Well what can you say that hasn’t already been said about the iconic city of Paris? It’s got everything – world renowned sights, cafes, bars, famous museums, sporting events – the list is endless!
We started our journey from London St Pancras. If you haven’t used the Eurostar before I’d highly recommend it! Less waiting time than a flight, more leg room than a plane and straight into the centre of Paris, arriving into Gare du Nord in approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes! This really is the way to travel!
Arrival into Gare du Nord leaves you plenty of options to get to your hotel, without the expensive taxi transfer from Charles de Galle Airport. Obviously, the taxi rank right outside the station serves a purpose but we elected for an early experience of Paris’ underground network referred to as the ‘Metro’. Getting about this wonderful city over the coming days was going to require plenty of walking and frequent use of the Metro anyway, so why not get stuck into it straight away upon arrival and see what it’s like!
So after rattling around subterranean Paris on the Metro, we reached our hotel. We chose the 3 star Soft Hotel, a simple hotel near Gare de l’Est. Paris has loads of hotels from the very basic chain stuff like Ibis all the way up to luxury like the recently refurbished Lutetia and plenty of choice in between! The famous sights that you think of when you think of Paris are spread across the city, so wherever you base yourself centrally here, you’ll be near somewhere of interest.
Once checked in, off we went to explore the city with the likes of the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and a host of museums on our list. As keen walkers, food lovers and beer enthusiasts, we did much of our exploration above ground on foot so not to miss an opportunity, but if you are short on time then use of the Metro will save you plenty of time. Don’t worry about refreshments to keep you walkers going though – traditional French cafes and trendy bars line almost every street so there is always a stop nearby to re-energise you and get you on your way. For a more relaxed view of what Paris has to offer, why not try the hop on hop off buses that regularly pick up tourists all over the city or a river cruise down the River Seine….
For those with shopping on their minds, Galleries Lafyette provides hours of ‘fun’, particularly if you are throwing caution to the wind regarding your holiday expenditure. For those that like their sports, Paris is obviously home to Paris St Germain (PSG), one of Europe’s leading football clubs, as well as two top flight rugby teams in Stade Francais and Racing 92. The supporters of both sports are very passionate and the atmosphere within the stadiums on game day is something to behold.
Getting out of the city, Versailles is easily accessible by train from Paris, so if you want a day out of the hustle and bustle, this is well worth a visit.
I never tire in visiting this city – I absolutely love it. Will this be the last time I go back, well I always say that I’ll never go back to the same place whilst there are so many new unexplored cities still on my list, but Paris for me is the exception and I have no doubt that I’ll be back there soon, even just for a couple of nights – why not!