I’m the type of person who genuinely lives for the weekend. The feeling of clocking out of work on Fridays never gets old. But flying out on a Friday is even better.
I was off for two weeks over Christmas and spent most of my time catching up with family, celebrating NY with friends, and just resting. But the best part of my holiday was taking a quick trip to Paris for a few days with my other half (yes, I got married in December 2019), right before going back to work the following Monday. We left on Friday morning and we were back at home by Sunday night. The plane ride felt like 10 minutes and it made me realise just how easy it is to get away.
FINDING FLIGHTS & DEALS
We booked the weekend trip before Xmas so it was a couple of weeks in advance. By checking sites like lastminute.com – you can find city breaks with deals including flights and hotels. We found a hotel that was close to the city centre, only a 15 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. This was very convenient as we didn’t want to take taxis everywhere. The deal also included transfers to and from the airport (which was an hour journey by car).
To plan for things to do in the city, I downloaded an app called GetYourGuide. This app is everything. Just type in the location name and you’ll be able to book things to do in advance. This is something I did for my own peace of mind. I hate the feeling of not knowing what to do or feeling overwhelmed, let alone in a different country! It’s even a great app to find things you never thought of doing.
Once you pay for the activities in your chosen country, you’ll receive your ticket straight away which you can just save into your phone’s wallet. Done. Information on the meeting point (if it’s a tour) is all on there.
SCOOTERS & CHILL
By the time we reached the hotel, we couldn’t check in for another 3 hours as we were too early. But I’m always down for some munch. So we used this time to eat at a Lebanese restaurant nearby (6/10 tbh but it was the closest halal spot we can find) and decided to go for a walk to view The Iron Lady (Eiffel Tower) for the first time.
I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion, but Paris during the day isn’t as beautiful as it seems. Let’s just say that the cute pictures and videos we see on the Internet sold dreams. But it looked gorgeous once the sun set. Also, there’s now a bunch of gates and security points around the Tower, so most of the green space right beside it was blocked off. Although it was done for security measures, it kind of ruined the views.
But of course, a quick photoshoot whilst eating crepes and killing a few hours. You’ll find fresh crepes and churros EVERYWHERE.
As we were staying only a 15 minute walk away from The Eiffel Tower, we made sure that we didn’t spend a lot of money getting around the city. We hopped on electric scooters everywhere. We did a lot of walking, but we always jumped on scooters whenever we found available ones.
There are so many electric scooter ports all around Paris. On the first night, we spent hours scootering (is that a word?) around the city, not knowing where we were going. We just explored, passing The Eiffel Tower, riding through The Avenue des Champs-Élysées down to the Arc de Triomphe, then somehow ended up at The Louvre.
The weather was just like London – not too cold in the moment, but once you’re out for a while, especially when you’re on an electric scooter that can go at 15mph…. you start to feel the cold. It was absolutely amazing though. The freedom! We got to scoot around a foreign city and get lost for a few hours. That was one of my favourite moments.
And since I’m such a big kid, I couldn’t help but follow the lights of the ferris wheel in the city. There was a cute winter fun fair so we were hanging out there for a while to eat some more churros and jump on bumper cars about 5 times.
THE LOUVRE MUSEUM
Of course, a trip to Paris meant a visit to the famous Louvre museum. It has approximately 38,000 objects exhibited over 72,735 square meters. It was massive, I’ve never seen anything like it. I was more interested in how it was structured. The exterior is beautiful and the museum is located down the escalators, where you will find all sorts of sections: Egyptian Antiquities, Eastern Antiquities, Greek and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculptures, Decorative Art, Paintings and Prints and Drawing.
Fun Fact: If you spent 30 seconds looking at each piece at the museum, you’d be there for over 100 days.
Nobody had time for all that. We were there for 3 hours. We only wanted to see the famous Mona Lisa Painting and walk through the Islamic Arts section. I’ve been to many museums, I kind of knew what to expect in the Greek and Roman areas.
Once we left, our legs were shattered. Here’s an encounter we had with a taxi driver who tried it.
Driver: Where are you going?
Me: *insert hotel name and area*
Driver: For how many people?
Driver: Okay that will be €15 euros each. So €30 back to the hotel
Me: LOL! So you’re charging us individually instead of just using your meter? Bye *closes door*
An Uber cost us about €5. My legs were gone and so were my brain cells for even thinking about catching a taxi.
THE EIFFEL TOWER TOUR
The following morning, we were up nice and early for a tour up The Eiffel Tower. We were running late whilst eating breakfast so we ended up jumping on scooters again for a quick 15 min ride to the meeting point. The scooters are just lit and we jumped on them at every opportunity, I don’t know if you can tell.
We had a pretty interesting tour guide who told us a lot about the history. The material of the tower expands during the summer months because of the heat and shrinks during the winter – with an 18cm difference in height.
When it was first built in 1889, it was not a huge success. People thought it looked weird and strange. The government branded it as an “ugly and useless” tower. Back in those days, tall structures were not a thing so a lot of people were genuinely scared to go near them.
Because of this, the engineer looked for ways to improve the tower before it was going to be dismantled. So he came up with an idea: To put an antenna on the top, which would be used for military purposes and to intersect messages during the wars. French scientists would eventually go to the top of the tower as well, to use it for studying meteorology and communications, etc. So technically, it was the use of the antenna at the top of the Tower that saved it and made it the famous landmark in Paris today.
The colour of the tower also changed over the years. It used to be red, then yellowish-brown then brownish orange. So as you can imagine, The Eiffel Tower used to be a huge red metallic tower standing in the middle of Paris that no one cared for. Now, around 6.8 million people visit the Eiffel Tower each year. There are a lot more antennas at the top of the tower which is used to listen to the radio and watch TV across the city.
Enough about the history, let’s move on to what truly matters when you’re on The Eiffel Tower in 2020:
Taking selfies. xD
There was also a glass floor that wasn’t too high in my opinion. After experiencing the glass floor on the CN Tower in Toronto, this one doesn’t even come close.
After much-needed time to soak up the views of the city and get as many photos as possible, we walked down the stairs instead of taking the lift.
CRUISING DOWN THE RIVER SEINE
Another activity that we booked was an hour-long evening cruise on the Seine River, where there are over 30 bridges and a chance to see loads of monuments along the way. It was lovely to see Paris from a different perspective. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, Paris looks a lot better at night. So to see the Eiffel Tower from the river was pretty beautiful.
And that’s pretty much what we got up to in Paris for the weekend. I didn’t forget about the Notre Dame – we did end up going there but due to the fire, it wasn’t open for the public and we didn’t manage to get decent pictures from the outside.
Would I go back to Paris? Probably not. I think you can pretty much get a feel of the city in a couple of days. I would love to go to the South of France one day but now that we’re on lockdown, who knows when we’ll be free.