me).

Where to stay

Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais

On both our trips we have stayed at the same place, Hotel Caron de Beaumarchais. It's right on the Rue de Rivoli and it is so cute and quaint. The rooms are small (but they all are in Paris) but so beautifully decorated; elaborate and baroque.

We came back for a few reasons: the location is incredible, the staff are all wonderfully friendly and helpful and the breakfast is the best I've ever had: baguettes, croissants (with honey, jam and butter), yoghurt, a soft boiled egg, a kiwifruit and glorious rich coffee. Well worth the 13 euro. 

Further Reading

Alex the French Food Guy filmed a love letter to Paris

Smitten Kitchen shared where she ate in Paris

Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl lives in Paris and shares some amazing articles

Alex & Mimi Ikonn shared a follow me around Paris video (Part One & Part Two)

I shared my perfect weekend in Paris