Every year my sister and I carve out time for a weekend away together, leaving the kids (and the husbands) at home. Our last pre-Covid tripGoing was to Paris, which is my favourite city in the world. I have seen the Eiffel Tower so many times that I’ve lost count, but I still feel in awe of it every time I see it. The beauty, the romance: I just can’t rave about it enough and if you haven’t been to Paris to see it in the flesh before then I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list if you can. It’s almost always busy, but that only adds to its charm for me: I love the hustle and bustle, and feeling the excitement of everyone else around you.
Conveniently, as well as being my favourite city Paris is also right on our doorstep! We travelled via Eurostar because it was so much faster and easier than flying, and means that you’re delivered smack bang into the middle of the city. On our way out from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord we had standard tickets, and this was just like any other train. Coming back it was only an extra £10 each to upgrade to Standard Premier class tickets and I would definitely do this again! Bigger seats, a light meal and drinks served at our seat (including a cheeky glass of wine, if you fancy), and an increased luggage allowance too. Standard Premier felt much more luxurious and we were treated wonderfully by all the staff.
It just wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower: I know that some people (particularly Parisians) have a ‘love it or hate it’ relationship with this monolithic structure. If you want to climb, or ride the elevator, to the first level of the tower then I highly recommend that you book in advance, as during the peak tourism season tickets sell out incredibly quickly. Even without a ticket, it is still likely that you will have to queue to pass through security simply to walk around the base of the tower.
If you are travelling with kids, there is also a carousel here. Regardless of whether you’re travelling with kids or not, please don’t miss the opportunity to visit the rather unassuming looking ice cream truck under the tower and have a pistachio whipped ice cream! I had one on my first visit when I was just 16 (ahem, more than 20 years ago) and have had one on every visit since: I can taste it now. Creamy, incredible.
Sacre Couer (officially known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris) is a Roman Catholic church, and the second most visited attraction in Paris. As beautiful as it is on the inside, it is also worth mentioning the incredible views that you can secure of the city as a reward from climbing all the way to the top.
Located in Montmarte, if you can you should allow at least half a day for visiting the Basilica and surrounding area, because it is also home to some lovely boutiques, independent restaurants, and other interesting architectural sights that are well worth pausing to explore. You’ll also find yet another carousel at the foot of the hill, which would make a brilliant reward for small children that manage to walk all the way to the top and then back down again.
Food, Shopping and Experiences
The rest of our trip involved eating, eating and more eating (we had a crème brulee every day), shopping in the Gallery Lafayette and stumbling across a beautiful flower market to explore, and simply walking around the city enjoying the architecture, the river, and the general ambience. That’s the beauty of Paris: you don’t really have to do anything here to have an amazing time. Just walking along the banks of the Seine is an incredible experience (and if you are travelling with children then you’ll find play equipment dotted all along the banks of the river making this a great place to take your kids to let off some steam).
I just love Paris. And I can’t wait until i’ll be walking along that river in the sunshine again soon.