I have been to Paris twice, the first time was in August 2013 and the second time was in December 2014. This post mixes my experience during both trips. I will try to specify below the trip each experience relates to.
How long I stayed
August 2013- 1 day, 1 night
December 2014- 1 day 2 nights
August 2013- the weather was very warm and it was sunny all day as you will see in the pictures below.
December 2014- the weather was mild and I didn’t need gloves or a hat. However it rained non-stop.
Where I stayed
August 2013- Comfort Inn Saint-Pierre Hotel
Being Naive I assumed a hotel near the main station and some what centrally located would be ok. Well whilst the hotel was ok, the area around Gare du Nord is not. The only word I can use to describe it is as is…scary. I would not recommend that a single female book a hotel around the main station as I felt very unsafe.
December 2014- B&B La Villette
This was a nice clean 3 star hotel , the breakfast was very good but again I did not like the area. I had no choice about this hotel as it was part of a Topdeck tour holiday I was on. I wouldn’t recommend walking around or going out around the hotel as a tourist late at night.
How I got around
I did buy a metro pass but I like walking so I walked everywhere. The metro pass was really in expensive and costs £10, which gave you 10 single journeys to travel all over Paris.
What I did
The old Grand Palace of Louvre and the museum
The palace is impressive, beautifully preserved and a stunning piece of architecture. The historic palace buildings wrap themselves around the magnificent modern glass pyramid of the Louvre Museum. The old and new work together in harmony and is testament of how historical and new architecture can compliment each other.
This area and it is a must see if you ever decide to come to Paris.
One my first visit I did not go in the Louvre as I was on a day trip and being an artist I take my time when I go in to galleries, I would have spent the whole day viewing the pieces. Even though I am yet to go to the Louvre museum, I recommend if you do go to Paris, going to the Louvre Museum should be on your agenda, as it is the home of the famous Mona Lisa and a truly magnificent museum with some of the worlds best pieces of art.
Arc De Triomphe
After my visit to the Louvre Palace, I walked to the Arc De Triomphe, where I decided it would be a good idea to run across the most notorious roundabout in the whole of Paris if not France. I later found out during my second visit that the French government does care about tourist and public safety and had built a safe subway for access to the Arc De Triomphe, removing the need to run through Parisian traffic. I seriously had believed running across the roadways the only way to get across to the Monument, might I add that I wasn’t alone in my daredevil act of taking on Parisian motorists. Running across the Arc De Triomphe roundabout is not recommended.
After visiting Arc De Triomphe, I walked to the Eiffel Tower but I decided not to go up the tower, should I have decided to wait to go up the tower, I suspected I would be writing this blog from the queue even now. If you wish to climb up the Tower I suggest you get there as early as possible to avoid the very long queues.
After taking several pictures and selfies trying to get the iconic tower as I wanted it, I left. During my second visit to Paris I went to the tower at night and it was even more impressive lite up. Paris is not titled the city of light without just cause.
River Seine cruise
This was one of my favourite part of my trip, I love boats and being on the water. I went on the river cruise during my first visit to Paris in August and the weather was perfect.
A river cruise is great way to see any city and Paris is no exception. The cost of the cruise was €23 and that included a waffle with Nutella and strawberries and a drink. The waffle was very tasty too. The cruise was an 1hr and half long, I highly recommend this.
During my second trip in December 2014, I decided I wanted to go to the Moulin Rouge, not for a cabaret show but to see the iconic building to take some pictures. It was also on the way to Mont Marte and Sacre Coeur so it was a good detour.
After taking several pictures of Moulin Rouge, I headed to Monte Marte the artist quarter, where my kindred spirits reside. Unfortunately the artists of Monte Marte only really come out during summer so the area was rather quite.
Sacre Coeur Cathedral
This beautiful Cathedral sits at the highest point in Paris. An impressive functional Cathedral, there were a number of people praying as I walked round, it was very sombre, but in a good way. The little gift shop is offers good value on religious trinkets if you are that way inclined.
The view from Sacre Coeur even on the damp grey December day was still impressive, Paris looked so chaotic but peaceful at the same time.
The garden of Sacre Coeur is also very beautiful and idyllic perfect for asking that all important question.
The Grand Palace/ Le Grand Palais
I can’t ice skate, heck I can’t even shuffle, therefore whatever I did on the ice for the time I was at The Grand Palace was very undignified. However the experience and atmosphere made it very memorable and worth all of the €25 to cling to side of the rink. I did build up courage enough to go one full circuit without clinging to the sides but that took every ounce of strength and determination. If you are going to Paris during Winter I highly recommend this.
What a cathedral! It’s everything I imagined and more it sits very impressively on the banks of the River Seine and was beautifully lite up for the festive period.
During my first visit in summer I took some amazing pictures from a boat on the River Seine. Notre Dame is an amazing feat of gothic architecture and it free to get into.
The stalls had the festive spirit in abundance, the cute stalls lined both side of the Champs Elysees, and were wonderfully lite. The snack food and especially hot wine make walking though the different stalls even more pleasant.
What I ate
I tried french onion soup but I really disliked it and I definitely will not be trying it again.
I also tried some snails, this surprisingly I liked, it could be due to fact that the part of Nigeria my parent are from, giant snails are a delicacy so I had eaten snails on many occasions. The food at the restaurant was ok, simply ok.
Le Petit Josselin had been recommended for its savoury crepes. The Crepe was lovely and at £10 for a lunch menu that included a savory crepe,a desert and a drink it was well worth it.
My Ratings of Paris
My ratings are out of ten and are my own personal views therefore feel free to disagree.
Culture = 8/10
Paris is a city of culture there is so much to do and see, with so many museums, theatres and places of historical significance you will have loads to keep you occupied.
People/ friendliness = 4.5/10
Well the Parisians were stylish as expected but a little too cold for my liking. I felt unable to approach the locals for help and when I did manage to get someone to help, it felt like i was a bother.
The Parisians are not the friendliest is all I will say.
Attractiveness = 8.5/10
Paris is a beautiful city, a very proud city with the architecture to match. Being a city girl, i thrive in the chaos of a city and Paris certainly had enough chaotic charm.
Food = 7/10
Of the 7 points the 5 goes to the desserts at Laudere. Perhaps it was the food or restaurant I ate but I found french food to be rather average. If i was scoring desserts alone it would probably be a 8.5 if not a 9.
Affordability = 7/10
As a Londoner there are not many places I find expensive as I am used to being ripped off. Paris was affordable in my opinion, the most I spent on an activity was £25 euros and that was to ice skate in The Grand Palace.
Vibe = 7/10
Paris has a chic and cool vibe. I could also sense that it would be very romantic and there are so many locations to make ones partner feel special.
Paris is a beautiful city with lots to do and see.A day trip is fine as a taster but I recommend a three-day weekend trip to really get a feel and experience some of the things Paris has to offer. Paris should be on your bucket list of cities to visit, even if it’s for the cakes.
If you’ve enjoyed my review or not leave a comment.
Or if you want any advice for your trip leave a comment and I will be sure to do my best to help you.