Now we all know that when someone comes to visit Paris, the main priority is seeing the spectacular Eiffel Tower. Although the Tower was actually only intended to be built just for the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, it has now become a global icon for France and is the most visited paid monument in the World!
After living in Paris for the past year, I have conducted a list of my favourite spots to wondrously gaze at the Eiffel Tower.
TROCADERO // Metro: Trocadero – Line 9 & 6, Take the exit Eiffel Tower
SEINE RIVER CRUISE // Find the boats located along the banks of the Seine – Day and night cruises available
ARC DE TRIOMPHE // Metro: Charles de Gaulle – Etoile – Line 1 & RER A, Take the entrance for the Arc de Triomphe and climb its staircase to the terrace atop the Arc
NOTRE DAME // Metro: St Michel – Line 4 & RER B, Line up on the left side of the Cathedral
TERASSE DU PRINTEMPS // Metro: Auber – RER A or Harve Caumartin – Line 3, Take the escalator of the mall “Printemps” to the top level
TOUR MONTPARNASSE // Metro: Montparnasse Bienvenue – Line 4, 6, 12 & 13, Take the elevator to the top floor for the best view of Paris
CHAMPS DE MARS // Metro: Ecole Militaire – Line 8, Walk around the corner and find yourself at the beautiful gardens located in front of the Eiffel Tower
One of the most challenging things while travelling abroad is budgeting your money. I for sure am one of those people who live in the moment, and don’t think about the financial consequences afterwards. It is difficult when visiting expensive countries as you come to realise that things cost way more than you expected.
(no.8 Basilique du Sacre Coeur)
But with some experience living in Paris now, I have chosen a few of my Top Free/Cheap Things to do in Paris for you to visit/try;
1. Free Entrance to Museums On the first Sunday of each month, numerous museums offer free entrance such as Le Louvre. There are also many museums that are open for free entry all year round, and some are free if you are under 26. You can find the list of museums here.
2. Bus Tour Instead ofgetting on one of the expensive bus tours that go around Paris, see the city from a public bus, as tickets are just over one euro!
3. Transport Getting from A to B can become expensive. The best way to get around Paris via metro would be to buy your tickets in bulk, saving you money in the long run. Or if its nice weather, you have the option to hire a ‘velib’. Velib is a self service bike system open 24 hours all around Paris. You can hire a bike for the day for just 1.70 Euros or a whole week for only 8 Euros.
4. Order your coffee the right way If you love your coffee with milk, but can’t afford to splurge 4-6 euros on it, order a cafe noisette. It is an expresso with a little bit of milk added to it. It also usually has a bit of a nutty taste to it, hence the name ‘noisette’, meaning hazelnut in French.
5. See the sights from the outside It is no secret that the architecture in Paris is beautiful. Save yourself a few euros by seeing the major sights from the outside.
6. Square du Vert-Galant Located down the steps of Pont Neuf, this is a popular place with the locals to come drink some wine and hang out. The best time to come is at night, where you can see Paris lit up and can watch the boats go by.
7. Le Terrasse du Printemps This is one of my favourite spots to view Paris from above. Make your way into the Department store ‘Printemps’ and take the escalators to the top. There you can walk through the cafe to the other side, where you find a big terrace. The view is magic, as you see the Eiffel Tower, Palais Garnier (Opera), Basilique du Sacre Coeur and much more.
8. Basilique du Sacre Coeur This white marble church is located on the hills of Montmatre in the 18th Arrondissement. It is free entry into the Basilique, and there are also some stairs in front where you can sit and watch some street performances or look over the sky of Paris.
9. Place des Vosges Located in Le Marais, Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV in 1604 and is the oldest square in Paris. Here you can also visit the house of the writer Victor Hugo.
10. Cimetiere Pere Lachaise This is the worlds most visited cemetery. It is the burial site of numerous French authors, musicians, writers and more. The most visited graves are Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, and Marcel Proust among many others.
11. Promenade Plantee For a chance to escape the busyness of Paris, make a visit to the Promenade Plantee – A former railway line that was abandoned and then renovated into a linear park.
12. Watch the Eiffel Tower Sparkle By far one of my favourite things to do in Paris. It truly is a magical moment and can be viewed from many spots in Paris. The best being the Champs de Mars, where you will find yourself surrounded by others, with wine, food, and sometimes music.
Over the past year or so, the coffee culture in Paris has grown immensely. More and more cafes have been opened all around Paris. For coffee addicts like me, it is great to have plenty of options as to where to go. Not only do these cafe’s have great coffee, but awesome food too!
