Paris is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. A place, I’ve been lucky enough to have visited a number of times over the years. Each visit introduces me to new places, cafes and experiences. Unfortunately, in recent weeks Paris has lost a historic landmark, Notre Dame. I first visited Paris when I was twelve years old and my dad insisted we visit Notre Dame. I remember sitting down in a pew and taking it all in.
Yes, it is awful that Paris lost one of it’s iconic landmarks, however buildings can be rebuilt. More importantly and thankfully, no one was killed or injured in the fire. France’s billionaires have come together to ensure it will be restored.
In this post, I’ll be telling you my recommendations of where to visit, stay and eat!
How to get there
We flew from Dublin airport with Ryanair. When you fly with Ryanair you fly into Beauvais airport. Beauvais is about an hour and a half from central Paris. You can get a bus or a train directly into central Paris . The bus takes about an hour and a half and costs €29 return. The train takes an hour and fifteen minutes and costs around €15. You’ll also have to get a taxi from the airport which will cost about €10. I would recommend getting the bus as it is the easiest way to travel into Paris.
If you are heading to Disneyland Paris I would recommend flying into Charles de Gaulles airport as there is a direct bus to the resort. I use the website Skyscanner when I’m booking flights, it’s great for finding the cheapest and most direct flight.
Places to go
The Eiffel tower is probably one of France’s most recognized landmarks. I would definitely recommend visiting both during the day and at night. The light show starts on the hour from sundown until 1 a.m. The light show should not be missed it was probably the highlight of my trip.
I’d suggest going to the tower during the day and going up to the top. Then if you have the time or maybe on your second trip go back to the tower at night. The ticket prices vary depending on which level you would like to reach or if you would like to take the stairs!
You can find tickets here : https://www.toureiffel.paris/en/rates-opening-times
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought during the
I’d recommend taking the steps and walking to the top if you can. The view of the Champs Élysées from above is something you don’t see every day. If you are interested in architecture it’s a must see.
If like me you love the film Moulin Rouge then this should definitely be on your list. It is based in the 18th arrondissement. Originally the building was built in 1889, the same year as the Eiffel Tower. After it burned down in 1915 it was rebuilt in 1921.
The original owners opened Moulin Rouge so that the rich could slum it in the fashion district, Montmartre, and it is best known as the place which created the can-can. The building still puts on shows to this day and you can opt for dinner and a show.
Tickets and more information here : http://www.moulinrouge.fr/?lang=en
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux – arts de la Ville de Paris
The Petit Palais is a museum on avenue Winston Churchill. It originally was built in 1900 to hold a collection but opened as a museum two years later. If you’re a fan of architecture the building itself is worth visiting. The picture above is of a ceiling in one of the rooms in the petit palais.
If you would like to see the works of Rembrandt and Monet as well as famous French artists this is the museum for you.
The museum is open from Tuesday until Saturday. Like most museums it closes on public holidays. You can tickets here: http://www.petitpalais.paris.fr/en
Alexander III Bridge
The Alexander III Bridge spans the Seine and connects the Champs-Élysées to the Eiffel Tower quarter. The bridge was built between 1896 and 1900 and was names after the Tsar Alexander III. It is probably the most decadent bridge in the city, winged horses can be seen at both ends of the bridge, you can also see cherubs, nymphs and art Nouveau lamps.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge Disney fan and if and when I can get to Disneyland, I go. Disneyland Paris is my second favorite park, it has most of the popular rides that the American parks have and is due to be expanded in the next couple of years.
Disneyland Paris has two parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios. It has seven hotels within the grounds and a Disney village with loads of restaurants, a bar and shops.
There are three ticket options, one park, two parks and fast pass. If you have small kids and have two days I’d recommend the two parks. If you are older or have older kids you could fit the two parks in one day. The longer you are going for the cheaper the tickets are per day.
You have the option to add fast pass onto your tickets, depending on the time of year the fast pass can be in and around €50 . Definitely worth it in the Summer months. Make sure to bring snacks and water, it’s expensive enough to eat out in Disney.
