14 October 2015

A Weekend In Paris


Have you been following me on Instagram

If so you would have seen one of my latest travel adventures which can be followed using the hashtag: #CPKLdoParis
It was so nice to get away for the weekend, to one of my favourite cities, Paris for the first time with one of my closest friends, Kayleigh (also a contributor at www.chloepierre.com

Can you believe it was her first ever trip to Paris?


I was just as shocked on hearing this but eager to show her just how and why I love Paris in the hopes that she just might too! Needless to say, she fell in love with the beautiful city after initially being super sceptical. No one can resist the irresistible charm of Paris, if ventured well! So I thought that alongside sharing our lush weekend, this post could also serve as a great guide for things to do when in Paris for 24hours or for a weekend, like us. 

Being such a keen & organised travel blogger, I completely mapped out our trip from the moment we got there to the hour of departure in our very own itinerary. The motions were planned out even before we have jumped on the Eurostar from London to Paris. 
By the way, I really would recommend the Eurostar route when travelling to Paris from London. It definitely feels like the most efficient and easiest means of travel. Plus it only takes 2 hours via the train and it's the most friendly means of travel for those new to Paris - I love using Gare Du Nord (where the Eurostar stops from London St Pancras International) as a landmark for meeting friends as well as getting lost. This is crucial when travelling to somewhere new for the first time or with a group of friends as its so easy to lose one another.



As the sole organiser on this trip, my main goal for booking our trip was to pay as little as possible yet maintain some sort of value for money in terms of our travel and accommodation, mainly so we could spend more money on shopping and plus, I really love a good bargain. As you can imagine, I looked at all the usual websites ie. Airbnb, Skyscanner and Travel Supermarket before finding Hotel Hor via Expedia and cross-researching the hotel name for reviews on TripadvisorI was really ecstatic to discover (quite early on in my search) that Hotel Hor was voted as a 4 star hotel with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence too! 

Being central was very important to me, so finding a gem like Hotel Hor for the whole weekend stay, literally, just a 4 minute walk from the left of the Eurostar main entrance was heaven sent. The Hotel Hor Deluxe Sharing room had stunning views (as you can see above) and we were lucky to arrive to a quiet yet clean Hotel Hor whose lovely reception staff (mainly a gentleman named Jan) was on hand to welcome us and also give us local advice on where to go when the evening drew closer. 

Hotel Hor's reception was really clean and spectacularly quiet considering it faces such a busy, central street in Paris, however as you go up to your room (ours' was a street facing room) this disappears ever so slightly and can really noisy when you open the balcony door. By the way, the balcony in question is super small so I really wouldn't recommend standing on this for very long espeically if you have a real fear of heights. I managed to steal a selfie or too, but it really isn't recommended you do so too.


View from our room at Hotel Hor

Kayleigh and I travelled to Paris via Euostar from London at 14.30 on Friday 9th October, arriving the same day in Paris at 18.40 (which was slightly later than the expected 2 hour journey, due to delays) however I chose to get there with time to find our hotel, unpack and still take a leisurely stroll to grab a little something to eat. 



Our first stop for food may have been slightly meditated (I'll confess now), but since going to Paris a number of times last year with the boyfriend, it really is our newly found tradition to grab a burger from the one and only Big Fernand. Whilst Big Fernand is definitely not the cheapest place to grab a meal/ burger in Paris, it is however delicious and worth every cent (of the 18 euros spent). The burger comes up quite big and the fries are cooked so well, its worth the trip. I also cant help loving having a bottle of wine with this meal also! The wine selection here is okay but with it being just one brand stocked here - M Chapoutier - I honestly cant say its the best for variety but it will do! I would recommend however, the Belleruche Rose with your meal, as it's really refreshing and easy to drink. 

It's also worth noting that there are now a few Big Fernand's around Paris however I always love opt in for the Rue Du Poissonniere branch as the guys are really cool, funny and I love the intimate and authentic atmosphere. It's such a great feeling grabbing a table before it gets packed (which is around 8pm, usually) and the staff wont rush you to leave, which is always a plus!

