Paris, known as the city of love, captured my heart when we visited there for a weekend city break. In the midst of the dreary British winter, we decided to book a trip to Paris with the added convenience of being able to travel from our local Southampton Airport. Here’s what we got up to:
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Hotel Cluny Square in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter, which was a perfect location for exploring the city. It was a lot quieter than other areas of Paris, with plenty of cafés and restaurants and had good Metro links, making it easy to get around and see the sights. Whilst the hotel offered a continental breakfast option, there was a Brioche Dorée right across the road which had a fresh range of bread, croissants and pastries every day. You’ll see this French chain on pretty much every street corner in Paris and we found it was the best way to fuel ourselves for the day ahead. Our hotel room was lovely and quaint with Parisian style decor and had views of the Eiffel Tower in the distance.
What We Did
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower. The impressive structure was a lot bigger than I anticipated and I loved that you could see it from various viewpoints right across Paris. However, with it being March, the visibility wasn’t so good. It was quite comical because as soon as we got to the top of the tower, we could see absolutely nothing but fog! Soon enough, the fog cleared and we were greeted with amazing views of the city below. The strong winds made it feel quite unsteady up there, so I expect it would be quite a different experience if you visited in the summer. Nonetheless, it was well worth the trip up there to see the incredible views of the city.
Arc de Triomphe
Next up was the Arc de Triomphe, a historic monument in the middle of what I can only describe as the most ridiculously crazy/dangerous roundabout in the world. Arc de Triomphe has a fantastic view from the top and is just the right height to be able to people-watch from above.
Notre Dame, home to the Hunchback and one of the finest examples of French gothic architecture. It’s a fascinating structure from the outside and even more spectacular from the inside. We decided to climb the steps up to the top of the cathedral, joining the gargoyles for a great view of the surrounding area. We feel very fortunate to have been able to visit Notre Dame in all its glory, just a month before the fire that devastated this beautiful building.
An absolutely stunning array of stained glass windows. I think the photo speaks for itself! A definite must-see when visiting Paris.
When I think of Paris, this neighbourhood is exactly what I picture. Lots of pretty little side streets and the classic artists’ square called Place du Tertre. A great place to take a slow stroll, stopping off at a café or bar in between exploring.
Finally, a trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Louvre. We didn’t actually go inside the museum, partly because we didn’t fancy fighting through crowds to get a tiny glimpse of the Mona Lisa, and also because it was late in the day and we were hungry!
Where We Ate & Drank
Le Refuge des Fondus – An authentic fondue restaurant, which served wine in baby bottles which was quite fun and quirky.
Les Fondus De La Raclette Parmentier – A French restaurant famous for its cheesy raclette, traditionally served with potatoes and cuts of meat.
Montparnasse Tower – A skyscraper with an observation deck offering 360 views and the highest rooftop bar in Paris. You can buy tickets in advance online and I’d definitely recommend going in time for sunset as the views are spectacular. Whilst the drinks were a little on the pricey side, we did enjoy a beer/wine to celebrate our last night in Paris.
Here’s a short video of our trip to Paris: