Paris is a renowned capital city, not just for its iconic landmarks but also for its one of a kind architecture, trendy boutiques, incredible food and collections of iconic art. You are truly spoilt for choice in the city of love and romance.
Landmarks you'll find in Paris are the famous Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame and the Louvre Museum, which of course is home to the famous Mona Lisa. But we're almost sure you already know all of this. So, we sent Grace, our roving reporter to Paris to scout out the best hidden gems and most unique experiences.
I travelled via the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, which for me is the best way to travel as there are no restrictions on weight or liquids, other than some restrictions on alcohol. The journey takes 2 hours and 15 minutes and there are multiple trains available throughout the day, 7 days a week. But if you prefer to fly then it only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes from Heathrow to Charles De Gaulle and again, there are flights available daily.
The hotel chosen was the 5-star Boutique Maison Souquet hotel, a 2-minute walk from the iconic Moulin Rouge. It is designed by the French designer Jacques Garcia, famed for decorating a number of famous buildings including the royal apartments in the Palace of Versailles. The Hotel uses the combination of Arabian style and Napoleon III plush with an eclectic collection of furniture and artwork. The hotel includes 20 bedrooms, a bar serving French culinary specialties, a winter garden and spa, which includes an indoor pool and Hammam.
The trip was at the start of October, so luckily we were provided with the last bit of the summer sun with the colours of Autumn, creating the perfect backdrop for our weekend.
Upon arrival, we walked through the beautiful Montmartre area to the Terrass restaurant, a rooftop restaurant where we had a 3 course lunch and spent the afternoon in the sun with clear views of the city at their outdoor terrace bar.
After an afternoon at leisure, we met the group and travelled to the 56th floor on the Montparnasse Tower to dine at Le Ciel De Paris, which boasts expansive views over Paris and the sparkling Eiffel Tower at night. If you are looking for a view, this is the place to go!
The morning was spent exploring the city and a river cruise along the Seine, a must do in Paris for undisturbed views of iconic buildings such as the Notre Dame under the famous Pont Neuf, Louvre Museum and the Tuileries Gardens.
For our free lunch, the choice was Wepler, a classic French bistro for an enormous seafood platter and people watching. After drinks at the bar, the group met back together for an evening at the Moulin Rouge for a champagne filled 3 course dinner and show. You do have to queue to get to your table, but the experience is worth it. The location of the Hotel proved very beneficial when after the show, we were able to wonder over the road and enjoy our own privatised section of the bar.
After a leisurely breakfast in the winter garden, the group made their way back to Gare du Nord station to travel back to London St. Pancras.
Here are my top tips on what to do/see in Paris:
1. Take a river cruise along the Seine for the best views of major landmarks of the city. It starts from the Eiffel Tower and circles the Notre Dame. Lunch and dinner cruises are available, but with so much choice for eating around the City, I suggest choosing one of the hour-long cruises and dining after.
2. The people watching in Paris second to none! For a spare afternoon, take a stroll through the Tuileries garden and grab a deck chair by the fountain or take a seat at a classic parisian café and enjoy.
3. Have a look at the different tours on offer in the city that can range from gourmet food walking tours to being driven around in a retro side car!
4. Explore the different arrondissements to see the different personalities of Paris, such as Montmartre or Le Marais. Le Marais is said to be one of Paris' oldest and coolest districts with its cobblestone streets and selection of boutique shops and cafés.
5. If you're looking for more, head over for a day trip to Disneyland Paris! Only a 40-minute train journey from the centre of Paris.