Bonjour tout le monde! :) If you're a follower of my instagram account (vctra) you may already know that my boyfriend and I have spent 4 marvellous days in the capital of France last month. Although I had already been to Paris when I was about 10 years old, I really couldn't remember just how beautiful this city was. Lucky for us, my sister gave us many travel advice on where to walk around, where to eat and where to shop, since she had studied in Paris in her 20ies. Thanks to her, we saw many beautiful places besides the touristy ones that everyone has to visit when in Paris. But let's start from the top, shall we?
Our journey began at 3:30am on February 17th. We booked ourselves an airport taxi that was right on time and not that expensive (15€ p.p.), considering the fact that it was a black Mercedes!! Shortly after 6am our plane took off and we arrived in Paris about two hours later. Although we were welcomed by a huge windstorm and rain, we were quite excited to explore the city. After we had arrived at our hotel, where we left our luggage, we started our journey at the Metro station "Saint-Michel", which is where the cathredal Notre Dame is situated.
N O T R E D A M E
Ⓜ s a i n t - m i c h el - n o t r e - d a m e
It is free to enter Notre Dame if you're just staying on the ground floor - and believe you me - it is worth the visit. If you're a fan of the Disney movie "The hunchback of Notre Dame" (or any Disney movie for that matter), you might be a little dissapointet though, as the cathedral seems much bigger in the movie! Haha! But seriously, it is such a beautiful piece of gothic archicture, you simply must see it.
L O U V R E
Ⓜ l o u v r e - r i v o l i
The next place we visited was the famous Louvre Museum complex - however we only stayed on the outside. I personally don't like going to museums where you quickly get overwhelmed by the huge amount of artpieces while knowing that don't have much time for your visit. Therefore we decided to go see other museums instead,- next time we're in Paris we'll definitely go see the Louvre though.
You must know that we rarely used the metro- oder train services, so we basically walked all the way from Notre Dame to Arc de Triomphe. After seeing the Louvre complex we strolled through the Jardin de Tuileries, passed by the Place de la Concorde (where you can find a Giant Wheel) and walked on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. At the end of that you'll find the above-mentioned Arc de Triomphe, where you'll get one of the best views over Paris.
Quite exhausted (and already with three shopping bags in our hands) we checked in to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised. You must know that this Paris trip was a christmas gift to my boyfriend, therefore I was trying to spend as little money as possible, yet still tried to find a nice place for us to stay at. The hotel Faubourg 216-224 does not come of that well on online booking sites, however, our experience was mainly positive. Our room was very clean, modern and welcoming and looked exactly like the pictures on the website. Our bathroom and the corridor were quite small and narrow, which, however, didn't bother us. The breakfast consisted of croissants, pains au chocolat and baguettes hat came with butter, ham and cheese. Overall the price-perfomance ratio was very pleasing!
That night we stayed at the hotel because we were too exhausted to do some evening-sightseeing. All we did was get some snacks from a nearby supermarket, go back to our room and watch French soap operas. Lovely! :) The next day we got up early to visit the Centre Pompidou and the adjacent Quartier Marais.
Before we went to see the museum though, we stopped by the shopping mall that is situated inside the metro station called Châtelet – Les Halles. As if it was destiny, the first shop that caught my eye was MUJI! (Anyone who read our Venice post - Esther and I love MUJI. It's the best thing that ever happened to us. Seriously.) Therefore you may already guess how thrilled I was to enter this parisian MUJI for the first time. (In fact, there are 7 MUJIS in Paris and I only got to visit 4! It's a tragedy.)
Oh Muji... You gotta love Muji! After our shopping experience we headed towards the Centre Pompidou, which is a complex building, designed in the style of refinery architecture that houses modern art.
C E N T R E P O M P I D O U
Ⓜ c h a t e l e t s l e s h a l l e s
A great thing about museums in Paris is that you don't have to pay for visiting permanent collections when you're a student under 26, they only charge you for temporary exhibitions. Unfortunately, the most famous art pieces and classic modernist paintings were not on show right now due to construction, however, we got to see this awesome architecture and design exhibition that was definitely worth a visit.
You can get from one gallery space to another simpy by using an escalator that will also take you the top of the museum from where you'll be able to enjoy the wonderful view over Paris. - And the best thing about it- it's 100% free. :)
Right after our museum visit it was time to explore the neighborhood. We strolled through the lovely and charming streets of the quarter called Marais, which is my sister' favourite space in Paris. We definitely understood her fascination as this part of Paris is extremely picturesque and lively with many great little shops and cafes on every corner.
Back at Notre-Dame we took the RER to the most famous and most beautiful sight Paris has to offer.
T O U R E I F F E L
Ⓜ c h a mp d e m a r s - t o u r e i f f e l
If you want to enjoy the view on the Eiffeltower from nearby you can go to Trocadéro, where you'll find the famous platform where everyone is taking those famous selfies in front of Paris' landmark.
Quite hungry and tired we went back towards the Arc de Triomphe, looking for some cafe to relax in. We found this really lovely vegetarian place called Exki, which is absolutely recommendable. Not only is this place adorably furnished, the food is so yummy (-I had the best chocolate cake there) and the people working there are very friendly and attentive.
After eating tons of good food we went back to the metro station to go home. On our way we passed by the gorgeously lit Arc de Triomphe, which, let's be honest, is a sight for sore eyes. So beautiful!
The next day something totally crazy happened. The sun came out! We immediately hit the streets, - (well, before that I forced Michael to go to MUJI once again to get my niece a lovely plushy bunny that I had seen the day before), and went to the Quartier Latin. Just like Marais this quarter is filled with lovely buildings, shops, cafes and people.
We stumbled upon this really nice place called "La Parisienne". I got myseld a yummy corn bread with tuna! Yumm!
My personal favourite place in Paris was the Jardin du Luxembourg which was created in 1612 by Marie de' Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she had constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace. The park is known for its lawns, tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds, the model sailboats on its circular basin and for the picturesque Medici Fountain.
J A R D I N S D U L U X E M B O U R G
RER l u x e m b o u r g
As you can see, even Paul le lapin was enjoying the park on such a sunny day.
After we had strolled through these amazing gardens we headed towards the Musée d'Orsay, which is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne and Van Gogh.
After our museum visit we still wanted to see the Sacre Coeur church at Montmarte, which, however, didn't impress us that much. Seeing it in so many movies (starting with Amélie) I thought it would be so beautiful and charming,- due to the sudden bad weather though, the strong winds and pushy souvenir vendors that yelled at us, our impression was not positively influenced.
Still, the view was very nice! :) On our last day it was raining heavily, which is why we made it a shopping day- spending all our time at Galeries Lafayette, which is a famous department store where you can buy clothes, make-up, food, souvenirs- basically everything you can imagine.
I seriously wanted to buy one of these for my niece Olivia, however, I was so blinded by their cuteness that I didn't read the logo above it. Darn it.
On top of the department store you will find this cool restaurant where there's a huge buffet that you can choose from. The food was totally affordable and really delicious! You'll also find a roof terrace there, from where you have a lovely view over Paris!
The food market there was my personal favourite, everything looked so yummy!
After we had done some more shopping at Printemps and Gare Saint-Lazare, we went to the airport in the early evening and flew back to Vienna at 9pm. Even though the weather wasn't exactly on our side, this trip made me realize how beautiful Paris actually is. We will be back soon, for sure!
Thank you very much for reading and stay tuned- a video about our trip is in the making! :)
Thank you very much for reading and stay tuned- a video about our trip is in the making! :)
Have a lovely remaining week you guys!