So last weekend I had the most amazing time in Paris, eating lots of food, walking around taking in all the sights and taking lots of pictures.
We stayed in a hotel called TimHotel in Montmartre which was good value for money; plain and simple. The room was a decent size and very clean with a balcony over looking the streets of Paris.
Montmartre is just absolutely beautiful, original cafe’s along every street with tables outside in the sun and amazing views over Paris, if you’re deciding where to stay in the city, stay in Montmartre for sure.
In the mornings we left our hotel and walked to a recommended local Parisian bakery called Pain Pain. They are famous for their freshly made cakes, sandwiches, quiches and of course PASTRIES! I am a sucker for a freshly made pastry. So we bought 2 coffees and 2 ‘pain au raisins’ (imagine a french accent there) and walked up the hill to The Sacré-Cœur to eat our pastries outside in the sun with views overlooking Paris – romantic eh!
On the Saturday morning (after breakfast obvsiously) we queued up and went round The Sacré-Cœur. It is incredible inside and well worth a visit; the ceiling is stunning! It is also free to go inside with boxes scattered around if you wish to donate money. I would definitely suggest going in the morning as by afternoon the queues were too long to even think about. We also then paid 9 euros to go up the dome and view the breathtaking views over the whole of Paris; to the hills and beyond! Warning, there are a lot of stairs, 300 to be exact, in a rather narrow staircase, I was starting to get slightly dizzy towards the end. But it was worth it as I said; the views are breathtaking (I’ll let the photos speak for themselves)…
Then we headed to the Museum of Montmartre which is in walking distance of The Sacré-Cœur. The Museum is famous as the house and gardens were the residence of a few well known artists including Renoir (if you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know I’m a big Impressionism fan). There are several different rooms with artwork, films, sculptures, posters for plays and cabarets all related to the area of Montmartre, including very interesting details of the famous Moulin Rouge (I was desperate to go home and watch the film when I left). The museum cost around 10 euros to look round and they do a discounted deal if you are planning on looking round other museums as well.
After that it was lunchtime and we headed to a place recommended to us by a friend who grew up in Paris. The cafe was called Le Relais Gascon that had lovely tables outside in the sun and they had THE BEST gigantic salads I have ever seen, that’s if you can call it a salad? I’m sceptical but that’s what they called it so I’m rolling with it.
Once we’d stuffed ourselves full of food, we decided to take a long walk (to walk it all off) down into more central Paris. We visited a Museum called Musee de la Vie Romantique. It is a house dedicated to the 1830’s with artworks, jewellery, furniture all relating back to that era, it’s really interesting to learn about that period in Paris and imagine what it would have been like to live in the house and walk the streets.
From there we carried on walking into central further and walked through the park Jardin des Tuileries. In the park is the Orangerie Museum which houses 8 of Monet’s water lilies murals. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me, getting up close to one of the most famous Impressionist paintings and one of my personal favourites of the whole era. Up close you can really see how beautiful the colours are and how Monet uses those colours. It’s also free to enter the museum if you’re under 27 and have a European passport, score!
Saturday night we had a table booked at Moulin de la Galette which is a famous restaurant in Montmartre. It was originally famous as a cafe that hosted balls and dances for the people of Montmartre, many artists including Renoir regularly attended. Renoir enjoyed it so much he painting the scene in a famous piece of work called Bal du Moulin de la Galette which as you can guess means ball at the Moulin de la Galette, it depicts a happy scene of people dancing and chatting in their Sunday bests. The food was amazing and reasonably priced and the waiters were excellent. We sat outside in their courtyard and it was so romantic and had a great atmosphere, I highly recommend you check it out.
Then Sunday we went back to our new favourite bakery shop in the morning and ate our breakfast in a cute little park looking at The Wall of Love. It’s a famous blue tiled wall on the side of a huge building in Montmartre with the words ‘I love you’ written in multiple languages. Again it gets pretty busy quite early on so I’d arrive first thing in the morning otherwise it’d be impossible to get a photo without lots of strangers blocking the view. But it is worth a visit, it’s free and is a nice attraction to go see if you have a bit of time to kill, you can see how many languages you can spot.
On Sundays as well the streets surrounding the park are packed full of antique hunters with rows and rows of tables all lined up along the streets in Montmartre. There were some really special pieces there and was definitely worth visiting if you are in antiques hunting mode.
Then we took the metro into central Paris and visited the department store Bon Marche. It’s just south of river but easy to get to from Montmartre. The department store is like a more beautiful and quite frankly better version of Selfridges London. They have all the big designer names, as well as new designers to check out, an amazing shoe gallery and a fantastic beauty hall with huge ceilings. The architecture inside is incredible as well and the way the store is laid out is brilliant. They have real trees inside the building and large displays hanging down from the ceiling. There are also lovely restaurants to sit and have a bite to eat.
After that we walked across the river and into the gardens surrounding The Louvre. We decided to not go in as it was crammed full of tourists (as the Eiffel Tower would be) and we wanted to discover different parts of Paris that were a bit off the beaten track.
We decided to walk into Le Merais, It was 30 degrees (too hot for me unless I’m wearing a bikini) so we bought ice creams and mooched around the shops that had beautiful air conditioning. In Le Merais there are plenty of vintage shops, french boutiques and some high-street stores so it’s a good place to go if you’re on the hunt for something new. Which I definitely was, I wanted to buy something new to remember the trip and finish on a high. I don’t buy from high-street stores anymore (that’s another story) so I was mainly looking at vintage. I’d had a recommendation to visit a vintage shop called ‘Come On Eileen’ (fantastic name I know!), which was the last shop we could go to before we had to head back to our hotel to collect our bags. I must say this shop blew my mind! It was rammed full of vintage clothing and accessories, but instead of the boring old cheap stuff you seem to get in vintage stores nowadays, this place had old designers; REAL vintage as I call it. I found a pair of cashmere grey trousers from Louis Vuitton for 150 euros. I found a Chanel dress for 300 euros. Then at the very end, upstairs hung up on a rail tucked away, was THE DRESS. I found a beautiful silk floral printed dress from Kooples, for 40 euros! And it fit me! I was so happy, I found what I wanted, a gorgeous dress to remind me of the gorgeous wonderful time we had. 40 euros and I was sold, I bought the dress and we headed back to our hotel to collect our bags.
Our hotel organised our taxi and we made our way to Gare du Nord for the 18:45pm Eurostar train Sunday night. The train takes just over 2 hours on average (though ours was slower due to engineering works) but it’s an easy train, very fast, very comfortable and they have sockets to charge your phone, although the WIFI is shockingly slow.
All in all, it was an amazing trip and can easily be crammed into 1 very romantic weekend away, we came back to London on such a high that night.
If you are thinking of planning a trip, I thoroughly recommend you stay in Montmartre as well and please get in touch if you have any questions from our trip.
Lots of Parisian love! Xxxxx