If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I recently went to Paris (#sorrynotsorry for the picture spamming!). I have been a few times before but never had enough time to do it justice, so off I went by myself (!!) for 3 days of just me and the city. I stayed at the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers, a boutique hotel in the 3ème arrondissement found courtesy of my Cereal City Guide. Location and view are usually top of my list when it comes to choosing accommodation and I wasn’t disappointed. Oh and add wooden windows to that list, I was pretty much sold on this hotel by the windows.
Let’s talk about breakfast. Paris isn’t exactly short of cafés and restaurants but I’d like to share with you the amazing Holybelly. This place has two establishments tucked away on 5 and 19 Rue Lucien Sampaix in 10ème. It’s one of those places that has a simple menu but absolutely nails it. I went to Holybelly5 and hand on heart had one of the tastiest breakfasts I’ve ever had. They also do a wicked coffee and have Macaulay Culkin on their WiFi cards – what’s not to love! I should also mention that the staff are awesome; it seems a rarity these days for places to get the right balance between being attentive but not overbearing.
Paris is brimming with stunning architecture and national moments, the most famous of course is Le Tour Eiffel. It took more than 2 years to build and really is an incredible feat of engineering. €10 will buy you a ticket to walk, or more like climb, to the second floor. I had originally intended to buy a ticket to go right up to the top, which you have to get the lift to, but decided against it due to the large crowds. It turned out to be a good decision as I felt rather queasy before I’d even reached the first floor! The view of course is stunning, my photos don’t do it justice so I won’t post them here.
Monmartre is a lovely place to spend a morning or afternoon wondering the streets up and around the Sacré Cœur. I’m always amazed how old buildings are so beautiful in Europe and you’ll find some gorgeous streets here.
I didn’t use any public transport; I like to walk so I can find off the beat cafés and have a break from the masses. It also helps burn some calories so you can enjoy patisserie guilt free! I think Paris is totally walkable (my nifty apple products reliably tell me I walked 43.6 miles in 3 days) but the buses run with the regularity you would expect in a capital city and river cruises are popular to take in the Louvre, Musée D’Orsay and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
It goes without saying that those with a sweet tooth are in paradise in France. Here’s some of the tasty treats I tucked into.
On my last day I spent a few hours shopping on the Champs-Élysées and felt it would be rude not to pop into Ladurée for some sustenance. I had a glass of champagne with my coffee macaron and being the light weight that I am, it went straight to my head.
Back on the Champs-Élysées you’ll find the magnificent Arc de Triomphe. It is engraved to commemorate various battles and the signing of treaties, which you are probably best to read about here if you’re interested as I am no historian!
On my way back to the hotel, I walked along the river and took in the Louvre again. With champagne still in my system, I walked into a bollard that was unfortunately at the perfect height to smash into my symphysis pubis (google it). I’m not sure if the pain or the humiliation of the large crowd who witnessed it was worse. Don’t drink and walk people!
Three days went too quickly and before I knew it I was back at the Gare de Nord to catch the Eurostar back to London. I don’t know if you’ve used Eurostar before, I guess it depends whether or not you are in or around London. But it is such a stress-free experience compared with flying. Efficient, no queues and quiet carriages – perfect! Gare de Nord is of course stunning.
Audrey Hepburn was right, Paris is always a good idea. I can’t wait to go back as I don’t think I could ever get bored of those streets.
Have you ever been solo travelling? Would love to hear your experiences and where you’ve been if you have!
Thanks for reading,