Friday, 13 July 2018

Favourite Places In Paris

I already wrote about how I fell in love with Paris' vibe, atmosphere and relentless beauty, but I felt that a city such as this needed more than one blog post dedicated to it. I may have only been there for a few days, but I wanted to share a few of my absolute favourite spots in this glorious city. 

View of Eiffel Tower Isle Aux Cygnes Bir Hakeim
View of the Eiffel Tower from Bir Hakeim
Boulangeries are now my absolute favourite place to eat, which isn't particularly surprising since I love bread and pastries. I've been to France before and always enjoyed the fresh bread available everywhere, but in Paris, it's on another level. Of course, there are good and bad boulangeries, but the quality of food in Paris, in general, is excellent. I particularly recommend Eric Kayser, which has several branches in different arrondissements and they're always great.

Is it shallow for me to say that one of the highlights in Paris was trying on some fancy shoes and not buying them in Galeries Lafayette? I've been eyeing up some Aquazzura flats for ages on Vestiaire Collective but have no idea what size I am, so I jumped at the chance to find out my size so I can save up for them one day. Try as I might, I couldn't convince my Mum to try on the Balenciaga platform crocs but I maintain that she would have looked FAB. 

Galeries Lafayette Ceiling
Galeries Lafayette's incredible ceiling!

Even if I hadn't indulged my shoe-dreams a little, Galeries Lafayette is an experience in itself. The stunning interior that screams opulence and the view of the city from the rooftop bar is one of the best around. We drank overpriced wine and admired the view for an hour or so, and I can confirm that the city is pretty spectacular from up high.

Paris from the roof of Galeries Lafayette
View of Paris from the rooftop bar of Galeries Lafayette

The Isle Aux Cygnes was new to my Mum as well as me, but I had read that it had a great view of the Eiffel Tower without the hustle and bustle of the Trocadero or the foot of the tower itself. We were proved right and found that we loved the little artificial island for itself, not just its views. Parisians use it as a jogging track in the mornings and a little later it's populated by dog walkers; at one end is the stunning Bir Hakeim bridge (that one from Inception!) with the view of the Eiffel Tower, and the other end features Paris' Statue of Liberty. I knew there was one somewhere in the city but was surprised to come across it while on a morning stroll. We wandered down the tree-lined avenue after a few snaps of the Eiffel Tower and I met a particularly great French bulldog.

Statue of Liberty Paris

We stayed in the Latin Quarter as my Mum correctly guessed that it would be right up my street. The roads are lined with bookshops, and thanks to the universities in the area the general demographic is a bit younger and more laid back. The restaurants in the area also cater more to vegetarians (my Mum, not me) and it's an area she loves as well. I loved it as much as I expected, not just for the atmosphere of learning that I miss from my university days, but for the plethora of boulangeries, coffee shops and restaurants that were a bit more chilled out that in other arrondissements.

View of Notre Dame

Notre Dame abuts the Latin Quarter and was top of my list of things to see while in Paris. I've loved the Hunchback of Notre Dame since watching the Disney adaptation as a child and despite being somewhat mentally scarred by the book when I was older. It was amazing to see the cathedral in real life, and I was impressed by how accurate the film was to the details. It's just bloody stunning and if I would definitely go again.

Jardin Des Plantes Paris
Botanical gardens in the Jardin des Plantes

Within or nearby the Latin Quarter are several of the city's best gardens, most notably the Jardin du Luxembourg. While enjoyed wandering around the Luxembourg Gardens in the baking heat on my last day, it was the Jardin des Plantes that really stole my heart. We wandered into the gardens after visiting a sculpture park by the Seine, and navigated our way past the copious amounts of children on school trips to the zoo and Natural History Museum contained within the grounds. We didn't get chance to visit either of those two, but we spent some time wandering the Botanic Gardens and eventually made our way into the giant greenhouse. It's a giant glass building filled with tropical plants, waterfalls and greenery of all kinds; it costs a few euros to go in and is totally worth it, but make sure you make your way up the steps hidden in the cave at the back to get as high as possible in the tiny indoor rainforest.

Jardin Des Plantes Paris greenhouse


Jardin Des Plantes Paris greenhouse

Paris completely stole my heart and I can't wait to go back, but these were easily my favourite places in the city. There's so much more to experience and discover in this city, but if you're heading there sometime soon these may be a good place to start!


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