Opting for an early night as we planned to get up really early and take in as many tourist attractions as possible, Kaykleigh and I walked back to the hotel (without a map) opting to use our noses instead and stopped off at a local supermarket to get a few bottles of cheap red wine and a vodka. I wouldn't recommend doing this however as unless you are a big drinker, that is way too much for a weekend in Paris especially when its your plan to dine out for most of your trip. I also think it might break a few hotel rules, however Hotel Hor were so accommodating and didn't say anything...just smiled.

Le Tour D'Eiffel in all it's glory

Our first destination on Saturday morning was to visit the famous Eiffel tower which we ventured to by Metro, on what seemed a very quite morning. When we arrived to the Tour D'Eiffel, it was so picturesque - the tower was standing elegantly against a beautifully blue, crisp sky with not a cloud in sight! We took advantage of this along with the many other tourist and stopped to snap for pics every five minutes or so getting closer and closer to the tower each time. Even getting there so early (the attraction opens from 9.30am) there was huge queues waiting to be taking up the tower however I had other plans and really didn't want to spend such a beautiful day queueing with other eager tourists. I wanted to experience Paris in a way I had never done before! So after taking what seemed like a million snaps in front of the tower, Kayleigh and I walked towards (metro station) after grabbing a quick Croque Monsieur (famous French toasted ham & cheese sandwich) and hot chocolate at a local restaurant. 

Very happy to have made it to the Tour D'Eiffel on such a beautiful day


Heading off on the next leg of our tailored guide was getting back to the centre of Paris to visit some of the most iconic and world renowned museums and buildings. It wasn't until I took the snaps below, did Kayleigh alert me to the double decker train in front of us (as pictured below) She was so excited to board the one going in our direction, however I was even more impressed at how beautiful this train was decorated internally. There was decorative water painting prints, lining the surfaces of the train encouraging each of its passengers to visit Versaille (which I still haven't visited yet) and as you can imagine, we used this to our full advantage and made a mini photoshoot on the train.



It was pretty much a straight train ride from Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame on the train which made our day of site seeing go even quicker, which was such a bonus! We had enough time to queue and walk round the whole of Notre Dame, which is a free attraction. Unfortunately I think it could have been here that I was pick pocketed for my coin purse however luckily, most of my personal and high value belongings were all kept in my over the body box bag (by Lissan Harper).

Posing inside Notre Dame Cathedral

Already at this point, heading towards the exit of Notre Dame, we had done a lot of walking (always bring/ wear comfortable shoes-like I did) but I knew we still had a lot more to see. Walking down the Seine from Notre Dame, we managed to pass aka the 'padlock bridge' which was unfortunately removed of all its love-locks due to it weighing down the bridge, which was a real shame, however the Lourve Museum is literally just across the street crossing and again is free to walk around the courtyard, through the Pavillion square right through to Petit Palais which is a great place to get you ion track to Jardin De Tuilleries and it's lovely little pond cafe in the middle of the park. I love this cafe however as I have a  huge pigeon phobia, it was pretty unbearable for me as they literally fly on your seat, table and also underneath the table. With that completely crushing my sweet Parisian vibe, Kayleigh and I decided to head back to the hotel and freshen up before an sophisticated night, planned by yours truly.

Cocktails at Le Meurice

After freshening up, changing into something a little more evening wear (mainly more black clothing) and applying a little more lipstick, we had a cheap and satisfying meal at Hippo which including a deliciously cooked steak, fries and cocktail for just under 30 euros we headed by metro, again towards the Tuilleries but this time stopping by the gorgeous Le Meurice, which contains a hotel, restaurant and bar and is owned by The Dorchester Collection (one of my favourite hotel groups), for their delicious yet expensive cocktails. 

One cocktail (I chose a classic Bellini) set me back 30euros however the atmosphere was rich, luscious and comfortable. I loved the decor of Bar 228 which almost reminded me of Prohibition scenes of Boardwalk Empire - glossed wooden walks, gold light fittings and brown leather chairs which felt like they were hugging you the whole time! Pure luxury! 

If you are generally feel paranoid/ inadequate in 'posh' or well to do venues, this is probably not the place for you but for me, I love luxury and can't get enough of it. If I actually had enough cash to foot the bill, we would have stayed the night so I could get a little intoxicated in peace and beautiful surroundings however unfortunately, I didn't have enough money and we had a big day ahead of us again, so it was only one drink each on this occasion. 

