Over the last few weeks, I’ve been spending a chunk of time sorting through over a decades worth of photos.
I have been luckily enough to travel a lot in those years but Paris holds a special place in my memories. It was the destination of my very first foreign holiday. I was 8. My mother, aunt and I booked onto a coach trip. We were the youngest people on the holiday by far, apart from one other young mother and her son. They didn’t come with the rest of us on a coach tour around Paris, instead preferring to spend the day sightseeing by themselves. I remember thinking they were very adventurous.
Later, it was the place I visited on my very first holiday without an adult. R, my long-time travel buddy, and I spent a weekend exploring the sites. I practised my French, we climbed up the Eiffel Tower and spent a day at Disney. I didn’t pack a coat, it was cold. I’ve since learnt to listen to my mother.
And then, back when husband was boyfriend, it was the place we visited on our very first holiday together; my birthday present to him. I gave him the dates to book off work and presented him with his birthday card which listed the details of our trip. I found 1p flights with Ryanair, we travelled with hand-luggage and city hopped by plane – on to Girona and then Perpignan. It was the start of many adventures together.
I’ve been over a dozen times to the city and have picked up a few places that are worth a visit, that are a little off the usual tourist path. What better places to share those tips, than on my blog?
If you’ve got the Eiffel Tower, Laudurée and The Louvre ticked off your list, here are a few places that I am confident are worth your time visiting.
Walk the Parisian High Line
Step back New York! Hidden away in the 12th arrondissement is the original highline The Promenade Plantee. Around the corner from Bastille, you ascend a staircase that takes you to the start of the 4.7km long park which was once a train line. Walking amongst the Parisian rooftops, through bamboo walkways and along the track you can sneak a peek into the windows of those lucky people who get to call this city home.
Eat at the Pink Flamingo
There are a few branches of the pizza shop, but the one in the 10th arrondissement is my
favorite as the area is full of cool drinking spots and it makes a perfect stop after you’ve explored Parc de Buttes Charmont (see below). Their pizza toppings that have a decidedly French flair to them (figs and brie, anyone?) and once you’ve ordered they give you a pink, helium filled balloon. Go and find yourself a romantic spot along the canal whilst you wait for your food which will be delivered to you by a guy who’s tracked you down by your balloon. Trés magnifique!
Explore Parc De Buttes Charmont
A little further out than the major sites but easily accessible by metro, or on foot if you’re hardcore, the Parc is a little bit of tranquil paradise. Featuring a man made lake, waterfall, Italian inspired temple and a suspension bridge designed by Mr Eiffel himself, this is a great place to get away from the crowds and have yourself a little picnic. You are also treated to a wonderful view of the Parisian skyline.
Brave a night bike tour, (this is the one I’ve done)
I am a great fan of the free walking tours that you can find in most capital cities across Europe but sometimes it’s nice to give your feet a rest. Whilst you can hire your own bikes all over the city for not much money, I don’t have the steely nerves required to pedal myself around the crazy Parisian roads. With a guide however, I feel much more confident. Paris is just as, if not more romantic at dusk. Taking an evening tour allows you to see the city and its sights as the sun sets. Top it off with an evening cruise down the Seine (included as part of this particular tour 2 package) and you might just find yourself proposing to whoever is next to you because it’s so darn romantic!
Visit the Basilica of Saint Denis
Whilst the cemetery of Père Lachaise always seems to make it on to top 10 lists, few people seem to venture out of the city to the suburb of Saint Denis, home to a Basilica of the same name. Even if you don’t know much about French history (I don’t, I’m afraid), chances are you will have heard of the famous Marie Antoinette. Although she and her headless husband weren’t initially buried at this church which is the historic resting place of the French monarchy, bits of their bodies were eventually rehoused there. Wander round this great abbey amongst the tombs of the French Kings and Queens of years gone by.
Wander around the Parisian sewer system
Address: Musée des Égoute de Paris, Pont de l’Alma, 75007 Paris, France
Okay, live with me here. Maybe this isn’t necessarily somewhere to spend precious holiday time if it’s your first trip to Paris but I loved my visit to the Paris Sewer Museum. Seriously, when else are you likely ever to be able to visit a sewer system? It surprisingly doesn’t smell and the tunnels aren’t small and claustrophobic like you might expect.