A work meeting in Paris gave me the opportunity to spend some time touring the city prior to my commitments. This was my third time visiting Paris, however I still had many unseen aspects of Paris that I was extremely excited to explore! I travelled by the Eurostar from London – only a two hour journey through the Channel Tunnel. I really love the Eurostar; although there are of course security checks and border control checks, this process is extremely speedy and takes a fraction of the time an airport would take, making it feel like a journey within the UK.
My meetings were on Monday and Tuesday, and so I spent Saturday and Sunday checking off my list of places to go and things to see! I stayed in the Kyriad for one night and at the Luxembourg-Elysa for two nights. Both were in perfect locations and I would recommend both hotels for a short stay in Paris.
I have compiled a list of things that I did, and would highly recommend anyone visiting them all.
1. Galaries Lafayette
By far, Galaries Lafayette is THE most breathtaking indoor shopping centre I have ever seen. Stocked with predominantly high-end designer brands, the interior design of Galaries Lafayette for the festive season really is absolutely beautiful! I also purchased some chocolates and macaroons from Pierre Herme – an absolutely devine and authentic dessert.
2. Printemps Rooftop View
During my stay in Montreal, I was told about this view at the top of the Printemps. Located on the 9th floor of the Printemps (central building), this view is one that cannot be matched. It is completely free, both free in terms of cost and free of tourists! There were a handful of people calmly sitting down waiting for the sun to set; not more than 10-15 people. The view of the Eiffel Tower is clear and there is even a great view of the Sacre-Coeur from the other side. This was most definitely the highlight of my trip to Paris! 10/10
3. Musee du Louvre – Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is HUGE! Free to EU nationals holding a passport, this Museum is a real gem located in the heart of Paris. I had not anticipated spending so long in the Louvre, however I managed to spend 3/4 hours, and even that was with very brisk walking through the various rooms and sections of the Museum. There are a number of exhibitions ranging from Egyptian to Greek history. The displays are all truly fascinating and extremely educational for all ages alike. Don’t forget about the oh so AMAZING masterpiece – THE Mona Lisa – do you sense the sarcasm? No? Well that was sarcasm…
4. The Grand Mosque of Paris
Located in the 5th arrondissement, this Mosque is the third largest in Europe and reflects a lovely oasis of peace and quiet amongst the hustle and bustle of the city centre. During WWII, this Mosque served as a secret refuge for Jews, providing shelter and a secret passage. Inspired by Moorish architecture, the Grand Mosque of Paris is open to the public and guided tours are available whenever requested. It boasts a large library and beautiful garden space. There is also a cafe and restaurant of North African cuisine located at the front edge of the Mosque.
5. The Eiffel Tower
I don’t need to tell you to visit the Eiffel Tower, however I definitely need to tell you to visit the Eiffel Tower at night during the first 5 mins of every hour. During the first 5 mins of every hour, the Eiffel Tower glistens and flickers shining its beauty for all to see – the atmosphere during these 5 mins is absolutely unique.
6. The Botanic Garden
One of seven departments of the Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle, the Jardin des Plantes is a huge garden rich in animals, plants and flowers. Although I did not have time to take a good look around, I did walk past it when visiting the Grand Mosque of Paris.
Paris was a real delight to visit, and I was extremely fortunate to be home before the atrocities of Friday the 13th. I have chosen to publish this post as I truly believe that Paris is a beautiful city with much to offer and the actions of small-minded people cannot change all that Paris has to give us when travelling there.
Have you been to Paris? Are there any other must-visit locations that I have not mentioned? What is it about Paris that makes it SO romantic?