Guest post by Katie Bignell –
On a clear autumn morning in late October, I began my eventful journey from Bristol to Paris. It was a shabby start to begin with as I literally missed my coach to London within seconds, watching the coach drive away in front of our eyes. However, we waited for the next one which luckily had space and once on the Underground from Victoria to St Pancras everything began to run swimmingly well.
I couldn’t recommend the Eurostar travel option enough. As a first timer, it was easy to check in and everything was well managed. The Premier Class on the Eurostar was amazing; both my girls and I loved the comfort and service provided on board. They got just as excited about the fizzy drink as I did the free wine!
The router you can use when accessing the Wi-Fi also shows your location, which was amazingly educational for the girls on their first trip to France. That and we thoroughly enjoyed viewing the beautiful French countryside!
Our Arrival to Paris was smooth and quick, but beware of the greeters hoping to get you into their taxi – I thought they were custom control and started to follow them, only to realise just in the nick of time that they weren’t. Great if you want a taxi, but I had decided to take advantage of the city option of the Metro.
Taking the Metro from Gare Du Nord to Montparnasse (our destination) was a very easy journey with a direct route in a very quick time. I would recommend this as an alternative to travelling by taxi.
We stayed at the most breath-taking hotel ‘Le Littre’, which was stunning – we were treated like royalty from the moment we arrived. Our room was fabulous and I made use of all the services on offer, including a sauna and relaxation room (which I had sole use of), a luminous bar and some lovely spaces to just relax and unwind. As first-timers to Paris we were given some useful tips and information from the staff at ‘Le Littre’. The hotel also boasts some lovely views, 24-hour room service and a spectacular breakfast area which consisted of little alcoves where we gathered in for breakfast every morning of our stay.
In terms of Paris culture, I thoroughly recommend seeing the main landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Palace of Versailles at night where they shine golden against the night sky – seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkling was definitely a highlight! A visit to the Eiffel Tower during the day is also a must; purely to experience the superb, expansive views across the city.
We also had a lovely day-time stroll to visit the stunning Notre Dame cathedral and sampled some crepes whilst we waited to explore the cathedral from a height. The River Seine was also beautiful; we strolled around the surrounding area and there were some lovely little boutiques and gift shops tucked away on the cobbled streets.
Taking a stroll from Montparnasse to St Germain at night to choose from a fine selection of restaurants was superb. We decided on Cafe Louise which I would highly recommend.
For art, shopping and culture all in one place, look no further than Montmartre. This gem of a place is an artist’s haven, with street painters, eateries and shops hidden with lots of arty treasures. Montmartre further meets the needs of chocolate lovers, with the most glorious chocolatier, Maison Georges Lamicol, which displays famous Parisian landmarks carved out of chocolate and an extensive assortment of the most deluxe chocolates.
My need for art exploration was further met through visiting Le Palais de Tokyo, this amazing and modern art museum deepened my thought processes and propelled my imagination.
We also loved our visit to Jardin du Luxembourg where we strolled around pretty gardens, fascinating museums and a zoo which contained lots of wildlife, exotic plants and history in-between.
If, like me, you love fashion you will be spoilt by the overflow of choice. I felt like everyday was a catwalk for me in Paris and helped by the array of fashionista images in the magazines elegantly placed around hotel ‘Le Littre’, I felt sophisticated and glamorous for the whole trip. From designers to bohemian markets, there is something to suit every budget!
Finally, no trip to Paris would be complete without sampling a local patisserie, and there are some lovely ones on the bustling high street between St Germain and Montparnasse. These stunning cakes inspired my passion for cake designing and making, and I have definitely got some new ideas to try when I return home.
We would definitely return to Paris, the city was beautiful, transport was easily accessible and the hotel was amazing. We felt truly spoilt in this sophisticated, glowing city.