Category Archives: Paris

London - Paris - Train Travel

London – Paris – Barcelona By Train

Paris to Barcelona Train

Did you know there is a direct high-speed train from Paris to Barcelona? I discovered this last year when Rail Europe did its annual advertising splurge on Instagram to tempt you to get tickets cheap for next year.

I fell for it and absolutely loved my 10 day London – Paris – