As you are all aware my beautiful Mum turned 60 in June, for her present Barney and I whisked her away on a long weekend trip to Paris. None of us had ever been before and I was so excited to visit all of the famous landmarks that I had only ever dreamt of seeing. After very nearly missing our flight; we arrived in Paris on Friday and made our way to the hotel where we had an early night ready for the sightseeing to begin the next day.
It was only a 30-minute walk from our hotel to Notre Dame and it was lovely to walk the streets of Paris and see all the amazing architecture this city had to offer. Notre Dame is simply stunning and was definitely a highlight of my trip. Outside is so detailed, we could have spent the majority of the day looking around it. We queued up to go in and inside was no different; just beautiful. There is something about being inside a church that puts me at ease and instantly makes me feel calm. Notre Dame is huge and there was so much to see inside.
We then walked to the Louvre, crossing over the Pont des Arts bridge. The Louvre’s surroundings were incredible and really reminded me of Somerset House but on a much grander scale. We all said we needed a couple of days to really take in everything at the Louvre, it really has a lot to offer but I loved every moment of our whistle-stop tour. We, of course, visited the Mona Lisa painting which was very popular but it was lovely to see it in person, the thing I most loved about the Louvre were the ceilings. Each one was so grand and painted to perfection.
We came across this beautiful spot just outside the Louvre which has a lovely Arc and offered us a sensational view all the way up the Champs-Élysées to the Arc De Triomphe right at the end. It also had a huge fountain which we stopped at for a drink and to soak in the atmosphere. This spot was a favourite among us, I also saw my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower!! We then walked up Avenue de l’Opéra to Palais Garnier and it was stunning. This opera house is the inspiration behind ‘Phantom of the Opera’ and a site I have wanted to visit for a long time. It felt a bit hidden away but as soon as we turned the corner it hit us in the face; just so grand. I would have loved to visit here back in the 1920s.
Moulin Rouge is one of my favourite films so this was a definite must for me to visit. The walk was quite long and to be honest there is nothing really around it but I still wanted to see it in all its glory. I would have loved to have seen inside and watched a show but this was quite pricey so we took a few snaps and then made our way back to where we were staying in Voltaire for a meal. On Saturday we did 33,125 steps so it’s safe to say we were in desperate need of a bath to soak our muscles ready for tomorrow.
We started Saturday by walking up the Champs-Élysées; stopping in various shops and cafes. At the end of this very famous street is the Arc de Triomphe and it was breathtaking. It’s situated in the middle of a roundabout meaning we had to go underground in order to access it; once we were outside, it was obvious to see how big this landmark truly was. To access the top of the Arc we had to go up a set of never-ending spiral stairs which really took it out of us but the views we got from the top were well worth it. This again was one of the highlights of my trip, I loved the story behind it. It was built to honour the victories of Napoleon Bonaparte and at the base stands a torch; every evening at 6:30 pm veterans lay wreaths near its flame to mark the remembrance of the sacrifice of an unknown French soldier who gave his life during World War I.
From the Arc de Triomphe we made our way down to Trocadéro where we got our famous views of the Eiffel Tower. I got very giddy when I finally saw it in its full force, it was beautiful and a structural dream. This queue was probably the longest one but again it was worth it, we got in and had pictures underneath and it was here that I really got a sense of how big it was. The queues for the lifts were unreal so we decided to walk up to the second floor instead and I’m so glad we did. Yes it took time, yes I had to stop every 20 seconds for a rest but I can now say that I have walked up the Eiffel Tower and I love that. The views were so lovely and made you realise just how bright and clean the city is.
After the Eiffel Tower, I persuaded my mum to come on the carousel with me, this one was in the perfect location and just had to be done. When I visited New York I actually cried when I saw the Statue of Liberty, I do not know why this means so much to me but it does so when my boyfriend told me there were two located in Paris, I had to see one. Luckily we chose to see a great one located at Île aux Cygnes, a small artificial island on the river Seine. This replica is a quarter scale at 22 meters tall and faces west in the direction of its larger sibling in New York City. We chose to end the day with a bus tour which went around Paris, it was lovely to firstly rest our feet after already doing 24,240 steps (67 floors!) but to see the landmarks we had already seen in a different light and see new ones along the way. I loved the commentary that came with the bus, it was very informative!
We spent our last few hours in Paris on Monday visiting the Sacré-Cœur and we certainly had great weather for it. This place took my breath away, so stunning and peaceful. It was a mission to get to the top with our suitcases (don’t go with a suitcase!!!) but it was beautiful. Amazing views and a lovely end to our trip! We, of course, had to be over the top tourists and buy berets but we found a beautiful archway to take our picture and couldn’t resist!
Paris was incredible and by far exceeded my expectations. I’d love to go back during the winter so I could see the landmarks all lit up in the dark and make the experience truly magical but it’s safe to say Paris, I love you.
Have you ever been? I’d love to see your pictures!