I’ve visited Paris twice, both times with a different friend and both times absolutely loved it. I live just a direct train away from London Liverpool street which connects easily to St Pancras and the Eurostar. Eurostar is how I travelled to Paris the second time and I would definitely do it again, even by myself.
My first trip to Paris was with a friend who’s partner had gone on holiday with mine. So we figured what better way to take our minds off of missing them (cute aren’t we) than to do two nights in Paris? We went by plane but it was a bit of a palava as we missed our 6am flight and had to get the train to another airport to catch the very next flight out. However, by lunchtime we were on the streets of Paris after a quick train journey from Charles de Gaulle airport to Gare de Nord station.
The Metro is SO easy to navigate, much like our London underground. You can by a Paris Pass which includes a lot of different tourist attractions and travel but on the first trip we decided it was a return from our hotel to the city centre for us and that we would do Paris by foot as the April weather was absolutely beautiful. On my second visit which was just for the day, we did a few more trips on the metro so we could fit more in. We bought a carnet which is just 10 tickets and we split them 5 each. This got us from our Eurostar destination to Gare de Nord and back and left with with three tickets to dart around Paris with which was exactly the right amount.
Oh the hotel was so cute, Résidence de la Tour in Malakoff. Really basic. As in the carpets on the stairs going up each floor didn’t match kind of basic. However, the bedrooms were clean, had toiletries for the shower and did the job nicely. I think the two nights cost us about £40 each so we weren’t expecting lap of luxury. The staff were fabulous and friendly and it was just a quick walk to the metro which you us to the centre of Paris in no time.
There were some lovely restaurants near our hotel in Malakoff which served some delicious dishes and also where I tried escargot for the first time and they were delicious.
I did have a slight mis-hap in the first restaurant we dined in though. When my friend popped out for a cigarette one of the chefs offered to show me the garden seated area where other customers were eating. So politely (naively) I followed where he decided to put his arm around me, kiss my cheek and attempt to grope my chest! He then tried to show me quite a secluded back area of the restaurant but I was already pulling away to go back to my friend. As I walked off he tried to flap up the back of my
dress with his hand. I wish I had reacted but I was so shocked by this kind of behaviour and in another country I just charged off away from him without speaking. I still can’t believe I stayed and finished my meal, I wouldn’t do that now!
Anyway it took me the evening to recover from that incident (made worse by the fact I was in a foreign country away with my partner who was also in a foreign country) but we also had a wonderful Italian dinner in another nearby restaurant with more sensible and professional owners.
On the day trip we visited a lovely restaurant called “Lou Lou’s friendly diner” which was so ambient and delicious. I have made a point of noting it down so that I can go there again when I visit next!
It’s a good idea to google what you’d like to do in Paris as there are quite a few attractions. If you’re going with a friend it’s nice to write a list each, go to what you both want to see first. Then see what else you have time for because you can just get lost in it all.
Attractions I have visited:
The Sacre Coeur (Great if you like climbing steps. but watch the illegal sellers and the men trying to tie string to your finger to plait and charge you ten Euros!)
Louvre (Home of the Mona Lisa)
Notre Dame (Take some change if you want to light a candle)
Moulin Rouge (There’s a gorgeous coffee shop to the right as you’re looking at the building)
The natural history museum (We did the gallery of evolution)
Eiffel Tower I still haven’t seen this at night though which is on my to-do list! Great pistachio icecream. I would recommend buying tickets in advance as the queues are stifling! The top is only accessible by lift- I didn’t make it up that high as I was having a minor panic attack by the time we got to the second floor. I had no idea it would affect me and I practically ran back down to wait for my friend!
Phrases that helped
“Je suis Anglais” “I’m English”
“Parlez-vous Anglais?” “Do you speak English?”
“Je suis désolé” “I’m sorry” Good for if you’re bumbling about and getting in people’s way or can’t understand someone
“Merci” Thank you
“Café au lait s‘il vous plaît” “Coffee with milk please”. If you just ask for a coffee you will get a black espresso.
As soon as I spoke to someone they immediately switched to English. Even when I put on my best French accent.
So if you’re considering a trip to Paris, I would absolutely 100% recommend visiting! (even with the grope and the meltdown!) Not for you? You might like my review of Rome instead!
Please comment any tips you have for visiting Paris below.