Paris is known as one of the most beautiful and most visited city in the world. After visiting Paris several times, one thing i can say for sure is “Paris is always a good idea”. Paris to me is not a city, its a world of its own. Whenever I go to Paris, I just get lost in enjoying what the beautiful city has to offer. This is my first trip as a tourist literally on my own as my husband was working there throughout my stay so i got the opportunity to explore the city by myself this time. If you haven’t travelled alone anywhere by yourself or want to travel and are unable to find a travel companion, then I would highly recommend Paris.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to Paris from London is through the Eurostar high speed trains from St Pancras International or Ebbsfleet (if you live in Kent). The comfortable Eurostar trains travels through the Channel Tunnel to the European mainland with journey times within 2 hours and 16 minutes. Eurostar recently offered 30,000 seats for a discounted price of £58 return in March so be on the look out for their deals. Alternatively, there are frequent flights from Gatwick or Stansted airport with approximately 1 hour flight time.
5 things to know about Paris
Food: Paris is the world’s culinary capital hence eating is a ritual. The French take long meals that last over several courses and conversations. Whether it’s haute cuisine or baguettes, the locals know how to eat.
Sweet Treats: If you’re a sweet tooth like me you will be happy in Paris. Most meals will often end with macaron, a creme brûlée or a delicious pastry.
Weekends: Paris tend to wind down on the weekends with some shops closed on Sunday. However most restaurants and tourist attractions stay open even on Sundays.
The city of love: Paris is the city of love, one kiss no the cheek is usual for first-time greeting while friends and family can give each other up to four kisses.
Fashion capital: Strolling through neighbourhoods such as Champs Elysee and Rue St-Honoré can be like stepping into the pages of Vogue or even a fashion week runway. Even the most casual dresser poses a certain je ne said quoi. In a nutshell, the French knows how to dress well.
Formality: Parisians tend to be formal when it come to first encounter but it doesn’t take long for this initial iciness to disappear. I particularly found the Parisians i encountered on this trip to be very friendly and helpful. Plus most of them speak English which is a bonus.
If you’re like me that speak very little french, here are 10 basic french words and phrases you should know to help navigate the city:
10 French words and phrases to know
S’il vous plait: Please
Merci: Thank you
Au revoir: Goodbye
Bon Nuit: Good night
Ca Va: How are you
Excusez-moi” Excuse me
tres bien: Very good
Ou est le metro: Where is the metro
Top 5 iconic sites
Paris has so many iconic sites and monuments such as Love Museum, Notre-Dame, Pantheone, Grand Palais, Saint-Chapelle. However, I would focus on the 5 I have visited recently. I visited 4 out of these 5 sites on this trip however, I have visited all these sites previously.
Eiffel Tower Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole, 75007
The Eiffel Tower was once though impossible to build
Though it caused a stir when it was erected in 1889, today Eiffel Tower is the world’s most iconic man-made structure and one of the most photographed site in the world. The observations deck is the highest in the European Union however, the queue to get up there especiallly during the summer months is not for the fain-hearted.
Top Tip: If you’re not too fussed with climbing up the observatory, the best location to take great photos Instagram or Facebook worthy is Trocadero on the Metro (Get out Exit 1)
Champs Elysees Champs-Elysees, 75008
A Bad day in Paris is better than a good day any where else
The famous Champs-Elysees is one of the world’s most splendid avenues with rows of well manicured trees, statues and of cause Arc de Triomphe at its base.
Arc de Triomphe Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008
This ornate monument is located on the western edge of Champs-Elysees honouring those lost in the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary wars. You can admire the arch from the street or climb the forty steps to the top for a triump of your very own.
Top Tip: If you’re brave like me, cross to the middle of the road to take a great photo
The Grand Arch is a building and monument in the business district of La Defense. La Grande Arche was inaugurated in 1989, with grand military parades that marked the bicentennial of the French Revolution.The Arche is in the approximate shape of a cube.
Louvre museum is the world’s largest museum and one of the most historic sites in the world. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres.
5 random observations
- The French work quite long hours, its not unusual to find them at work until 8pm.
- The French are quite polite, helpful and they warm up to people quite easily.
- The metro in Paris is very efficient even though the trains aren’t as modern as the ones on the London underground and transport for London in general, they are very reliable, frequent and always on time with no cancellations or delays.
- Paris attracts loads of tourists from America and Asia. I met so many American tourists around Eiffel tower besides, I also met three ladies from Thailand. Those ladies particularly flew in from Bangkok just for the July Sales.
- The hotels in Paris are usually very small with the bathroom only fitting one person. Hence, it was rather surprising the hotel we stayed was quite spacious.
Have you visited Paris before? What did you love most about Paris? What is your favourite attraction or monument?