We headed out in the morning for a little exploring of Paris. We took the metro (which was cheap, efficient and far better than our experience of the London Underground) into the main tourist area and went across the famous bridges, walking along the tree-lined streets to stop the famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower.
After a lot of wandering and some silly photos we decided to go the Laudree store on the Champs Elysees. This was my first macaron and it was a good one although it was difficult to choose the flavour out of all the options.
I eventually decided on a Raspberry Rose one. We took our macarons to go and then found a cute little cafe on a side street off the Champs Elysees to have a spot of lunch (well if Crepes can count as lunch). The cafe was called Cafe Victoria – I already knew it was going to be good because it had my sister’s name in it. Again it had very traditional French decor with deep red furnishings.
Over lunch we had a little look at the map and decided what to do the rest of the day – next up was Notre Dame.
We then walked to the Love Lock Bridge. Some of the bridge was sectioned off because it was getting too heavy and they did not want additional locks to be added there.
We walked through the Louvre area and the surrounding gardens and parks, which was actually one of my favourite parts of the trip. The sun had come out at this point which was wonderful for March.
We then went to The Montparnasse Tower for 360 degree views, which was pretty convenient as it was near our hotel and it was recommended by a friend of mine who had been to Paris a few months before on a school Politics Trip. The offered a reduced price for students, there was no queuing, we went up in a quick lift and the view was amazing. In my opinion (controversial one maybe) I actually preferred the Monparnasse Tower to the Eiffel tower for a few reasons:
- The view was through glass so it was not cold or windy
- No queuing
- Cheaper than Eiffel Tower (only €12 each)
- Not as many tourists (there were probably only 30 other people up there when we went)
- You get to see the Eiffel Tower in your view
- Better information about what you are looking at
- Going up in the lift was painless unlike the Eiffel Tower where there was a lot of queuing and not enough lifts for the volume of people.
- No need to book in advance unlike Eiffel Tower (allows you to be more flexible and will not lose money if plans change)
We went right at the end of March at the beginning of the Easter Holidays in the UK, so if the Eiffel Tower was packed then I dread to think what it would be like in the summer. Yes, the Eiffel Tower is so famous, but I would say if you are only in Paris for between a day or a long weekend, opt for the Montparnasse Tower because you’ll get to see the Eiffel Tower from the top and from ground level and it will give you much more time for other activities.
We were already near to our hotel so we headed back, got changed and dumped off our bags and headed out to dinner. After dinner we went to a Au Metro bar for a couple of cocktails and got talking to a team of Australian sportswomen who were telling us all about their travels and swapping stories. They are quite relaxed about drinking there – not asking for our ID when we had only just turned 18. The restaurant we went to was a lovely Italian – Paris had a great variety of cuisines which was ideal!