This blog post has been long overdue, but nonetheless, here it is! Back in Spring, my friend Emm...
This blog post has been long overdue, but nonetheless, here it is!
Back in Spring, my friend Emmy and I booked a short break to Paris. We were discussing how we both longed to escape Belgium so we decided to just go for it. A spontaneous trip ended in us having the best time, wandering along the Seine and taking in the vibe of the city and its people. I have posted many snaps from our trip on my Instagram since then, but still have tons of tips on how to plan a city break that doesn't hurt your bank balance that I wanted to share here. I'd love to hear your travel stories and tips too, so drop them in the comment section if you like!
ACCOMMODATION + TRANSPORT
Although Paris is known to be quite expensive, a short holiday doesn't have to blow your budget too much. For us, opting for something different than a hotel made this trip possible on a small budget.
♢ We booked via Airbnb. It's a service where people offer rooms in various price ranges, so we could browse according to our budget and managed to find very affordable accommodation. We booked a private room in the 11eme district and stayed with the nicest people. The street where it was located had cool bars and restaurants and several metro stations nearby. Emmy and I paid €45 in total for one night, an extremely fair price for the great hospitality and central location. I've always had good experiences booking with Airbnb so for me, it's the first thing I check when travelling. Plus it's also great to connect with locals this way.
Another option when you travel from Belgium is Izy. It's a new low-cost Thalys train between Brussels and Paris with tickets starting at €19. I haven't booked with Izy yet, but absolutely plan to next time I head to the French capital.
♢ I was surprised by how inexpensive public transport in Paris is compared to Belgium! I spent €7.70 on tickets for the entire weekend (type Ticket Jeunes Weekend). Considering how often we took the metro, it was a bargain. We walked around a lot to see as much of the city as possible. Still, the metro is the quickest way to get from one place to the other, as the plan is simple and trains come every couple minutes.
THINGS TO DO WHEN IN PARISOkay, so there are a ton of fun things to do in Paris, but I will focus on the activities we did on this trip so the post won't get too long-winded.
♢ One of my favourite places by far in Paris is Montmartre. This area surrounding the famous white-domed Sacré-Coeur basilica is always packed with tourists. Nonetheless, it is a must-see when you're in Paris. A stroll through these streets never fails to excite me. Place du Tertre is home to numerous local artists. It's fun to see the artists in action and see them paint other tourists' portraits. While you're there, don't forget to have a look inside the basilica, as it's just beautiful.
♢ For a laid-back (romantic) activity I would 100% recommend planning an evening boat trip along the Seine river. A sightseeing cruise under the moonlight allows you to discover the city's landmarks from a different perspective. I got very snap-happy and took loads of pictures; seeing the Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and other famous monuments light up by nighttime was just magical.
♢ Similar to the boat trip, a stroll along the Seine guarantees you'll see many of Paris' best-known monuments, yet it allows you to stop for pictures or stray a little further from the river. After a delicious Sunday lunch in Le Marais, we went to Notre Dame cathedral and walked all the way to Champs-Elysées, with stops at the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries and Pont Alexandre II - and Sephora, sorry not sorry - before catching our ride back home. Even though we walked a lot, it was a perfect carefree afternoon.
♢ Speaking of parks, Paris has several green spots where you can rest, such as Jardin des Tuileries next to the Louvre museum, Jardin du Luxembourg, and Champ-de-Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. And who will disagree, there is nothing like soaking up the sun with your feet up and a box of raspberries - or macarons, after all we are in Paris - in one hand in Jardin du Luxembourg.
♢ On a clear day, climb the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe and simply take in the magnificent view over the city. I promise you won't regret it.
♢ For the best falafel in Paris, Le Marais is the place to go. Keep in mind the waiting line will be huge, so don't go there on a completely empty stomach. I love the vibe in this neighbourhood as well. There are countless trendy shops and art galleries to check out.
♢ Galeries Lafayette at Boulevard Haussmann is the place to go shopping after the Champs-Elysées. The ten-story building with beautiful stained glass dome alone is worth planning a visit for.
What are your top Paris recommendations?