Paris Travel Tips

Thursday, 12 May 2016


Last weekend Rhianne and I went to Paris. We were only there for 3 days but I still learnt a few tips that I feel are worth sharing. So in no particular order here are my top tips for anyone heading to Paris!


Book Smart

We managed to get return flights from London City Airport for £97 each including baggage and taxes which I honestly think was such a steal! It was cheaper and quicker then taking the Eurostar. I used SkyScanner.com to find the flights and we booked 2.5 months before. SkyScanner is an amazing website for finding flight bargains as it compares prices from a huge variety of travel sites to find you the best deal. If you've never used it before be sure to give it a try! I've been booking through them for years now and always been happy.

For accommodation I used my favourite hotel website Booking.com. I love Booking.com because a lot of hotels offer book now pay later deals on the site which makes spreading the cost far easier. We chose the hotel Campanile Paris 11 because almost all of it's reviews mentioned it's great location and very clean interior. The reviews were spot on and the location was perfect! We were a few minutes walk from many Metro stations and could get from our door to the famous Champs-Elysees shopping road in 20 minutes. The hotel was like France's version of a Travelodge, clean and well presented but nothing amazing. It was all we needed though as we spent most of our time outside wondering around the city.

Our hotel was based in Bastille which turned out to be a really nice area. We were walking distance from the National Opera House and Bastille even has its own shopping high street boasting many great shops including a Sephora! The area was also home to many restaurants, bars, cafes and even a McDonalds.


Getting Around The City

Once we arrived at Paris Orly airport is was super easy to get to the centre of the city. The Orlyval shuttle train (about 9 euros for a ticket) connected us the the Paris Metro system in what felt like 5 minutes and the Metro system is one of the easiest train systems I've ever used. We bought 3 day unlimited Metro travel cards for zones 1-3 for 24 euros each and they turned out to be a great investment. We visited all of the sites we wanted to on this one travel card without a single hiccup.

Metro stations are everywhere, it genuinely feels like there is one on every street. Also the train map is easy to read and the stations are well signposted. It is far easier then the New York Subway system and it's even easier then the London Underground. In fact it's the easiest city train system I've ever used in my life! There is no need to take a cab or even a bus in a city with a train service like this.


Eating And Drinking

I've always heard about french people sitting outside cafes sipping on coffees and cocktails. I thought it was a bit of a stereotype but it turns out it's true! They absolutely love a bit of outside seating meaning that cute cafes are everywhere and there's no shortage of bars and restaurants either. There was however a serious lack of cake shops which surprised me. Paris is meant to be one of the cake capitals of the world but we struggled to find anywhere that wasn't a Laduree. Laduree did look cute by the way, but I pass by the London one so often that it has lost it's appeal.

The rumours of french food being expensive are very true. One day we ate at a restaurant on Champs-Elysees and ended up spending 70 euros on 2 meals and 2 drinks. Granted the drinks were champagne cocktails but still. Eating in Bastille was far cheaper. We visited a cute Italian restaurant near our hotel and ordered 2 meals, 2 desserts, 2 teas and water for the table for about 40 euros. Still expensive but you definitely get more for your money if you venture away from the tourist hot spots. We could have saved a lot of money by not drinking champagne and cocktails with every meal but I'm a champagne and cocktails kind of girl so that was never going to happen.

For the record McDonalds are dotted everywhere and their version tastes far better then the UK McDs. Restaurants serving crepes are also dotted everywhere too. We spent around 30 euros on 2 crepes and 2 cocktails at an adorable cafe round the back of the Lourve. Pricey yes, but the serving size was so big that I couldn't even finish mine and me not finishing a dessert is a big deal.


Seeing The Sites
We spent most of our time wondering around the city and taking it all in. Metro stations are dotted absolutely everywhere meaning there's no fear of getting lost as you can just jump back on the Metro train to find your way home. There are also bus stops on almost every street and taxis always driving by, so don't be afraid to wonder around. It's a lovely city that's made to be explored.

