“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien,
I live for an adventure. If I could spend all my money on something it would be travel. Even if you venture to the same place twice, each time is different. My love of travelling has always been there but became stronger when I spent 4 months exploring the world. Sure it had it’s ups and downs but they are memories that will live with me forever. This adventure took me to Paris for the weekend and my travel partner in crime was my boyfriend and chief photographer, Darragh. It was our first time in Paris (we visited Disneyland last April, post here). It was a city full of adventure so what better way to share my experience than to share my top tips for travelling to Paris.
1.Plan ahead & do your research – We booked our flights 3 weeks before we left (yes we are last minute but it’s part of the fun) so I did a quick blitz on research. If you put you mind to it you can really find everything you need in a short space of time. I love reading other blogs and I think it is the best way to share information in a non-formal way. I searched blogs that I already follow, my regulars, to see if they had any tips. How I found other blogs was simply from googling ‘Paris Blogs’ and found loads of really good blogs! Bloggers give you the best insight in to what they liked/disliked and are completely honest with how they found something. I got some great tips and lots of places that are off the beaten track. Here are the blogs that I read ahead of my Parisian Adventure.
2. Picking a hotel – Plan what you want to see & do before you pick your hotel. There are 100’s of hotels to choose from in all price ranges. Before our trip to Paris I bought a map of Paris and marked everything we wanted to do. I would really recommend doing this because Paris is overwhelming when you arrive. We stayed in the Latin Quarter near Notre Dame. We loved this area. It felt so French and I didn’t feel like a tourist wandering in the streets. When I stay somewhere I like to walk around near the hotel and get a real feel for the culture. The hotel we stayed in was Hotel Quartier Latin and it was perfect. The staff were so helpful and friendly and they had the nicest pillows. Again we booked this a few days before our trip. Very relaxed we are!
3. Go before you are 25- This may seem like a strange one but did you know that if you are under 25 you can visit most of the attractions for free? We didn’t either until we were asked for ID. The first time I have ever been happy to be asked for ID. All you need is ID with your date of birth so a drivers licence, age card or passport is perfect. A handy little tip!4. Taxis – They are so much cheaper than I thought! Maybe Dublin taxi prices are just incredibly overpriced. We had researched how to get from the airport to the city and all of the guides said €35-40. I being very cheeky decided to try my luck and said €30. I would recommend using French, so practice your numbers and phrases before going. The bus is the cheapest option coming in at less than €20. On our taxi journey we got to see lots of the city and our first glimpse of the iconic Eiffel Tower.
5. The Metro – They easiest way to get around Paris. On our first day we google mapped walking to the Eiffel Tower. It was an hour and we decided to walk. It was so beautiful and we discovered so many little streets on our way. We also walked the whole way home, so on our first day, tired feet and all we decided maybe we need to use the metro. The Metro is exactly like the Tube in London or the Subway in New York. Logic and a little grimy. It is not the prettiest way to travel and it is all underground so you won’t see any sights but it was so quick and less than €2 a trip. I knew Paris as a city was huge but only realised the area w covered from the top of the Notre-Dame.The metro runs on coloured lines that are numbered. All you need to know is the number of the line and the direction you are going in. There are loads of signs underground that have details of the stops so you really cannot get lost.6. Climbing Notre-Dame – A trip to Paris would not be complete without visiting this famous Cathedral. I recommend watching the Disney film ‘Hunchback of Notre-Dame’ before your trip as every time you hear the bells you will start singing. On our last day we climbed the tower. We thought the entrance was through the main doors but it was actually to the side. The queue was huge, nearly the full length of the cathedral. We waited nearly 2 hours in line to get up the tower but it was worth it. I mean look at this view!! Note that you are not allowed take big bags up the tower and it is very tightly spaced. They only allow 20 people up at a time, hence the long wait. We arrived at 10:30am so I would recommend arriving before that for a smaller queue.
7. Moulin Rouge – This show was incredible. It wasn’t what I was expecting from a Burlesque show. It was a production of Broadway style dancing and singing, very tasteful and a classy version of Burlesque in my opinion. The only nudity is that some of the women are topless but most are covered with glitter, jewels and the occasional feather or two. I was expecting this show to be a little bit of the raunchy side but it was far more like a musical. When buying your ticket make sure you get the drink option. You will get a full bottle of champagne when you arrive to your seat. Drinks were incredibly expensive in there with the cheapest bottle of wine being €70! (Very expensive for France) Arrive early. Our show started at 11pm and we arrived at 10pm and there was still a queue!8. The Eiffel Tower – Possibly the most iconic thing in Paris that you cannot miss. I was completely taken aback by the Eiffel Tower when I saw it for the first time. From a distance it is prettier but up close it is truly incredible. It is everything you have seen in the movies and more. We choose not to go up the Eiffel Tower from recommendations from others. On our first day we walked to the Eiffel Tower and I loved the walk there. Make sure to see the Eiffel Tower during the day as the photos you will get are so cool! Be careful though, as there are lots of pickpockets and men trying to sell you absolutely everything! The Eiffel Tower at night is something else. I took note from The Londoner and went up to Trocadero to watch the lights sparkle. It is a view that I will never forget. Trocadero have gardens right behind the Eiffel Tower where you can watch the lights sparkle from a height. I look this amazing video which is over on my instagram (katekellyk). The Eiffel Tower lights up when it gets dark and then sparkles on the hour, every hour for 5 minutes.9. Climb the Arc De Triomphe – A fabulous monument surrounded by craziness. I was again completely taken aback when I saw the Arc De Triomphe for the first time, this happened a lot in Paris. I think as Paris is one of the most iconic cities in several films, I felt as if I knew it all. This is what I loved the most about Paris, everything took me by surprise. Surrounded by the complete madness that is, what seems like a 5 lane roundabout with no lights or road markings. Fools attempting to cross the street and nearly get killed! There is an underground passage you take to get across. We climbed the Arc De Triomphe and the view was just so amazing. I love photography and I got some amazing shots. You have a complete panoramic view of the city.
10. Sacré-Cœur – This iconic church can be seen from all over Paris and the view from the top just outside the church is something else. I love viewing cities from a height. Lots of steps climbed to see this pretty church but so worth it!
“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” ― Dalai Lama
My plan for the rest of my years! I hope you enjoyed this (very long) post about Paris. I will have my outfit posts and foodie finds next week so stay tuned. Let me know if you are planning a trip to Paris anytime soon!
Love Kate x