Yesterday we were in Brussels sampling their world famous chocolate. Today we head out for Paris to sample the delights of this chic modern city. We have actually visited Paris before, but this time we are concentrating on the area in and around the main railway station.
Paris is the French capital and considered one of the most elegant and sophisticated of all French cities. Known as being a high fashion capital, you certainly wouldn’t be short of gorgeous clothes to choose from!
Paris is associated with many things, but is above all, a highly romantic city and perfect for couples who want to get away from it all and spend a weekend relaxing here. Situated on the River Seine in the North of France, Paris has a typical Oceanic climate.
Summers here reach a temperature of a warm but comfortable 25°C, with the best time to visit Paris being between May and September. Winters here get as low as 6°C, so you would need to bring extra layers with you.
Travelling to Paris By Rail
Rail travel to Paris from Brussels takes around 1:22hrs on the Eurostar and costs around £40. Your train will arrive in Paris Nord, which is the other main train station apart from the station at the Charles de Gaulle Airport. The station lies in the North of Paris near the Seine is open from 04:30 to 01:00 daily.
If you are destination hopping as many travellers do, don’t forget that you can purchase an InterRail Pass which allows you unlimited train travel in 22 days and means you can tour around Europe in a very cost effective way.
Where to Stay in Paris
Paris certainly isn’t short of good hotels, and there are plenty in the Gare du Nord region which is where the train station is. Hotels here are varied and offer reasonable rates. The Hotel du Bordeaux offers rooms from just €60 a night or £53.
The Nouvel Hotel Paris 18 also offers rooms from £53 a night and is located within a mile of the Gare du Nord train station.
Things to Do Paris
Paris has many eye-popping places to visit, and the Gothic masterpiece Cathédrale Notre-Dame is no exception. This beautiful French cathedral was built between 1163 and 1334 and damaged during the French Revolution. Since then the cathedral has been stunningly reconstructed including the twin towers and the rose window.
You can climb the north and south towers to get a better view of the architecture. When you have had enough exploring this magnificent masterpiece, hop over the road to Berthillon for the most delicious ice-cream you will ever try. This traditional ice cream shop was built in 1954 and uses just natural ingredients with plenty of fresh cream.
If you love art, especially Impressionism, then you will love the Musee d’Orsay which is packed full of works by noted Impressionist artists such as Coubert and Millet. The Musee de l’Orangerie houses Monet masterpieces and displays eight tapestry-sized Nymphéas (water lillies) paintings.
Everyone knows the Moulin Rouge (the film that is!) but here in Paris, you can actually visit the Moulin Rouge, complete with authentic windmill. The cabaret show is not seedy as some would think. With superb dancing and extravagant costumes, each and every show is perfectly balanced and highly enjoyable.
For something completely different, consider a bathing experience at an authentic hammam or bathing house at Hammam de la Grande Mosquée. This gorgeous mosque was built in the 1920s and has a beautiful green-and-white tiled square minaret inspired by the Alhambra in Spain. The base of the mosque has a huge steam room which is intricately designed. Melt away the stress with a full body exfoliation and a massage and emerge feeling fresh as a daisy.
Take a trip to Versailles to the most sumptuous château you have ever seen. The palace of the Sun King (Louis XIV) moved his court to Versailles, but is well worth going out of your way to see. The gardens here are fantastic and the fountains play to music. Indoors, you can see the Hall of Mirrors – all 357 of them which literally dazzle you.
So, we have seen Paris with its more famous landmarks, but today we’ve paid a visit to some lesser known spots. Tomorrow we are leaving for the famous French City of Bordeaux.