Nikki Canning discovers just how much sightseeing and people watching you can fit into 48 hours in the French capital. Read her weekend guide to Paris if you want to get the most out of your next weekend away…
Paris, je t’aime. Even in sub-zero temperatures and February blizzards, you still are beautiful.
My mum and I decided to spend a good girlie weekend in the French capital as a Mother’s Day treat. The last time I was in Paris I was 16 and on a very scheduled school trip so I was really looking forward to being able to amble down streets, people watch from the windows of tiny cafes and eat as many macaroons as my body could handle.
We had three magical days in Paris, and even though the weather was bitterly cold, we still managed to get one beautiful day when the sun came out. Wrapped up in as many layers I could manage (I even wore tights under my jeans it was that cold!) we took to the streets. The Time Out Paris App soon became our best friend for finding our way to the tourist hot-spots, the nearest metro stops and even where the closest cafe was to warm our freezing hands around a hot chocolate.
We started our Friday with a trip to Notre-Dame. Both mum and I had only ever seen it from the outside so getting a chance to go inside was brilliant. I could have spent hours looking at all the intricate stained glass windows. Paris is celebrating Notre-Dame’s 850th birthday this year and even though there were hundreds of people wandering around the pews, it’s still perfectly silent inside.
We strolled round the Ile de Cite for a couple of hours and then tucked ourselves into a little restaurant for dinner. We were so famished (and so lost!) that I can’t tell you whether we were still on the Ile or on what side of the river, but we eventually made it back to the hotel!
On Saturday, after having a very lazy and pastry-rich breakfast we headed to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur. We were so lucky that the weather took a turn for the better and a little bit of sunshine came out. We watched some street performers and buskers on the steps of Sacre Coeur to the back drop of Parisian rooftops.
That evening, we headed to The Lido, one of Paris’ most famous cabaret shows based on the Champs-Elysees. The show didn’t disappoint, a band of 70 dancers took the stage including the lead dancer who sings you through the set in multiple languages, the famous Bluebell Girls, two ice skaters, the Lido Boy dancers and even a horse (who didn’t get enough stage time in my option). But, be prepared to queue outside before the show starts, even if you have pre-booked seats, as they only seem to seat people about 10 at a time so you could be waiting some time.
For our final morning, we headed straight to the Eiffel Tower. The snow clouds had gathered again so we didn’t go up to the top as we feared the freezing temperatures might just be the end of us. But we did spend a lot of time taking crazy tourist pictures like this one:
After a quick walk down to the Ecole Militaire it was time to head back to Gare du Nord to catch our Eurostar to London. Although the weekend went by too quickly, and I feel like I didn’t eat quite enough macaroons, we had a fantastic time.
I’ll just have to bid Paris adieu for now, but I’m watching the Eurostar website like a hawk for any spring sales…