Paris has been dubbed as the most romantic city in the world. Personally I didn’t see that side of it. In saying that, I was there with my sister and having visited Verona and Venice I suppose I’m a little biased.
The cosmopolitan capital of France has over 14.2 million people living there. It’s hardly surprising as its the culture, art, fashion and food capitol of Europe and is also home to many designer brands such as Chanel, Dior, YSL and Guerlain to name a few.
We arrived at Gord de Nord train station after getting the Eurostar from London’s St Pancras and hopped in a taxi to take us to the Mercure Eiffel Hotel. Situated right beside the Eiffel Tower this was the perfect location. As we literally had 24 hours to see the whole city we dropped off our bags and took off on foot. After some classic pain et du fromage et des frites in Castel Cafe on Avenue De Suffren we made our way to one of the many Les Cars Rouges stops (the big red bus to you and me).
At 15 euro a head is was the best and only way that we were going to see all the attractions without spending hours on end walking round, consulting maps and spending a fortune on public transport. As the rain beat down and our soggy bottoms(from the wet seats) started to freeze we passed, learned facts and got snappy happy at all the classic must sees that France has to offer.
The Arc de Triompe stands right in the centre of the Charles de Gaulle at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. Up next was the Notredam Cathedral and the Musee D’Orsay, both amazing in their own right. To me the most stunning building was the Opera Garnier. It has to be seen to be believed with its marble pillars and peaks of grandeur. The Galeries Lafayette, fashion mecca is also worth a visit when in this part of Paris.
Paris is known as the city of light (la ville Lumiere) and that name really proved itself that evening. After our tour and a change of clothes we crossed the road to begin our ascend up the Eiffel Tower. We began to climb the largest man made tower in the world with hundreds of other people. The views were breath taking and once again I couldn’t leave my camera down as I wanted to capture every snippet of Paris and the Champ de Mars from the air.
But the real magic happened as we stepped off the last step on our way back down. The minute our feet touched the ground people started clapping and cheering. Lovers kissed and groups of friends and families danced. It wasn’t until we made our way to the perimeter from underneath the Eiffel Tower that we realized why. One of the most beautiful sights I ever saw. The Eiffel Tower – all 324 metres of it was twinkling like thousands of little stars.
This light extravaganza happens every hour on the hour and as we sat in La Fountaine de Mars – one of the oldest restaurants in Paris with a glass of French wine in hand we were able to take in the next couple of hours of dancing lights from our window seats.
The following day after brunch in Tea by The, a fabulous tea shop that has over 100 types of tea and homemade cakes we made our way to The Louvre. The last thing on our list. The Louvre is the largest museum in the world and stands on the right bank of the river Seine. The queues were worth it as we strolled around the underground world of Napoleon France and even got to catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa.
That evening as we crossed the channel with our bellies full of crepes and very little sleep we were happy in the knowledge that we managed to tick everything of our list in just over 24 hours in this fascinating city.