Crazy story: my friend actually won us this trip to Paris through an instagram contest. My flight and hers were both paid for and we were given a voucher for a one night hotel stay. It didn’t cover the entire trip, but it definitely helped. We decided George should come too and made a weekend of it. I was super excited for the opportunity to see Paris in a more relaxed light, rather than rushing around to see tourist attractions. Read on to see how we spent our weekend!
Hotel Bienvenue | We loved our stay at this hotel, even if it started out a bit rocky because of our super late check-in. All the rooms are lovely and the entire hotel has kind of a Wes Anderson vibe. I like the pink rooms best, but the view from our room on the top floor was also pretty cool. This company has a couple other well priced hotels too, like Hotel Panache and Hotel Paradis, so definitely check them out for some other options.
DAY 1: BREAKFAST
BOL Porridge Bar | While I might not normally choose porridge for breakfast while on holiday, this little place was really nice and within walking distance of our hotel. Porridge bars have become more of a trendy thing across Europe so I’m glad we finally gave one a try. Absolutely recommend!
After breakfast, we set out for the city center–just taking photos and enjoying the amazing architecture of Paris. We had no agenda and were in no rush, so it was a thoroughly relaxed day overall.
Palais Royal | This 17th century palace and gardens made for a lovely place to explore on a brisk January morning and is where many an instagram photo is taken. The art installations are quite nice too.
Louvre | A more obvious touristy stop, but as much as I love the Louvre, we didn’t pay to go in this time. We just walked over because we were nearby and hung out in the courtyard.
Jardin des Tuileries | Another classic French garden. On a sunny day, this is the perfect place to sit and people watch with some coffee or hot chocolate.
Angelina | Speaking of hot chocolate, Angelina’s is the best in Paris and their original Rue de Rivoli location is right outside the Tuileries gardens. We were in need of an energy boost after walking all morning, so we got some takeaway cups to bring out to the garden. One cup is more than enough to share between two people–it’s very rich!
CARBÓN | We made lunch reservations at CARBÓN knowing that we wanted to spend our afternoon in Le Marais or the Jewish quarter. The food and atmosphere were both amazing, so I was very happy with our choice. It is quite nice and fairly expensive though, just for the record. We like to eat well on holiday, but I think we make up for it by not paying to see many tourist attractions.
After a good long break for lunch, we did a bit of shopping in the medieval alleys of Le Marais and I (mostly) put the camera away because it is a crazy busy maze of streets. But I’ll tell you some of the places we visited if you’re interested.
Hippy Market | This was such a cool vintage shop with really good prices! My friend bought a couple faux fur coats while George and I just had fun rummaging around.
Merci | Just down the road from CARBÓN, this concept store is fun to browse and almost like visiting an art gallery. It can be pretty expensive, but it’s still worth a look.
Boot Café | Not sure why this is called Cordonnerie, but it is a cute spot for coffee. I wouldn’t plan on getting a seat though–it is pretty much always busy.
We ended the evening with some of the district’s famous falafel from Mi-Va-Mi that we had been looking forward to all afternoon. I can’t say which is the best falafel as this was my first time in the Jewish quarter, but Mi-Va-Mi would be pretty tough to beat!
On Sunday, we only had half a day to spend in the city as our flight back to London was pretty early in the afternoon. We decided to spend the morning in Montmartre and took an Uber from our hotel to save time. I used to think the Paris metro was great, but we had so many issues when we first arrived that we eventually gave up. Uber is pretty cheap in Paris anyway, as long as it’s not peak hours.
Sacré-Cœur | While it’s free to enter the basilica, we were dissuaded by the massive line to get in. Still, at the highest point in the city, the view from the top is beautiful! We had the uber drop us off right outside, so we wouldn’t have to walk uphill.
La Maison Rose | We really only stopped here for the photos. The café was closed anyway, though it looks really charming inside. I’m sure it would be a great place to come for tea and cakes!
Le Consulat | After walking around the art market at Place du Tertre, we made our way back to this iconic café for a quick lunch and some coffee before our flight. It wasn’t the greatest food ever, but the service was surprisingly good considering Paris is known for their rude waiters. Plus, we couldn’t come to Paris and not sit outside a café in these traditional bistro chairs!
I feel so thankful to have experienced a more relaxed side of Paris and would happily go again if it meant sitting in cafés, drinking wine and/or coffee while people watching. As long as I don’t have to wait in line to climb the Eiffel Tower, I’m all in.