That one city I’ll never get tired of. It’s one of my favorite cities because of the endless sightseeing possibilities. I guarantee you; no two Paris trips are the same. My family landed in London and within one week, we were on the Eurostar heading to tour the city of love. I really prefer taking the train rather than flying because it’s only a 2.5 hours train ride and you’re allowed much more baggage with no weight limit. I stayed at an Airbnb near Republique located just between the 3rd and 11th arrodissements. I spent 5 days which definitely weren’t enough, but I made my visit worthwhile.
WHERE I WENT
CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES
Known as the residence of French Kings, Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI, visiting this chateau scratched an entire day off the itinerary. Located in Versailles, it took around 1 hour to get there via the RER train. As it was summer, the lines were quite long, and after 1 hour I finally walked through the golden gates of the palace. As someone who isn’t keen on history in general, I didn’t know what to expect. I entered this place without knowing much about French history and left like if I was there myself in the 1600s-1700s. I won’t bore you with the details but from the audio guides to room decor to the videos, the Château really was a wealth of knowledge. My favorite part of the Château was ‘The Gardens.’ It was truly memorable just walking through the trees with the birds chirping and hearing the soft violin music playing in the background.
We know it as Bastille Day, in French, it is ‘le 14 Juillet.’ It’s a national holiday to celebrate the storming of the Bastille (state prison) and the start of the French Revolution. With limited transport and tons of security, the day started with a military parade along the Champs-Elysées. After standing for hours trying to understand why nothing was happening, we soon realized we were on the wrong end of the parade. Apparently, the ceremony took place at Place de la Concorde. My bad 😞. We still saw most of the parade though, but it took almost 2 hours to return to the Airbnb because of cancelled transportation. An absolute headache. In the night, like everyone else in Paris, we went to the Eiffel Tower to see the fireworks. This wasn’t your regular NYE fireworks; this was over the top and we had a clear view (shockingly). It lasted around 35 minutes but we stayed for 15 since we learnt our lesson from that morning. [Lesson: leave before everyone else]
Definitely not a tourist location in Paris, La Défense is a business district with home to more than 1500 companies. No, I didn’t go for a job interview here. Instead, I went to visit the Paris campus of IÈSEG. Since the campus was closed, I spent time admiring the ‘Grande Arche,’ a monument where part of my school is located and at Les Quatre Temps a huge shopping mall in the area.
WHAT I ATE
With more than 44,000 restaurants in Paris, choosing one is always overwhelming. My uncle celebrated his birthday while we were in Paris and no lie, it took me 2 months to book a restaurant. Thanks to ‘The Fork,’ I finally decided on Chez Francois. Located a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower, this restaurant offers classic French cuisine with a nice French atmosphere. Though it was a bit difficult to find as it is hidden beneath the roadway, it was a great choice to celebrate a memorable occasion.
This restaurant was located opposite from our Airbnb. I ate here twice, although I had to pretend it was my first time eating here the second time (long story). The menu is Alsatian cuisine which is basically French and German food incorporated. I tried the seafood platter the first time and it was phenomenal. The second time, I ordered a la carte and everything from beginning to end was delicious.
This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my favorite café/restaurant in Paris. Simple, effective, tasty and straight to the point. That’s La Rotonde. My first time here was in 2017 on my first trip to Paris. Now, every time I visit, no ifs or buts, I must eat here. In the 1900s, it was frequented by many artists and writers including Pablo Picasso. There is so much history in this place and their ambiance speaks for itself. You literally experience Paris in a café and their escargots are to die for.
I do not remember the name/location but special mention to this restaurant where we paid €96 for two whole roasted chickens 😳
Shae Tip: Book restaurants in Paris using ‘The Fork‘ for discounts
my plans next visit
DINE AT EIFFEL TOWER
44,000+ restaurants and only one I’m willing to spend €150+ on dinner in Paris. Le Jules Verne, located on the 2nd floor of the Eiffel Tower is on the bucket list. Maybe it might be a proposal dinner, who knows? (future husband, I hope you’re reading this 😉) I just know that one day I’ll get this unforgettable dining experience.
CHÂTEAU DE FONTAINEBLEAU
Another world heritage site and the royal residence of many French Monarchs, Château de Fontainebleau is one of the largest castles in France. This has been on my bucket list for quite some time, but I favored going to Versailles instead.
Yes, we know it’s not like Disney World in Florida but the kid in me really wants to enjoy the European version of Disney. It’s also less expensive and has less people so that’s a win-win for me.
If you could spend a summer in Paris, what would you do? Reply in the comments section below!