With the advent of Eurostar, travel to and from Paris has never been easier. In just under three hours, it is possible to be walking down the Champs-Élysées or visiting the Louvre. As I am based in London, I have been able to visit Paris fairly often, here are some of the attractions it’s possible to fit in in a quick weekend in Paris.
Eiffel Tower…of course.
It is the most famous landmark in Paris and one of the cities most well known tourist attractions. It was built for the Exposition of 1889, and was originally meant as a temporary structure. Such was its popularity that it became a permanent fixture and was the world’s tallest building until 1931 when the Empire State Building was finished in New York. The Eiffel Tower is visible from all over the city, up close by the Champs de Mars and from as far as La Défense. From the viewing gallery, it is possible to see for up to 50 miles. There is a small audio museum called the cinemax which shows the historical film footage of the tower. It is also possible to eat in the Jules Verne restaurant on the second floor.
The boats that go up and down the Seine are a great way to see Paris and give an overview of the main attractions. There is a commentary in English on board that relates the history of the buildings along the banks of the river. It is possible to hop on and hop off at any of the stops en route and explore further.
I recently discovered the canals of the 18th arrondissement, in between metro Stalingrad and Jaures. It is a beautiful part of Paris. They have renovated La Rotonde which was where the local people used to pay their taxes and is now a bar/café right at the end of the canals. Just a few minutes walk away is the Parc des Buttes Charmont, (Tip: closest station Buttes Chaumont metro Line 7).
This trendy and up and coming area is full of bars and restaurants. It reminds me of Clapham South and High Street in London, or the trendy part of Shoreditch. There are also many restaurants around Republique on metro line 5, 11, 3, 9 and 8. Boulevard Voltaire, Avenue Parmentier and Rue Oberkampf are the livelier streets in the area.
Located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, this was once outside the city walls of Paris which meant it was exempt from taxes. It made a name for itself as the party place. Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir established themselves here in the 19th century as Montmartre became a well known party scene. There are many attractions in the 18th such as “Les Deux Moulins”, the café made famous in the film “Amelie Poulin”. It is real life café located on Rue Lepic. There is no longer “le tabac” counter due to the anti-smoking laws but the rest of the café is the same. You can even order a crème brulee which Amelie loved to crack the top of.
Tip: Le Jardin D’en Face is a little hidden gem of the 18th arrondissement. This restaurant is very reasonably priced with a selection of different plats du jour. It is a popular restaurant and therefore worth booking especially if there is a party bigger than two.
The left bank has a lively night scene but it is also where the Paris “beach” is located during July and August. Unfortunately the last time I went was in September, so I had just missed it. There were still lots of little soirees and picnics along the Seine which is really pleasant. Watch the sun go down behind Notre Dame while having a few drinks.
Paris is much smaller than London which means many of the attractions are close to one another. Many Parisians get around by bike as it is cheap and for those who do not own one, you can also borrow one from Vélib, the bicycle scheme.