Top 10 Paris Favourites

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The French capital has to be one of my favourite places. It's just so beautiful, inspiring and completely walkable ~ I defy anyone not to fall under the spell of Paris!

Having studied French at University and lived in the country for a while myself, I'm something of a Francophile, and with the Eurostar connection from London being so quick and convenient, there's really no reason not to visit more often ~ heck, I even visited for the day last October!

I've done a sweep of my photo archives and put together a list of some of my favourite spots ~ those places I always love to go back to and would recommend to anyone wanting to make the most of even a short stay in the city.

1. Montmartre
Inspiringly bohemian, I love to walk the leafy winding streets leading up to the iconic domes of the Sacre Coeur where you can get an amazing view out over the city. Check out the artists working in the Place du Tertre and spend a while listening to musicians serenading visitors to the church.

2. The Green Chairs
I simply adore the free-for-everyone chairs you find dotted around the parks in Paris, especially in the Tuilerie Gardens and the Jardin de Luxembourg. There's just something so romantic about them! Stop and rest a while and enjoy watching the world go by...

3. Musee D'Orsay
One of my favourite Paris museums, not just for the art works (lots of Impressionism and a fantastic Art Nouveau gallery), but for the building. Orsay was a former Beaux-Arts railway station, built between 1898 and 1900, and re-opened as an art gallery in 1986. The space is just gorgeous inside, with the enormous guilded station clock still in place in the huge hall. There are two further clocks on the side of the building, facing the Seine. Behind one of them now is a delightful cafe, just perfect for afternoon tea!

4. Pont Alexandre III
This is my favourite bridge in Paris. I love the Art Nouveau lamps, the guilded cherubs, nymphs and horses. It's just so majestic! It's the gateway to the Eiffel Tower so it always feels special to me crossing this bridge...

5. Les Bouquinistes
There's something undescribably romantic about the bookstalls you find along the banks of the Seine. Rummage through and you'll find all kinds of delights!

6. The Banks of the Seine
Something I love about Paris, that you don't find in London, is how close you can get to the river. In many places you can sit with your legs dangling over the wall. It's a great place to share a picnic lunch on a sunny day or to stop and read a while.

7. Pont Neuf
Another favourite, this is the oldest bridge in Paris with its iconic curved seating. It's fascinated me ever since I saw the 1991 film Les Amants du Pont Neuf, staring Juliette Binoche. It's a bitter sweet love story about two vagrants living on the bridge while it is closed for repairs. There's an amazing scene where Binoche waterskis down the seine as fireworks go off all over the city. It's totally bonkers, but worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

8. Cafe Society
You can't visit Paris and not notice or experience the pavement cafes. Everywhere you go you will see people sitting outside enjoying a drink and a few nibbles. People-watching is a Parisian way of life ~ and if you can't beat 'em, you've just got to join in, haven't you?!

9. Picasso Museum
This glorious exhibition space, which has been recently rennovated and reopened in late 2014, is well worth a visit, for the building if not for the wonderful collection of art it contains. The lighting is perfect for displaying some of Picasso's most important works. There's the added bonus of it being in the Marais district, where you'll find a large number of beautiful old mansion houses and small cobbled streets to wander though.

10. Sunset from the Eiffel Tower
It's the iconic symbol of France and something you just have to see. On our recent visit we took the lift to the top ~ something we'd never done before. We planned our visit in the same way as we had when we visited the Shard in London ~ late afternoon tickets so we got to see the views in daylight and then we were able to stay and watch the sunset, seeing the city begin to light up. If it's a chilly day you'd want to wrap up very warmly before going up as the very top is open-air.

So those are my top picks for this lovely city, I hope you enjoyed them.

Have you spent much time in Paris? What are you favourite things to do there? 
Share your ideas in the comments below and let's build up a guide!


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