We opted to catch the train home (again) after slowly walking the stunning road side passageways which were lit with old parisian lighting. If this is not your cup of tea, ensure you have data roaming available and order an Uber which is always better at night as the traffic in Paris has died down slightly by this time.


After missing out on a typical Parisian breakfast on our first official day (full day) in Paris, it felt like my duty to ensure both Kayleigh and I experienced a really beautiful yet typically fancy and iconic Parisian breakfast and although narrowing it down to one restaurant was no easy feat, it was really a no brainer as where one should experience their first Parisian breakfast.  

Another early morning start meant, I took Kayleigh by train (M4 to Chatelet and M1 to Tuileries) to visit the iconic breakfast spot, Angelina on Rue Rivoli (opposite the Jardin de Tuilleries). If you didn't already know, Angelina was founded in 1903 by the Austrian confectioner Antoine Rumpelmayer, which he named after his daughter-in-law. For over a century the tearoom has built a reputation as a place of sophistication and indulgence which can be founded in every nook and corner of the restaurant. As soon as it opened, Angelina became the place to be among the Parisian aristocracy with famous figures such as Proust and Coco Chanel rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in fashion within Angelina's salons. Unfortunately I didn't notice any celebrity faces here however I honestly thought the restaurant was divine. I couldn't stop pinching myself to actually be having breakfast there. Considering it's lavish history, Angelina staff were super friendly with kind and welcoming faces and they served our breakfast almost immediately once we were taken to our seat. 


Keeping things light and simple, we both ordered the Petit-Dejuener, also know as the 'Parisian Breakfast' for 20euros a pop, which I felt was respectable considering how lovely the environment was. The Parisian Breakfast included mini viennoiseries, petit pain (mini baguettes/ rolls), jus de fruits frais (a refreshing orange citrus fruit juice) and the famous chocolat chaud Angelina (hot chocolate).
 I fell head over heels for the croissants which I slabbed over with loads of Angelina's Mountain Honey (sugary delights are a rare occasion for me so I took complete liberty with this one) which is available to purchase in the beautiful store (near the restaurant's entrance) along with many other Angelina tasty delights and crockery.


As many will tell you, the iconic African hot chocolate is a must try for dining (at any time) at Angelina. Rumours say, Le African is composed of three carefully selected kinds of African cocoa from Niger, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire which lends this drinks it's unmistakable flavours, smells, character and beautifully thick texture. I loved Angelina so much, I think I could describe it to you all day however, I know we both don't have enough time for that.

A tip which will serve you well (if you are planning on visiting yourself) is to book/ reserve your table at Angelina at least a few days ahead. I luckily booked our table so we didn't have to wait in the five tier queue which was filling out into the street when we arrived. And if you are wondering, it made us feel super important jumping the queue and being led to our table ahead of everyone else. 


Feeling very generous after our meal, I also purchased some reasonably priced gifts from Angelinas shop just in the foyer of the restaurant. Again decorated to pristine perfection, it is so easily to spend a minimum of 50 euros here. I bought an Angelina tea cup and saucer for 20euros, jar of sweets for 9euros and a 18 piece selection of macaroons for my work colleagues back in London. All of this set me back 50 euros which I can tell you I didn't hesitate to spend.


After this, we headed to Sephora on Champs Elysees (via metro) for a last minute shop and to pick up Sephora branded cosmetics we had been dreaming of the night before and heading back to our hotel to collect our bags and giving just enough time to get through French customs in Gare Du Nord.

Although I didn’t have long there, Paris remains to be one of my favourite European cities and a place of real decadent style, artistry and timeless romance. I think next time I'll spend a week here, alone, just to admire it's beauty in my own silence. That is the ideal.

Also, being a newly recognised queen of travel itineraries, feel free to download my Weekend Guide in Paris here - If you find it useful I'd really love to know! I am also accepting requests for tailor-made itinerary's (made by me) to Paris and other European cities now. Email me here for package details.



If you want to tailor one yourself, I'd definteiyl recommend grabbing a copy of this delightful guide to the city by Wallpaper* (published by Phaidon) - It's my favourite and a travel enthusioasts godsend! Grab 25% off your book order by signing up to the Phaidon website too!

What did you think of my Weekend in Paris post? Are you thinking of visiting Paris this autumn/ winter? If you enjoyed this post, leave me a comment and let me know! 

CP xo


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