So, last week I turned 38. Wow how time flies. Of course celebrating a birthday is a great excuse for a trip abroad. Last birthday it was Venice but this time I wanted to go to the city that's been on my wishlist for ages - Paris. I've long dreamed of visiting and since it is just a two-hour Eurostar ride from London I figured why not.
So on the Thursday we set off for our own Parisian adventure. Departing from London St Pancras we travelled by train to Gare du Nord. It was my first time travelling on the Eurostar and I must admit I enjoyed the journey. Quick, clean modern trains and super quick travelling through customs. When we arrived in Paris we walked from the station to our hotel which was only five minutes away, dumped our bags and headed out for the night. Cocktails and a bite to eat were on the menu. We were staying in the 10th Arrondissement which is chock full of bars and restaurants. With two full days of sightseeing to follow, we got some food and drink and then headed back to the hotel for the night.
Day 1 - Champs Elysees, Sephora and The Louvre
Our first full day started with a cappuccino and croissant in a lovely little cafe a stone's throw from our hotel. I wake up early but my boyfriend isn't usually awake before 9. Luckily, Paris is a city that is bustling from early to late. So, even heading out at 8am I found loads of cafes and shops open. Can you believe that Sephora opens at 7am in Paris?
After a spot of breakfast I headed back to the hotel to drag my boyfriend out of bed, shower and get dressed for the day. First on my itinerary was a spot of vintage shopping at the Kilo Shop. In all my pre-trip research this store came highly recommended and it didn't disappoint. Rails and rails of high quality vintage clothing, shoes, bags and hats. Reasonably priced the shop spanned multiple floors. I love a good kilo sale so I knew this would be right up my street. I came away with a new dress and a faux leather skirt in the perfect length - not too short and not too long.
Next up, we walked to The Louvre. This was one of those places that I just had to see. It sounds a little odd but I've wanted to see the outside of The Louvre ever since watching Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. Told yo my reason was a bit odd. It is bigger than I expected and I certainly didn't expect it to be attached to a shopping complex but it definitely was a magnificent sight and definitely worth seeing. I'd planned to go inside and see the Mona Lisa but the queue was extensive. I'd definitely advise pre-booking if you'd like to see the art but even viewing the structure itself is an experience in itself.
The Pont des Arts is very close to The Louvre so we stopped by and I have to say it was disappointing. They've removed most the padlocks so now it is just a bridge. It's one saving grace is that it lies on The Seine with great views of Paris.
A trip to Paris isn't complete without a trip to the Champs Elysees so of course we headed there next. Strolling down the Champs Elysees you can't help but notice the sheer amount of shops. Somehow, the vision in my head was different to the actual reality. It wasn't disappointing just different. After a look at the Arc de Triomphe which is situated at the end of the Champs Elysees we headed back down so I could head to Sephora. As soon as I knew I was visiting Paris I added Sephora to the itinerary. I'm a huge beauty lover and Sephora is a beauty lover's paradise. The thing is Paris is very expensive and Sephora's prices were more than buying the brands online but I did pick up some amazing Sephora branded hair products (review to follow) and made a note of my desired Huda Beauty purchases to order online. I spent around 45 minutes in Sephora, luckily I have a very patient boyfriend.
Fully worn out from our day strolling through the city we headed back to the hotel, changed our clothes and popped out for some amazing Mexican tacos. The place we found had both Vegan and non-Vegan options. It's called Bocamexa it's part of a chain and you can find them all over the city. I can highly recommend it.
Day 2 - Montmartre and Sacre Coeur
We started day 2 with a trip to the Parisian flea markets which can be found at Saint-Ouen. They are expansive and there's something there for pretty much every budget. They sell everything from little trinkets, to art to furniture and everything in between. The French love flea markets and they were full of locals as well as tourists.
Another shopping destination that was on my list was the APC Surplus Store. The iconic French brand has a store that sells items at a vastly reduced rate. But 60 euros for a t-shirt was a little out of my price range.
Sacre Coeur and Montmartre are amazing places to visit. The Sacre Coeur is a feat of extraordinary architecture and has some of the best views of Paris but boy was I exhausted when I got to the top. There are a massive 300 steps to get to the top of the Sacre Coeur, I promise it's worth it though.
Montmartre is beautiful, picturesque and perfect for capturing that beautiful Instagram-worthy shot, unfortunately for us it rained for most of our time there. But I did manage to pop into Fragonard and pick up a bottle of their famous fragrances. The lady who served me was delightfully Parisian but spoke perfect English. I was amazed by her perfect dress sense and she was super helpful. I left a happy shopper with a dreamy fragrance.
For our final evening we went out for cocktails for a very posh dinner. Perfect food, perfect company, perfectly romantic birthday dinner.
Overall, I loved my time In Paris and will definitely be returning to see the sights I missed. I didn't manage to squeeze in a visit to the Eiffel Tower for example.
See below for everywhere I visited, along with the addresses.
- Kilo Shop, 125 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
- The Louvre, Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
- Pont des Arts, 75006 Paris, France
- Champs-Élysées, 8th arrondissement of Paris
- Arc de Triomphe, Place Charles de Gaulle, 75008 Paris, France
- Sephora, 70-72 Av. des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France
- Bocamexa, 84 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, 75010 Paris, France
- Paris Flea Market, 99 Allée des Rosiers, 93400 Saint-Ouen, France
- A.P.C Surplus, 20 Rue André del Sarte, 75018 Paris, France
- Sacre Coeur, 35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
- Montmartre, 18th arrondissement
- Fragonard, 51 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris, France