Here is a list of my favourite cafes in Paris.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! x
Lily of the Valley(photo above) Tea room + Cakes 12 rue Dupetit Thouars // Metro Stop: Line 3 Temple
Holybelly Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Coffee 19 Rue Lucien Sampaix // Metro Stop: Line 5 Jaques Bonsergent
Merci Used Book Cafe Brunch and Lunch 111 boulevard Beaumarchais //Metro Stop: Line 8 Saint Sébastien Froissart
Claus Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch 14 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau // Metro Stop: Line 1 Louvre Rivolli
La Cafeotheque Coffee and Cakes 52 Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville // Metro Stop: Line 1 Hotel de Ville or Line 7 Pont Marie
The Broken Arm Lunch, Cakes and Coffee 12 rue Perrée // Metro Stop: Line 3 Temple
Folks and Sparrows Lunch, Cakes and Coffee 14 Rue Saint-Sébastien // Metro Stop: Line 8 Saint Sébastien Froissart
Boot Coffee 19 Rue du Pont aux Choux // Metro Stop: Line 8 Saint Sébastien Froissart
Café Kitsuné Coffee 51 Galerie de Montpensier // Metro Stop: Line 1 Palais Royal – Musee du Louvre
Odette Choux a la creme 77 Rue Galande // Metro Stop: Line 3 Saint-Michel, RER B Saint-Michel Notre Dame
Cafe de Flore Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner 172 boulevard Saint Germain // Metro Stop: Line 4 Saint Germain des Pres
Pouchkine Cakes and Pastries 155 avenue de Boulevard Saint-Germain // Metro Stop: Line 4 Saint Germain des Pres 2 rue des Francs Bourgeois // Metro Stop: Line 1 Saint-Paul 64, boulevard Haussmann // Metro Stop: RER A, Line 3, Line 9 Havre – Caumartin
Carrette Hot Chocolate, Pastries, Lunch and Dinner 4 Place du Trocadéro et du 11 Novembre // Metro Stop: Line 9, Line 6 Trocadero
10 Belles Coffee and Cakes 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles // Metro Stop: Line 5 Jaques Bonsergent, Line 2 Colonel Fabien, Line 11 Goncourt
Coutume Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Coffee 47 Rue de Babylone // Metro Stop: Line 13 Saint-Francois-Xavier, Line 10, Line 12 Sevres – Babylone
Telescope Coffee and Cakes 5 Rue Villedo // Metro Stop: Line 7, Line 14 Pyramids
Lomi Lunch, Cakes/Pastries and Coffee 3 ter Rue Marcadet // Metro Stop: Line 4, Line 12 Marcadet – Poissonniers, Line 12 Marx Dormoy
Matamata Coffee and Cakes 58 Rue d’Argout // Metro Stop: Line 3 Sentier
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people joined together at Place de la Republique in Paris to honour the lives who were taken in the attacks last week, and to march for unity. Officials say it is the largest march in French History and more people attended than when France was liberated from the Nazi’s in World War 2.
I am honoured to have taken part in this and hope that we all have made our mark on the world.
Since the weather has been cold and rainy these past few months, it has become the perfect time to perch yourself up in a nice, warm, cosy cafe. Whether you’re wanting to sit in a corner and read a book, or meet up with a group of friends, Merci Used Book Cafe has plenty to offer. With over 5.000 books to offer, you’ll never get bored. The atmosphere of this cafe is just wonderful and the staff make you feel right at home. If you have time to spare before or after your “rendez-vous”, don’t forget to check out their store. It is located to the left of the cafe, and you will find yourself greeted by a cute little red car, which the Merci Shop has become known for.
An upscale shopping centre on boulevard Haussmann, in which every year, they put on wonderful Christmas display. The most popular being their Christmas tree. This year they have put up an upside down Christmas tree under the 100 year old dome. They also have themed window displays on the outside of the building, which become very popular with passer by’s.
Parisian Christmas Markets These are a must do in my opinion. Paris is surrounded with Christmas Markets throughout the months of November and December. The market on the Avenue des Champs Elysees would have to be the largest and the busiest, selling arts and crafts, delicious specialties from different regions of France, and much more. You can grab yourself a glass of mulled wine (hot wine), frois gras, cheese, truffels, fresh waffles/churros and so on. Click here to find a list of all Christmas markets in Paris
Ice Skating Having come from New Zealand where we usually spend Christmas during Summer, the idea of ice skating during a winter Christmas in Paris sounds like a blast! There are many ice rinks situated in different locations around Paris, such as the Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Hotel de Ville, and the Champs Elysees.
Disneyland Paris Disneyland during Christmas is magical. Both parks are decked with spectacular decorations from the 9th November to the 7th January 2015. Disney has a Christmas parade, a giant Christmas tree, and have themed their famous light’s display to the loved movie Frozen. What a better way to celebrate this festive season!
Avante-Garde Trees Visit the fun annual exhibition of Christmas trees at the Centre Pompidou. The creations are funny, seductive, political, lovely and weird! Your entrance fee also gets donated to a French charity that helps orphaned children.
Hidden down the quaint cobblestoned streets of Montmatre, lies La Maison Rose.
A perfect spot to sit, have a coffee and people watch before or after visiting the Basilica Sacre Coeur.
Believe it or not, Picasso used to frequent this “pink house”. It was owned by Germaine Gargallo (also known as Germaine Pichot) for around 40 years. Germaine was the woman whom Picasso’s best friend, Carlos Casagemas, killed himself over. Germaine was also a model for a few of Picasso’s paintings.
Metro Line 12: Lamarck – Caulaincourt
2 Rue de l’Abreuvoir, 75018 Paris, France
+33 1 42 57 66 75
I don’t know if its just me, but when I travel somewhere, I want to make the most of my time there and see as much as I can in the short period of time. But sometimes that travel book you spend €15 on can take up your time flicking through trying to find that one page you saw a few days ago.
After recently moving back to Paris for another year abroad, I have come to realise there is so much more to this city than what is on these pages. The best way to see Paris is to get lost in it’s magical streets (but always have your map with you of course!), explore new areas and find the hidden gem’s that Paris has to offer.
However, spending the afternoon under the Eiffel Tower with a book, baguette, cheese, wine, and lovely company will never become old to me.
I am feeling so content with my life and the choices I have made. I cannot see myself living anywhere else in the world right now, than where I am currently.
Paris has this “charm”. It used to be a love/hate relationship between Paris and I. But I have officially fallen head over heals for the city of lights, love, hope, and dreams, and can’t wait to find out more about myself that I never knew.
At present, I am drawn towards the quote: “Take every chance, Drop every fear”
I feel like if I try incorporate this into my daily life, I’ll have not a care in the world. I’d take each day as it comes and not look back and say ‘what if’ (even if its ‘what if i’d have had that croissant).