On a recent birthday trip I spent 3 days in Paris with CLB, exploring, eating and drinking (alongside dodging the riots but that didn’t put a dampener on things).
With an early morning Eurostar from St Pancras we decided to stay the Friday night in Kings Cross at the hub by Premier Inn, this gave us an extra hour in bed and at 5am that really is needed. Check in and passport control at Eurostar was super simple and before we knew it we were on board the train and on route to Paris…with champagne in hand of course!
Once we arrived the adventures really begun and this is what we got up to:
We made it to Paris mid-morning and after checking into our beautiful room at the Brighton Hotel (more on that to follow) we went on a mission to find a local place for some French grub. Thankfully we found La Coupe d’Or for a platter of dried meats, cheeses and the all important glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape…boy, do I love France!
CLB had booked tickets for the Eiffel Tower as part of my birthday present and so next we made our way there. Due to the protests going on in the city many of the roads were closed so we set off on foot…1hr later we made it, a little late for our allocated slot but no-one batted an eyelid thankfully. We did have tickets right to the top but unfortunately by the time we made it to the Tower the wind had picked up enough for the very top level to be shut. Nothing was going to ruin my birthday though so we set about checking out the different views in level 2 as we made our way around the structure.
Before we knew it early evening was upon us and a decision was to be made; we were booked in at Le Coup Chou for a birthday dinner however being about a 45minute walk from our hotel and with the roads still being closed we ended up cancelling the reservation and heading to Inavoué around the corner instead. I’m gutted we missed the romantic setting of Le Coup Chou but the food, drink and service at Inavoué were exceptional and it made a fantastic substitute. Three courses later we rolled home and climbed into bed.
After a somewhat relaxed Saturday things were ramped up today to make the most of site-seeing now (nearly) everything was open again. (Tip: the first Sunday of every month from October to March brings free entry to many of the major sites).
First up it was time for some art and a visit to Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s Waterlilies.
Following this we walked towards the Champs-Élysées via the Grand Palais which was unfortunately closed so we couldn’t visit.
We walked up the most famous street in Paris and ended up at the Arc de Triomphe which we were hoping to go into, however due to the clean-up operation following the protests it was unfortunately closed.
We walked the back streets to get back down to the river to pick up the Batobus. We took the river boat to Notre Dame where we found out all their slots for visiting the bell tower where booked up (Tip: book ahead using the Jefile app).
We therefore decided to head to Ma Salle du Manger for a late lunch; this bistro was tiny but the food was outstanding. Thank you Lonely Planet for that recommendation!
We could still visit the Notre Dame Cathedral without having a reservation so we headed in before getting the Batobus back to near our hotel. River views of Paris at night are divine…
Moulin Rouge was on the agenda for Sunday night and despite being pretty cheesy it was a fantastic show, and I’m glad I finally got to see it on my umpteenth trip to Paris. We’d heard the food wasn’t worth the price tag and chose the drinks package instead, which suited us perfectly as we were still full from our late lunch anyway. Then following the show we stopped by Dirty Dick’s for a cocktail before jumping in an Uber back to our hotel.
Our final day came around far too fast, sad face. Once we’d had a lie in, it was a holiday after all, we hotfooted it to the Louvre for our pre-booked slot to see the world famous Mona Lisa amongst other works of art.
Of course we couldn’t leave Paris without picking up some colourful macaroons from Ladurée, which, in my opinion, is the world best producer of the delicious treats!
Lunch time quickly came about and we stumbled across the Japanese restaurant Toyotomi, it was packed which always suggests to me that it’s at least half decent, and it sure was.
After a couple more hours mooching around the city taking in the sites and sounds, our final stop of the trip in a sightseeing capacity was the Sacre-Cœur which was caught around dusk, and the setting couldn’t have been more beautiful…
Next stop the station. Just like that our trip was over. Au revoir belle Paris, à bientôt…