We booked the Eiffel Tower well in advance and I'm so glad we did as the queues for on the day tickets were huge! Also when we booked some time slots were already sold out so it looks like there's a chance you can be turned away on the day. We turned up to the pre booked ticket entrance around 20 minutes before our allocated time and ended up being the very first ones from our time slot to enter. Meaning we went from the ground to the second floor platform with no queuing at all and within 5 minutes which was fab!

We booked the ticket which lets you go to the top floor for 17 euros and both agreed after that there really was no need to go so high. The views from the second floor are just as good. Plus we ended up queuing for half an hour on the second floor to use the lift which takes you to the top. The only perk was that they have a champagne bar at the top, but with champagne starting at 18 euros a glass it really wasn't that much of a perk. You can easily save yourself time and money by chilling on the second floor instead.

The Lourve was beautiful and you can literally just walk straight into the area with no trouble at all. You don't need tickets either to explore the area so well worth a visit. I don't know whether you need tickets to go inside as we didn't try, the weather was too beautiful to be doing anything indoors. The gardens around the Lourve are great to visit and would be perfect for a picnic! You can also walk from the Louvre to Love Lock Bridge within a few minutes.


If you're planning on doing a love lock be sure to bring your own lock with you. You can buy them from peddlers on the bridge but they charge 15 euros a lock! I cant even imagine the profits they are making. Really didn't know whether to look at him in disgust when he revealed the price or high five him for being so business savvy. They also provide marker pens too so don't stress if you forgot yours.


Check The National Holidays

We ended up being there over International Workers Day which meant a lot of shops in Bastille were closed for the occasion. I had no idea IW day was even a thing but the plus side was that a huge street market / party was happening so it wasn't all bad. It's worth checking for public holidays though if the main aim of your trip is shopping your heart out.


Shopping

Bastille has a great shopping high street that goes on for ages! The famous Champs-Elysees also has a great selection of brands to visit. However as a Londoner the only thing I saw that I couldn't get at home was Sephora. Champs-Elysees Sephora is well worth a visit though, it's one of the biggest ones I've ever seen. My only complaint is that the staff are so hard sell! You can't take a step without someone trying to tell you about the most amazing new perfume. Also it's worth mentioning that quite a few big brands including Anastasia Beverly Hills and Laura Mercier are not available in French Sephora's.

The plus side of the crazy amount of staff though was that it was very easy to find someone to help colour match me so it wasn't all bad. There were no queues at the tills either which was amazing considering how many people were in the shop. I recommend paying by card because it offers you the chance to pay in your currency instead of euros and the exchange rate on my card was great! went from around 115 euros to 85 pounds which was far better then my cash exchange rate.

If you're looking for drugstore makeup I have no idea where you'll find it, I didn't see any anywhere. The bits I did see were horribly overpriced compared to the UK so I wouldn't even bother looking if I was you. Bioderma wasn't that much cheaper either which was a shame as I had high hopes of stocking up.


Weather

We visited on the last day of April and first days of May and it was sunny! No coat needed for the last 2 days and clear blue skies. We honestly couldn't have asked for better weather as it was that perfect not too hot but not too cold either temperature. The first day it did rain a little but only for a few minutes at a time.

And that's all of my tips!

I hope this helps any of you who are looking to visit Paris. Overall I had a really fun time and would definitely do it again as a quick girls trip. The city is really expensive so a long weekend was definitely enough for my bank balance and I managed to see all I wanted to in that time too. Danny and I plan on going together at some point as a couples trip but no time soon. I didn't find it that romantic though. If you're looking for romance go to Italy instead.

Let me know if I should do more travel tips posts. I tried to keep it short, sweet and informative because that's all I ever want when I read a travel post but let me know if there's anything else you'd have loved me to report back on :)

Until next time, Jaydee xx

2 comments

  1. Your photos are gorgeous. I would love to go to Paris one day ;-) xoxo

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    Replies
    1. I have a few more photos and I'm thinking to upload them into a separate blog post soon because it's such a shame not to share them. So keep an eye out for another Paris post! :D Hope you're well Desle xx

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