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A Weekend in Paris

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After our weekend away in the Yorkshire Dales in January, I decided that we need to plan more trips away. We ventured further afield this time, and headed to Paris. It was our first time abroad since the pandemic began, and we had the best weekend!

We stayed in a cute hotel south of the river called La Belle Juliette. It was really close to Le Bon Marché so after we dropped our bags off on Friday afternoon, we walked over there to La Grande Epicerie to buy a few treats. If you’ve not been to La Grande Epicerie before, it’s a luxury food hall in Le Bon Marché with the most incredible selection of French food. Highlights include their enormous cheese counter, a wall of more than 100 types of bottled water, and of course the most tempting patisserie counter.

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On Friday night we went to the Clover Grill for dinner. I'm writing another post about our meals in Paris so more to come on that later!

We were up early on Saturday morning for some ‘Parkrun tourism’ in Bois de Boulogne. Parkrun isn’t anywhere near as popular in France as it is in the UK with only 54 runners taking part that week. It was really fun to do though, and I enjoyed running a much flatter course than my usual one in Leeds.

After a quick change back at the hotel, we headed over to the Eiffel Tower. I’d pre-booked tickets for the top floor, and whilst it was really quick to get the first lift up to the second floor, we then had to queue quite a while for the second lift up to the top. At the very top you exit the lift into an enclosed viewing platform, and if you’re feeling brave and not too scared of heights, there is a second level above that is more open where you’ll have the best panoramic views of the city.

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Later in the afternoon we had a walk along the river to the Musée de l’Orangerie. I’d not been to this gallery before, and we were originally planning on going to the Louvre, but a friend recommended we visit this gallery instead. The gallery houses an impressive collection of impressionist paintings, with the highlight being Monet’s Water Lillies that fill the two main halls. And downstairs is a huge selection of paintings by artists including Picasso, Renoir and Matisse.

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It was a bit drizzly on Sunday, and we’d planned a bit of a quieter day, which we needed after walking 26k steps on Saturday! In the morning we went up to Monmatre and Sacre Coeur. It’s a very touristy area (and we had a very over-priced and average lunch) but it was nice to have a wander around there and enjoy the views across Paris from the steps of Sacre Coeur.

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In the afternoon we went to the Catacombs. This wasn’t on my list of places to visit in Paris and I didn’t know a lot about it, but Nick was keen to go. I pre-booked tickets, which were a lot more expensive than buying them on the day, but when we arrived there all the day tickets had sold out so I’d recommend booking in advance if its somewhere you really want to go.

If you’re claustrophobic, this isn’t the place for you. Getting down into the Catacombs includes walking down a very long spiral staircase, and then you enter the long underground tunnels which go on for 1.5km. It was really interesting to visit and learn about the history, but this wouldn’t be for everyone, it was quite creepy.

I’ve been to Paris quite often pre-covid, but my last two trips were for work so it was great to visit for a little holiday. And so nice to switch off from work for a few days as I’m still working on my work life balance.

If you’re going for a few days away in Paris, hopefully this will help you with planning where to visit, and look out for my blog post next week about where we ate on our trip!