Eiffel Tower & Sacre-Coeur – Paris

As part of my trip to Paris in May 2016, I visited the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur Bascilica and went on a night-time cruise on the River Seine. This post covers  those experiences and shows you the great sights I saw.

Eiffel Tower
We paid approximately £14 for our tickets for the Eiffel Tower, we didn’t pre-buy our tickets, I really wish we had as we queued for 1 hour 30mins  to get out tickets and then another 30 mins to get  into the lift that took us 3/4 of the way up. Getting to the top requires two separate lift journeys. One from ground to 3/4 up the tower and another to take you up to the topmost viewing platform.

The Tower is an amazing structure and a remarkable feat of engineering. The views from the tower are stunning. Paris is  even more so a beautiful city when viewed from the tower, especially when the mostly white buildings that make up the city glisten in the sun. It was very calming on the tower even though it was busy with lots of people around. The air and the scenery allowed me to escape into a place serenity.  It is truly a worthwhile activity to do, but book your tickets in advance and go early to get the most out of the experience.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Up Close of The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Up Close of The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
View from Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Me on the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Me on the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

Night Cruise on the River Seine
We wanted to see the city by night and we felt the best way to experience the city would be on a cruise on the River Seine as the cruise take you through the heart of the city and past iconic landmarks. We paid approximately £20 for the cruise which includes a hot drink and a crepe. The night cruise was well worth the money, I personally being on the water as I find it very calming. The boat wasn’t busy so i was able to move freely to get the best views.

Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris, France
Eiffel Tower at Night, Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower at Night from the River Seine, Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower at night from the River Seine, Paris, France
Paris, France by Night
Paris, France by Night
Notre Dame at Night From the River Seine, Paris, France
Notre Dame at Night From the River Seine, Paris, France
Notre Dame at Night From the River Seine, Paris, France
Notre Dame at Night From the River Seine, Paris, France
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris, France by Night From the River Seine
Paris, France by Night From the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine
Paris France by Night on the River Seine

Sacré-Cœur
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, is more commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica or often simply called Sacré-Cœur. Sacre-Coeur is a popular landmark, Parisian landmark and located in the summit of the art district of Montmarte. The Basilica is worth a visit for great views of the city, to get a Parisian caricature from a street artist and to spend some time in the park and gardens located at the base of Sacre-Coeur.

Sacre Coeur, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur Bascilica, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur Bascilica, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur, Paris, France
Sacre Coeur Bascilica, Paris, France
Montmarte, Paris, France
Montmarte, Paris, France
Street Art, Paris, France
Street Art Montmarte, Paris, France
Street Art, Paris, France
Street Art Montmarte, Paris, France

Overall
There are loads to do in Paris, the city is chic, artsy and  romantic. It may be a while before I return to the city but I am sure I will visit again to enjoy Parisian culture. Want to know other things to do in the city check out my previous blogs here and here.

If you’ve enjoyed my review or not leave a comment.
Or if you want any advice for your trip drop leave a comment and I will be sure to do my best to help you.

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Louvre Museum – Paris

My Trip to Paris in May 2016  would be the third time visiting the French capital. I have posted a blog (here)on my previous experiences in the city and it is worth a read for tips on what to do in the city of style.

This blog is going to focus on my  visit  to the Louvre Museum. In my previous post I stated that the old Grand Palace of Louvre and the museum was an 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. And my previous sentiments still remain the museum and the palace are truly astonishing.

Louvre Palace, Paris, France
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France
Me outside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Me outside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

We bought our ticket for entry into the museum online for approximately £13.  We joined the queue, only to get to the front and be old to go collect our tickets from an outside kiosk. I should have read the note on the website more carefully as it did say that the collection point for the tickets is from a newsagent kiosk outside the museum. Nevertheless we made the 10 mins detour to the kiosk, rejoined the queue and was inside the museum within 30 minutes.
It is as impressive inside as it is outside, but somewhat overwhelming after all it is the largest museum in the world. We had particular pieces we wanted to see, the Mona Lisa being at the top of the list followed closely by the Venus de milo

Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France 3
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Inside the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

The Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa is tiny and it was hard to get a good view of, in a melee of elbows and flashes, I took  the photo below and got out the mix quickly.  I wasn’t moved by the painting, I have seen several Rembrandt self portraits and they have a pull and enchantment that the Mona Lisa did not have for me, perhaps the crowd of people diminished the experience. Still it was good to see in person what is arguably the most famous painting in the world.

The Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
The Mona Lisa, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Venus de milo
I  developed a desire to see the Venus de milo because of an anime I had watched, I can no longer recall the name of the anime but story surrounded an artist desire to capture perfection he had seen in the Venus de milo. From there I desired to see the real thing and in some ways I wish she had remained out of reach because I was rather underwhelmed by her.  However I still suggest you go see her as your experience may likely differ to mine.

Venus de milo, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Venus de milo, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

I believe the Mona Lisa and Venus de milo are victims of their own success, they are so well know and their images are used all over the world, that the power of the first encounter with a piece of art is severely diminished with them. I really do believe my experiences with the pieces would have been different if I knew nothing or had not see them before.

Other Pieces in the Museum
I had a great time in the Louvre discovering new pieces of art some of which are shown below.

Diane à la biche (Artemis with a Doe), Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Diane à la biche (Artemis with a Doe), Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Vénus et Vulcain, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Venus et Vulcain, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Saint Pierre pleurant devant la Vierge, dit aussi Les Larmes de saint Pierre, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Saint Pierre pleurant devant la Vierge, dit aussi Les Larmes de saint Pierre, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Yangere, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Yangere, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Yangere, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Yangere, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Easter Island Sculpture, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Easter Island Sculpture, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Fon, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Fon, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture, Kwakwaka'wakw, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture, Kwakwaka’wakw, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Bamendou, Louvre Museum, Paris, France
Sculpture Bamendou, Louvre Museum, Paris, France

Overall the Louvre Museum is a great place to visit, the vibe is electrifying the amount of creativity and history located in the museum vibrate of the walls. I could happily spend a whole week in the museum  intoxicated in the creative and brilliance  of man.

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Paris – France

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

The weather
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.

The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Museum, Paris
Underside of Louvre Pyramid, Paris
Underside of Louvre Pyramid, Paris
The Louvre Pyramid, Paris
The Louvre Pyramid, Paris
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Pyramid
The Old Grand Palace and Louvre Pyramid

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.

Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Under Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Under Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Me at the Arc De Triomphe, Paris
Me at the Arc De Triomphe, Paris

Eiffel Tower
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.

Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower, Paris
Eiffel Tower at Night
Eiffel Tower at Night
Me at the Eiffel Tower, Paris
Me at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

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.

Views from the River Seine Cruise
Views from the River Seine Cruise
Pont Alexandre iii Bridge
Pont Alexandre iii Bridge
Lovers Padlocks on a bridge
Lovers Padlocks on a bridge
Assemblee Nationale, Paris
Assemblee Nationale, Paris
La Conciergerie, Paris
La Conciergerie, Paris

Moulin Rouge
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.

Moulin Rouge at night
Moulin Rouge at night
Posing outside Moulin Rouge
Posing outside Moulin Rouge

Monte Marte
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.

Steps leading to Sacre Coeur
Steps leading to Sacre Coeur

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.

Sacre Coeur, Paris
Sacre Coeur, Paris
View from Sacre Coeur
View from Sacre Coeur
View from Sacre Coeur
View from Sacre Coeur
Me at Sacre Coeur
Me at Sacre Coeur
Steps up to Sacre Coeur
Steps up to Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur gardens
Sacre Coeur gardens

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.

Le Grand Palais, Paris
Le Grand Palais, Paris
Le Grand Palais
Le Grand Palais
Le Grand Palais Ice Skating
Le Grand Palais Ice Skating
Le Grand Palais Ice Skating
Le Grand Palais Ice Skating

Notre Dame
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.

Notre Dame from the River Seine
Notre Dame from the River Seine
Notre Dame from the River Seine
Notre Dame from the River Seine
Notre Dame at Night
Notre Dame at Night
Notre Dame and River Seine at night
Notre Dame and River Seine at night

Christmas market
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.

Paris Christmas Market
Paris Christmas Market
Sampling hot wine at the Christmas Stalls
Sampling hot wine at the Christmas Stalls

What I ate

Standard Restaurant
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.

Standard Cafe
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.

Le Petit Josselin
Le Petit Josselin
Lights at Le Petit Josselin
Lights at Le Petit Josselin
Market food
During my summer trip I bought some sausages and chicken from a Farmers/ antique market on my way to the Eiffel tower however both were gross. The chicken had not been seasoned not even with salt and the sausage was far to rich for me.
Laudere
Laudere is dessert and sweet heaven. The cakes and macaroons were divine and worth every Euro. You must go there, French sweets/ desserts have no competition in my book.
Laudere
Laudere
Cakes at Laudere
Cakes at Laudere
Laudere Cake
Laudere Cake
Laudere Macaroons
Laudere Macaroons

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.

Overall= 7.5
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.

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