Every weekend during August was filled with a visit from a different friend from home, which I loved.
I’ve gotten used now to giving a condensed tour of the city, and showing the highlights in one weekend – which has meant that everyone staying with me has got to see (what I think of as…) the best tourist bits of Paris. And everything (apart from the food) is free!
Pretty much everyone that has visited arrived on a Friday night. Here’s where I suggest you start:
- Frenchie Bar a Vins for dinner (I’ve written a blog post on this already: https://anglaiseenparis.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/frenchie-bar-a-vins/)
- Then the bar at the top of the Tour Montparnasse for drinks. It’s pricey here, but worth a visit just for the view – one drink costs the same as it does to get up on to the observation level, without the drink. And the view is pretty much the same, absolutely spectacular. Why wouldn’t you go for the drink? (http://www.tourmontparnasse56.com/fr/infos-touristiques/restaurant-avec-vue-panoramique-sur-paris/)
- Then, if you have any energy left, head over to the Trocadero to see the Eiffel Tower lit up. On the hour every hour for 5 minutes it sparkles, and this is the absolute best view of the La Tour in the city.
Assuming you didn’t have too many cocktails on Friday night, Saturday involves quite a bit of walking…
I live in the 16th arrondissement, pretty close to the Arc du Triomphe, so my perfect weekend starts there, but you could follow this same route using the metro and less walking!
- Start at the top of the Champs-Élysées so you can see the Arc du Triomphe. I’d suggest arriving before 10, when the boulevard is still quite quiet. It gets absolutely packed with tourists, and isn’t the best place for shopping, so it’s not worth staying here!
- Walk all the way down, keep walking until you reach Place de la Concorde a huge and impressive public square at the end of the C-E (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Place_de_la_Concorde).
- From Place de la Concorde, walk through the Tuileries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuileries_Garden). A gorgeous garden that will make you forget you’re in the middle of a city.
- Once you’re about halfway through walking through the garden, turn left onto Rue de Rivoli. You should be about ready for elevenses at this point, and Angelina’s is the perfect place for it (https://anglaiseenparis.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/angelinas/).
- After a beautiful cake, walk over to the Louvre to see the glass pyramid and the incredible building (http://www.louvre.fr). The Louvre is so huge, it would take a full day to do it justice, so I haven’t been taking people when they come just for the weekend, but I think it’s still nice to see!
- Either walk or take the metro over to Notre Dame, and take some time to walk around the cathedral. It’s stunning (https://anglaiseenparis.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/notre-dame/)
- From there walk over to the Île Saint-Louis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Île_Saint-Louis). The small island is full of Parisian cafes and charming boutiques, you could spend an hour or so here wandering. And if you’re still peckish after Angelina’s, I’d suggest going for galettes at Au Lys d’Argent – a tiny little place selling home made galettes or French buckwheat pancakes filled with whatever you like (chicken with herbs and mushrooms is my favourite).
- After lunch head over to Berthillon for an amazing ice cream (the best I’ve ever tasted!) – (http://www.berthillon.fr).
- I’ve been heading home or going shopping for a little bit after this for a break (or a food nap!) – but you could also head over to see the Hôtel de Ville (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hôtel_de_Ville,_Paris) and walk around Le Marais.
- For dinner head over to Montmartre, it’s a beautiful part of the city and filled with lots of traditional cafes and restaurants. The best I’ve found is Relais Gascon (http://www.lerelaisgascon.fr). It’s relatively cheap, the portions are huge, and family run – you’ll probably also get to meet the owner. Everything tastes rustic and homemade, and the cassoulet I had there was so so amazing.
- After dinner, if you have the energy, make the walk up to see the Sacré-Couer (http://www.sacre-coeur-montmartre.com/english/) a beautiful cathedral (basilica?), with some of the best views of the city – I think it might even be the highest natural point in Paris! I wrote a blog about Montmartre here: https://anglaiseenparis.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/montmartre/.
- After this – there are lots of bars around Montmartre and in Pigalle. Take your pick!
A huge list, but you’ll find it’s just enough for a couple of days.
Sunday you could just spend getting lost – I’ve found that wandering around has been the best way to see the city, and it’s how I’ve found some of my favourite places here.
Enjoy and bonne courage!