As some of you who follow me on social media might know, I recently travelled to Paris with one of my close friends. It was a lovely winter break, and although it was only for 2 nights we managed to pack in everything we wanted to do! Here are some of my tips for securing a cheap price, and also regarding all the attractions and Parisian culture.
Travel and Stay
We travelled to Paris from St. Pancras International via Eurostar (booking made from GoEuro). Our tickets only cost £88 each (outbound and return)! This was due to booking a month and a half in advance, the tickets are usually very expensive since Paris is in high demand throughout the Christmas season. So, my first tip: book at least a month in advance to get good prices.
The journey itself is quite comfortable. There’s ample space for everyone and it’s only 2 and a half hours long, I travel from Manchester to London in that time! However, if you detest long plane, train and car journeys like me here are a few tips to speed up the clock:
- If you’re a reader, make sure to have a good book at hand
- Download some episodes of your favourite show on Netflix prior to your journey (connection on the train can be poor at times)
- Food! I try to stock up on a bag of snacks from Pret to eat. The cafe on-board is limited.
- After all of these you’ll find that your time whizzes by most during conversations with your friend/partner/etc!
I booked our hotel through Booking.com, the easiest website to find a place to stay and I’ve used it multiple times for previous trips. We stayed at Hotel Minerve which was a small but lovely hotel. It cost us £86 each for 2 nights, a very good price. The greatest advantage of the hotel was the location, it was a 10 minute walk to the Notre Dame. Once you’ve reached the Notre Dame it’s just a chain of attractions from there onwards. It’s also close to a lot of cafes and restaurants.
Paris is home to breath-taking museums. It’s a city of art and history, and so if you’re not really interested in that I wouldn’t really recommend it. We visited the Musée du Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, both were amazing. Also, both museums are absolutely free of charge for residents of EU countries aged between 18-25, you just show your passport on arrival! There are also concessions for young people from outside the EU.
The Louvre is absolutely huge. We had planned on spending about half an hour in there but ended up staying for 2 hours! If you do visit, don’t underestimate the time it’ll take to see most of the artwork.
The Musée d’Orsay is also home to some of the most impressive work of all time, including my personal favourite: the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. The museum has a wonderful gift shop full of books about the history of the various artists.
Some tips for the museums:
- They frown upon backpacks and luggage! So don’t take any with you. In fact, if I remember correctly, the Musée d’Orsay do not allow backpacks inside (they also search backpacks in places like McDonald’s)
- Be prepared for security: bag checks, taking coats off etc.
- Also, be prepared for climbing up many, many staircases (especially in The Louvre).
The Notre Dame
Entry into the Notre Dame is pretty simple, you get a free ticket from the machines outside and queue up. However, they don’t make it clear that the free entry is merely into the gift shop and that you have to pay to go further up. The Notre Dame is stunning, such intricate details on the exterior of the building and definitely a site to see.
The Eiffel Tower
A trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a journey up the Eiffel Tower! Tickets were much cheaper than I expected, costing me just £11 to the top with the lift (with 18-25 year old concessions). If you’re not too good with heights I recommend using the stairs over the lift. Whereas the stairs are a gradual ascension, the lift is quite fast and pretty scary! Also, the top and second floor of the tower is very high up, many people were afraid of getting close to the edge! If you’re not good with heights I definitely recommend the first floor. Inside the tower there are multiple gift shops and delicious macaroon stalls. It was a very foggy day when we visited so the sky around us was completely white! However big you think the Eiffel Tower is, it’s bigger. It’s genuinely massive, the top of the tower was lost in the fog.
These are the main places I visited on my trip! I also went to numerous cafes and restaurants. One thing I’d recommend is to learn your foods in French, simple things like poulet (chicken), café (coffee), lait (milk) etc. After eating we embarked on a spontaneous shopping journey when we found out there was a Sephora nearby! One just can’t resist.
I hope this blog has inspired some of you to consider travelling to Paris or provide useful tips for those of you that are in the future!
Thanks for reading,