After Jacquie’s cycling-mad hubby suggested they take a trip to Paris to watch the Tour de France, it didn’t take much for her to be convinced! Before she knew it, she had had booked 5 days in Paris, giving them plenty of time for sightseeing (and shopping), as well as watching the end of Le Tour on Sunday.
We stayed at the Clarion Opera Pavillion Hotel, recommended by our European Expert at SuperBreak and we weren’t disappointed. The hotel was small but nicely decorated in a great location – halfway between Galeries Lafayette (perfect for shopping) and Montemarte (brilliant for a night out). The glass of Champagne on arrival was a nice touch, and the free mini buffet every day at 5 – 8pm was an added bonus. As was the free mini bar stocked with soft drinks, much needed as whilst we were there temperatures were around 38 degrees.
On our first night we wandered up to Rue Des Abesses, a typical French street full of bars, restaurants and very chic French clientele whiling away a few hours after work. After a quick bite to eat we had a few glasses of vino in a bar call Vingt Heures Vin – I probably could have spent 20 hours in here drinking wine!
Despite the wine, we were up early for a day of sightseeing. First stop was the Eiffel Tower and by the time we had walked here soaking up the Parisian atmosphere, the queue was huge. It was definitely too hot to stand in, so we opted to get on the Bateaux Parisian. It came free with our hotel booking with Superbreak, and was the perfect way to see all the sights and get our bearings on our first day. On the cruise we saw a few people having lunch on the banks of the Seine so after the cruise we found a Boulangerie and armed with our hot quiche, apple tarts and Orangina headed back to sit on the bank of the Seine and watch the world go by.
For Friday evening’s entertainment we had pre-booked tickets to Paradis Latin. I wasn’t sure what to expect but then you can’t come to Paris without seeing a bit of Can-Can dancing! It was like stepping back into another era – definitely a more glamorous one. The food was great, we enjoyed escargot and chateaubriand. The entertainment was very cabaret but a brilliant experience. My favourite bit was Christophe the Trapeze artist, with his daring acrobatics soared above our heads!
My highlights of the trip were the view from the top floor of Gallerie Lafeyette – it’s free and in a great position to see all the main landmarks (without being up one of them), climbing up the zillion stairs to Sacre Coeur (well worth the effort) and a night out on Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter.
Jacquie’s Top 5 Tips for Visiting Paris
- 1) Go on the free river cruise on day 1, to get your bearings
- 2) Best view is at the top of Gallerie Lafeyette and it’s free!
- 3) Go for a night out on Rue Des Abesses
- 4) Download the audio tours of museums onto your smartphone before you go
- 5) Buy a book of 10 metro tickets rather than individual journeys
If you’re planning a Paris Short Break, what sights will be at the top of your list? Let us know in the comment box below!