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Sometimes when the daily grind really gets to me, the only cure is Paris. Paris is my antidote to routine; it’s what helps me reset and get back to feeling like me. I know, I know, it all sounds so dramatic! But in July this year, I felt Paris calling my name for all the above reasons.
With a week’s notice, I booked a flight to Paris and made a reservation with my favourite hotel and 7 days later, I was off. Due to the last minute booking, I only had 24 hours in Paris, but I knew exactly how I wanted to spend it.
Flying in for 24 hours in Paris
I flew out from Exeter airport, the closest airport to my home in Devon, UK. This airport is tiny and only has a couple of gates, so is usually mega expensive. But on this occasion, I found return flights to Paris for only £100.
Flying into Paris CDG, I caught the metro into the city and as it was a hot, sunny day, decided to disembark at Notre Dame and walk to my hotel from there. My hotel was about an hour’s walk from Notre Dame, but walking through the streets of Paris is one of my favourite things to do, so I really didn’t mind ambling down the Seine, taking in the sights and enjoying the sunshine. With only 24 hours in Paris, I wanted to take in as much of the city as possible.
As always, I checked into Grand Hotel Leveque, situated on the beautiful Rue Cler – one of the prettiest streets in Paris, in the 7th arrondissement. I’ve stayed in this hotel three times and it never fails to disappoint. For me, when travelling solo, location is everything, especially when I only had 24 hours in Paris. I don’t want to be wandering down dark back streets or catching a metro late at night on my own to get back to my accommodation. So, with the Eiffel Tower only a 10-15 minute walk away, staying at Grand Hotel Leveque is the perfect solution.
As this was my fifth trip to Paris, I’d already visited most of the top Paris attractions before. But there were still a couple of places I’d not managed to explore on previous trips, so I made sure to add them to the shortlist on this visit.
Day 1 in Paris
Checking into my hotel, I dumped my bags and headed out into the Parisian sunshine with one thing on my mind…wine!
The joy of staying on the beautiful Rue Cler is that the street is lined with gorgeous, typically Parisian cafes and restaurants. So, my first port of call was to take a seat in the sunshine, whip out my book and order a chilled glass of rosé.
After chilling for a while, I decided to walk to the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, in the 6th arrondissement, one of the few Paris attractions I’d not managed to visit before. En route, I picked up a box of macarons from Ladurée, a punnet of fresh raspberries and a baguette to eat in the park.
Sitting in the sunshine, reading my book (a constant feature when I travel solo) and eating delicious French food are three of my favourite things to do, so needless to say, I was a very happy girl.
After whiling away the summer afternoon in the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, I headed over to the Tour Montparnasse, another one of Paris’ top attractions I’d not yet visited. I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower four times in the past, but on this visit, I wanted to experience a different view – one with the Eiffel Tower in it.
I have to say, I wasn’t overly amazed by the view from the Tour Montparnasse, although it was nice to take photos of the city with the Eiffel Tower and La Defense in the background. For me, I felt disconnected from the city behind glass, at the top of the tower. I feel that for the price of the ticket (18€ at the time of writing this), I’d rather enjoy the view from the Arc de Triomphe (only 13€) as, in my opinion, this is the best view of the city, right in the thick of it all. Now I’ve visited the Tour Montparnasse, I don’t feel the need to go back, whereas I’ve visited the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe time and time again.
Leaving the Tour Montparnasse, I wandered back to my hotel for some downtime before heading out for dinner.
The thought of eating alone often puts people off travelling solo, but for me, it’s one of my highlights. A total foodie, I love taking a window seat in a restaurant or cafe, watching the world go by, choosing delicious food from a menu and totally soaking up the experience. And on this visit to Paris, I was not disappointed.
With it being such a warm summer evening, I didn’t fancy a heavy meal, so wandering through the gorgeous Parisian streets, I checked out various menus looking for inspiration.
Just a short distance from my hotel, I stumbled across a cute restaurant called Au Canon des Invalides, with tables right on the street and a view of the Eiffel Tower. Normally, restaurants with a view of the Iron Lady herself are extortionately priced and aimed at tourists, but I found this one to be reasonably priced, with a more ‘local’ feel. But it was the honey-roasted camembert that really drew me in. Such a simple meal, but one of the best! Savouring every bite of the creamy camembert, slathered on to crusty French baguette with a chilled glass of rosé and a view of the Eiffel Tower, I was in my element.
After I’d finished my meal, I took a leisurely stroll at dusk over to the Eiffel Tower. I sat on a wall at the Trocadero alone for over an hour, watching people come and go, enjoying the twinkling of the lights and the warm summer evening before making my way back to my hotel.
This was by far one of the best days I have ever spent in the City of Lights.
Day 2 in Paris
Day 2 in Paris took an even more leisurely pace. A bag of pastries and a coffee at a cute Parisian cafe on Rue Cler was the perfect way to kick off the morning. After that, I spent some time wandering around the beautiful and intricate web of streets that make up the 7th arrondissement, window shopping and stopping for coffee as often as I wanted before wandering along the banks of the Seine and stopping at yet another cafe for a chilled glass of rosé.
This was more of a day to kick back, relax and feel like a local before heading home, so I didn’t visit any major attractions or venture very far. I just wanted to soak in my spirit city before I had to leave.
My flight home left mid-afternoon from Paris CDG so I slowly made my way to the airport around lunchtime. With only 24 hours in Paris, I didn’t get to visit dozens of attractions on this visit but I did achieve what I’d set out to do…reset, unwind and get off the treadmill for a couple days. And what better place to do it than in Paris?