I would highly recommend staying for the lights show, it is amazing. The show sometimes won’t be on if the weather is bad you can ask a park attendant to see if the show is going ahead. If you were lucky enough to see it before, you know why it’s worthwhile staying.
You can get the RER from Paris city centre to the park. It takes about 35 minutes. If you’re coming straight from the airport Charles de Gaulle have a direct bus.
If arriving in Beauvais, it’s a little more tricky. There is no direct bus or train to the park, you can organize a transfer but it can be expensive or not an option at all, if left too close to the time. I had to get a bus to the city centre, an uber to the train station, then a train to Disney. It took far too long so on my next trip I’ll be sure to fly into Charles de Gaulle airport.
How to get around
The Metro is one of the most efficient ways. They have an option called ten tickets. Ten tickets cost less than €15 and let you use the metro ten times. All metro routes can be seen here: https://www.ratp.fr/en/plans-lignes/plan-metro
I really like Uber and there is no shortage of Uber’s in Paris. If you’re in a rush its the quickest way to get around. Sometimes it can work out cheaper. All you have to do is download the app and connect your card. I like being above ground when traveling around as you get to see the city when going from a to b. I took the picture above when we were leaving Paris and I also took the Arc de Triomphe photo when we first arrived.
Where to stay
I completely and utterly neglected to take photos of my hotel rooms when staying in Paris. Here are some pictures from Instagram that I found true to what the hotels are like. However, hotels can add or take away from a trip, so that being said choose wisely.
Royal Saint Germain Hotel
Hotel Royal Saint Germain is on the Rue de Rennes in the sixth arrondissement. The hotel itself is boutique size with a small 24hour reception. It’s three minutes from a metro station. There are plenty of bakeries, high street shops and a nice pub for a quiet drink.
The rooms are small but not cramped and have a lovely Parisian feel to it. If you’re expecting an ostentatious hotel I would look elsewhere but without a doubt, this hotel’s location is perfect. I’d go as far as saying I would stay here again.
Vienna House Dream Castle Paris
I’ve stayed both in the park and outside the park when visiting Disneyland Paris. The last time I was in Disney I stayed in a hotel called Vienna Dream Castle. The best thing about Vienna Dream Castle is it’s proximity to the park. The hotel is approximately fifteen minutes from Disneyland Park and provides a free shuttle bus to and from the park. We booked a family room on booking.com for four people. The room itself is a great size and has an amazing courtyard at the back of the hotel.
The hotel has a castle theme and is decorated to suit. This is a great place to stay for a family especially because it has a pool and it’s proximity to the park. If booked well in advance the price of the hotel can be very reasonable.
Where to eat & drink
Home of the double-decker macaroon, laudurée without a doubt is the epitome of a Parisian tea room. The recipe has never changed. The idea around the ‘salon de thé’ came from Louis Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard. She wanted to create a place where women could come and meet in complete freedom.
Be warned, the queue to get into Laudurée tea rooms is always long. We opted to go into the butterfly bar, a newer section of the cafe. I’d recommend ordering a sweet cocktail (they have non-alcoholic options) with your macaroon. Don’t forget to take a few macaroona
Angelina’s is a famous pastry shop and tea room. They are mainly known for their hot chocolate. When decided to get breakfast there as the queue was too long and sit in a nearby park which is adjacent to the Louvre.When we got the hot chocolate we were advised to take spoon with us. The hot chocolate was so thick and rich, I couldn’t finish a small cup. If you’re a hot chocolate fan I would definitely come here. Their croissants are also to die for.
Remember to …
Rester, c’est exister, mais voyager, C’est Vivre – Gustave Naduad.
Roughly translated, ‘To be, is to exist, but to travel, is to live’
If you have any questions don’t be afraid to dm me on Instagram (you can follow me here ) or comment below!
Read more about my travels here : http://chasingcaitriona.com/