WEEKEND IN PARIS
Location: Paris, France
How has it already been over two weeks since I enjoyed a delicious croissant and cafe au lait in the busy streets of Paris?
It was such a lovely weekend and it was a perfect getaway before going back to school and starting a new job. After this weekend, I felt like I know the city a bit better, and thought I could share some tips if you're going to Paris for a weekend.
WHERE TO STAY
Champs-Élysées is one of the main shopping avenues of Paris. It is located between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde. On this avenue, you will find luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and Guerlain, but also stores like H&M, Zara and Disney. Perfect if you like to shop high-end.
Hotel Elysées Regencia
☞ 41 Avenue Marceau, 75016 Paris, France
We stayed nearby at Hotel Elysées Regencia, located on Avenue Marceau, roughly a couple blocks away from Champs-Élysées. We got a Deluxe Triple room (25 sqm) with a beautiful view of the city streets. The room had plenty of natural light from the two big windows that both had the typical French balconies.
What we noticed, however, is that by the end of the day, we always took the métro back from Chatêlet. Apparently, we hung out here on several occasions, and no matter where we went or what we did, we were always closest to this métro stop. So for the next trip, we think we'll book a hotel here instead.
This was also the stop where we had to change from train to metro when getting to-and-from the airport.
Hotel Avia Saphir Montparnasse
☞ 181 Rue de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris, France
Last time I visited Paris with Olav for my 20th birthday, we actually booked further away from central Paris. We stayed in the Montparnasse area, at Hotel Avia Saphir Montparnasse, in the 15th arrondissement. The hotel was only a brief 20 minutes walk from Tour de Eiffel, which was very convenient because when we stepped outside at night, we could see the sparkling tower light up the sky in the distance.
WHERE TO EAT
I got to admit, it is a bit hard finding places in Paris that are not ridiculously expensive. However, we did find a spot or two worth visiting, if not for their food, then for their coffee or overall atmosphere.
Café Bords de Seine
☞ 1 Place du Châtelet, 75001 Paris, France
This place is close to Notre Dame and you are actually just a crosswalk away from the River Seine. If you sit at the right table, you can even see the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the evening. This was a pleasant surprise as we didn't plan on having such a view for dinner.
We came back here the second time because the food was alright and the atmosphere was nice. The last time we visited, we actually tried escargots for the first time. If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know that we ordered more after finishing the first plate. It's worth the hype guys.
Brasserie de la Tour Eiffel
☞ 2 Avenue de la Bourdonnais, 75007 Paris, France
This other place we randomly walked into is located near the Eiffel Tower. They had delicious coffee and crêpes, and the table next to us seemed to really enjoy their escargots as well.
Being so close, the place is perfect if you need a quick bite before strolling around the area near the Eiffel Tower.
WHAT TO DO
Although we've all been to Paris before, we still went to see the landmarks because they are so damn beautiful. It's actually hard to not accidentally walk past a landmark when exploring the city.
However, you should note that the landmarks are pretty spread out across central Paris, so I would recommend you visit the major ones in this order:
Start at Tour de Eiffel, then cross the bridge and walk until you get to Arc de Triomphe. Then, walk down the avenue until you see Place de la Concorde, then visit Jardin des Tuileries. Continue on Rue de Rivoli and you will get to La Palais Royal, cross the street and you will arrive at Musée du Louvre. Lastly, walk until you see the bridge Pont Notre Dame, cross it and you're at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. In front of the cathedral, you will see a plate embedded in the concrete that says "Point Zero". This is the epicentre of Paris, literally the absolute centre of Paris.
Close to the Notre-Dame Cathedral, there is an amazing little bookshop called Shakespeare & Co. I highly recommend you pay it a visit if you’re nearby. Visiting the store itself is such an experience. I could spend hours on end at a place like this.
Of course, you might have other landmarks you might want to see. This is only a suggested route, should these landmarks be on your agenda.
For shopping, there's Rue de Rivoli. This is a super long street filled with shops and cafés, like the famous Angelina. You can find stores like Forever 21, Bershka and Pull & Bear. The stores here tend to be at a more affordable level than the shops located on the Champs-Élysées.
But honestly, Paris is such a beautiful city, and I had more fun exploring its fine architecture and landmarks than going shopping.
I hope this guide helped you a little. I really want to come back to Paris again next year and stay for a little longer than a weekend. The city is so beautiful and I have a brand new respect and admiration for it after that last visit. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.