Last week we went to Paris on a fleeting nine-hour visit. I have to say you can squeeze a lot into a few hours if you know your way around! (Lovely Lisa once crammed a lot into 36 hours). I think this was my sixth or seventh time in City of Light so I’ve built up quite a list of things to do in Paris.
- Galeries Lafayette
- Marche Enfants Rouges
- L’As du Fallafel
- Parc des Buttes Chaumont
- Jardin de Luxembourg
- Montmartre Love Wall
- Marché aux Puces de Vanves
- Photo Booth
It’s not the usual sight-seeing trip but I found the Catacombs absolutely fascinating. Built in the 1700s, an ossuary was formed from an underground quarry. With cemeteries becoming overcrowded, the dead were brought beneath the streets of Paris. Now you can walk amongst the remains of over 6 million Parisians.
Despite visiting Paris several times, I’ve never made it up the Eiffel Tower. Instead, several years ago we took in a panoramic view from Tour Montparnasse. Much quicker to get up (38 seconds to climb 59 floors) and the view is magnificent. We went on the same day we went to the Catacombs as they’re not too far from each other.
This was a new experience for this trip. There’s a fabulous viewing deck from the top of this fancy department store. To get there take the escalators all the way to the top of the building, turn right and walk down to the food hall area then take an extra escalator up to the very top of the building. There’s a pop-up restaurant to greet you at the top as well as a smashing, free view of the La Tour Eiffel.
It took us a while to find this place, as our first visit was pre iPhone. Nestled in the Marais neighbourhood this is the oldest food market in Paris and the selection is endless. It’s more of a food hall than a market so it’s more about having a bite to eat than doing some shopping.
This simple Middle Eastern eatery is now a bit of a Marais tourist trap but we’ve been going here for years. On a city break there’s always so much ground to cover so I love grabbing food on the go. Like the name suggests, this place is all about the Falafel, and it’s mighty good.
I’m sure most people are aware of the concept store, Merci with its iconic red Fiat 500 installation outside. Always good for mooch, a coffee and a photo opportunity. Again it’s a Marais haunt, located at 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais.
Several years ago we went to ‘Nuit Blanche’, the annual all-night arts festival. The atmosphere in the city was electric (though sadly we went a few years later and it wasn’t really the same). Anyway, one of the exhibitions was held in Parc des Buttes Chaumont, a park in the 19th arrondissement. The park has an impressive temple, bridges and a grotto and waterfall.
At the same arts festival, there was a giant glitter ball hung over the Jardin de Luxembourg illuminating over the night sky. Though that was just a one-off I’m a big fan of this park. From the green metal chairs to the pool and palace, as well as the countless statues, it’s a gorgeous place to relax for a few hours.
There are countless cruisers making their way up and down the Seine. If you want to get out on the water a cheaper alternative is to jump on the Batobus, the river boat shuttle service. For €17 you can stop at 9 locations all over the city as many times as you like.
We may all be familiar with ‘je t’aime’ but the Monmatre Love Wall features ‘I love you’ in over 250 languages! Great for a photo backdrop with your beau.
While Les Puces de Saint-Ouen attracts about 180,000 visitors per weekend, I’ve only ever gone to the smaller market at Vanves. Get there early and take cash. If I remember rightly we caught the metro down to Porte de Vanves.
Photo booths I’ve used in the UK gives you four prints on a 6×4 bit of paper, for a truly nostalgic snap I like mine delivered on a strip. James and I have used the vintage booth at Palais De Tokyo previously and more recently the one housed in children’s store Bonton, just a few doors up from Merci. Thankfully my eight-month-old was intrigued by the flashing bulbs and his little startled face is forever captured to treasure.
What are your favourite things to do in Paris? Anyone visiting soon?