New Year in Paris
Paris, ‘La Ville Lumière’ or ‘City of Lights’ is stunning all year round, but at Christmas it truly is magical. We spent 3 nights there on our way back from Ireland to Abu Dhabi. Flying via Paris was actually far cheaper than flying direct from Dublin to Abu Dhabi so we decided to make a mini-break out of it and we’re so glad we did.
I had been to Paris a few times before, as a teenager and in college and, truth be told, I didn’t fully appreciate it until this visit. Fun fact: the last time Danny and I were in Paris together, he was 15, I was 14 and we were on a school trip. We started going out two years later.
I’m going to break down where we stayed, what we did/saw and provide some tips if you’re planning a trip to the ‘City of Love’ any time soon.
Where We Stayed
We booked our accommodation quite late and, as you can imagine, some of the prices in Paris for that time of year were extortionate! We did come across Hotel DeVillas on booking.com and found it was reasonably priced. It was basic but very comfortable and right beside a metro station, so getting around the city was really easy. I’d always recommend booking somewhere within walking distance of a metro, especially if like us, you’re travelling with a lot of luggage. Hotel DeVillas is less than two minutes from the Saint Marcel metro stop and perfect for a few days of exploring the city.
What We Did
I feel like I could go to Paris ever year and never end up doing the same thing. That’s one of the things I love most about the city, and the food too of course! We managed to squeeze quite a lot into our three days. Some of the highlights were; visiting Notre Dame, walking the Champs–Élysées, seeing the Arc De Triomphe, and Place de la Concorde with it’s beautiful ferris wheel. The weather wasn’t great so we didn’t bother taking a trip on the ferris wheel… still nice to see though.
I always love getting lost in a city’s streets and discovering quaint cafés and bistros. I had read about a rooftop bar called ‘Le Perchoir’ (the Perch) and we decided to give it a go. It was easy to find the location on Google Maps, but once we arrived, there was only a mall in it’s place. I ended up asking a security guard if he knew where the bar was…turns out it was on the top floor of the mall and not signposted at all! It actually felt quite exclusive as we entered. The views were incredible and the vibe was very chilled out and a little alternative. I did notice that it was mostly French people there and very few tourists, which was nice. This bar is 100% worth a visit if you’re in Paris. This was the view…
What trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower? Every night, on the hour, the Eiffel Tower lights up and sparkles for five minutes…it’s breathtakingly beautiful and just like something from a fairytale. We randomly bought a bottle of champagne from a guy on the street (he gave us plastic cups too), sat on a bench and enjoyed the mesmerising lights of the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. It was one of the best nights ever!
Another MUST DO in Paris is a dinner cruise on the Seine. Danny had booked this as part of my Christmas present and it was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had! We’ve decided that we want to do it again next time we go to Paris. The boat’s exterior was glass so that you could see all of the famous monuments along the river. We were served a delicious three course meal with exquisite wine and the live music on board was amazing! I really can’t recommend this cruise enough, it was the highlight of our stay in Paris!
Next stop was Montmartre and Le Sacré Cœur. I truly love Montmartre, with all the artists, souvenir shops, cafés, cobble-stoned streets and bustling plazas. This area of Paris should be on the top of your list when visiting the city. Be warned though, the metro stop nearest Le Sacré Cœur, ‘Abbesses’, entails a steep and what seems like never-ending set of steps to exit the metro station. Not recommended if travelling with small children, or in heels! The buzz around Montmartre is electric and Le Sarcé Cœur is absolutely stunning. The queue to enter Le Sacré Cœur was extremely long and the weather was freezing so we decided to leave it until our next visit and treat ourselves to a ‘chocolat chaud’ and ‘crêpe au chocolat’ instead.
New Year’s Eve
We went to the Eiffel Tower again for New Year’s eve. We had thought that there would be a fireworks display but unfortunately there wasn’t. It did do it’s twinkling though at 12 o’clock and the entire place was buzzing with cheering and kissing following the countdown which was very special. Apparently, the fireworks had been at the Arc de Triomphe. We had been warned against going to the Eiffel Tower because of the huge crowds it attracts on New Years but we went anyway and really enjoyed it.
- Wear comfortable footwear…it’s not worth missing out on what Paris has to offer because your feet are sore or tired.
- Get the Paris metro app, it’s free and gives you the quickest route to your destination, including all line changes and stops…so much easier than reading the metro map all the time.
- Beware of pickpockets, especially on the metro, keep your belongings close.
- Book your excursions in advance. Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, avoid the disappointment of fully-booked trips by being organised.
- Get up early to avoid queues.
- Give the language a go…everyone speaks English so it’s easy to get by but it’s the perfect opportunity to try out your ‘quelques mots de français’.
I haven’t even managed to cover everything we did in this post because I could truly write about Paris all day long but I hope you enjoyed it. Hopefully, many more travel posts to come this year.