The Ultimate Paris Guide

29 December 2016

Ahh Paris, the city of lights, how I love you. This blog post has taken me a while to publish (I returned from my trip over a month ago now - how time flies!), but I wanted to make sure I got it right. To me, like many across the globe, Paris is a very special city - there's just something about it - and I didn't feel that I'd be doing it, or any of you, justice if I rushed through a guide to the city. 

To me, Paris is a familiar city, despite only travelling there twice. It's instantly recognisable architectural icons and its village-like quarters, each with their own individual style and culture, provide an intimacy you'll find nowhere else in the world. Paris is hard to describe, despite being one of the world's major metropolises, the city still comes across as quaint and welcoming. All of the little cafes and bars across the city make you feel at ease - which makes it so easy to see why many, like myself, fall in love with the city on their first trip. It really is worth seeing for yourself at least once in your lifetime. 

The Basics

Currency: Like most European countries, France uses the Euro. At the moment the exchange rate on the Euro is not in our favour, making your trip that little bit more expensive, but it's not so terrible that you shouldn't consider making the journey. At the moment you'll get 1.17 for £1. 

Prices: I won't lie to you, Paris isn't the cheapest of cities, but it also doesn't need to be the most expensive. If you're travelling from London, then you probably won't notice too much of a price difference between the two, but if you're coming from outside of a capital city then be prepared to pay capital city prices for transport and food. 

Temperature: Much like the UK, the temperature varies season by season. You're looking at around 20-25℃ in the summer and as low as 3-5℃ in the winter. 

The view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Getting Around:

I found getting around in Paris to be fairly easy, the metro stations are crazy busy (especially the big ones) and they're a bit like a maze (it once took us half an hour to find the exit...not my finest moment!) but if you're good on the tube and at taking public transport then you'll find getting around super easy. 

As we were only in Paris for three days, we decided to buy a 3 day metro ticket at one of the information desks at the airport. I can't remember the exact price but it was around 28€ which I think is a great price considering how often we used to metro to travel to different parts of the city - having the three day pass also meant that we didn't have to think about how much each trip was costing us, so when we were freezing trying to find out next location, hopping on the metro was an easy decision! 

At night when we were feeling a little lazy, we also used Uber to get to the restaurants and bars that we had planned. Our trips were so cheap compared to the UK, with each trip costing us around 5€, which split between the three of us was basically nothing - I'd definitely recommend if you don't fancy the metro! The Uber drivers out there also seemed to have their cars stocked with sweets and bottled water too, which we definitely appreciated! 

Where to Stay

Hotel Plaza Anthenee
Hotel Plaza Anthenee - The Hotel Plaza Anthenee is the one you've probably seen plastered across multiple Instagram account this past year, and for good reason...the hotel is simply stunning (and oh so insta-worthy). If you're looking to have your Carrie Bradshaw moment in Paris (aren't we all?!) then look no further than the Plaza Anthenee - this place is décor goals and the view is unlike any in the world. 

Phileas Hotel - Whilst in Paris, I stayed at the Phileas Hotel, and it was everything we were looking for during our short trip. This hotel is intimate and friendly, and also located fairly central (near to all of the key landmarks) which was what we were looking for from our hotel. The hotel has a 'boutique hotel' feel about it, and we loved the quirky decor - it was also super affordable (our whole weekend trip only cost us £200 with flights included!). 

Shangri La Hotel, Paris
Shangri La Hotel, Paris - If you're looking for Parisian luxury, then look no further than the Shangri La. It'll set you back a pretty penny but oh my, is it worth it! The whole hotel is decorated to perfection, and no detail has been left untouched. This hotel would be perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway with your love. 

The view from the Trocadero
Top 5 Things to Do

1. Eiffel Tower - If you're travelling to Paris, then you really can't miss a visit to the Tour Eiffel, no matter how many times I visit, I'll always head back to look up at this lovely lady. For the best view of the Eiffel Tower, head to the Trocadero. It's located right opposite the tower, so you get the best view of the whole structure without having to crane your neck to look up. It's also an amazing spot to watch the light show in the evening - get there early though as it can get pretty busy in the evenings. If you want to go when it's fairly quiet, I'd recommend a Sunday morning. It can get pretty misty over the tower in the mornings (especially in the winter) but I think it adds a real romantic feel to your photographs. 

2. Climb the Arc de Triomphe - Instead of climbing the Eiffel Tower (we'd all done it before and hated how rickety it was!), we decided to climb the Arc de Triomphe. Climbing to the top is free if you're under 25 and it's only 9€ if you're over, so fairly cheap and definitely worth it for the view. Be warned though, the lift is always broken, so you'll have to climb the stairs all the way to the top. The view is pretty spectacular - you can see the whole of the Champs Elysee stretched out in front of you, the Eiffel Tower in all of it's glory, and even as far as the Sacre Coeur. 

3. Shopping - If you're a bit of a shopaholic like myself, then you'll love Paris, aka one of the fashion capitals of the world. The best places to hit up if you're feeling spendy are the Galleries Lafayette (the dreamiest department store in all of the land), Place Vendôme for luxury purchases (and to see the famous parisian Chanel door), and the Champs Elysee of course. 

4. Palais Royale - One of my favourite spots in Paris is the Palais Royale. I love it so much, that we even managed to find time to visit twice during our short trip. In the summer its grounds are perfect for a romantic picnic, and in the winter (and any time of the year) the black and white striped podiums are just so much fun!

5. Sacre Coeur - If it's a view you're after then look no further than the Sacre Coeur. The famous steps outside the church are littered with Parisian artists, and the whole place oozes Parisian charm. It's also a great place to pick up souvenirs, as they're a little cheaper that far out of the city centre. 

Where to Eat

I've actually already covered this off in way more detail in this blog post, so I won't go over it again here - I'm very aware that this blog post is already the length of a novel, so don't want to add to it unnecessarily! 

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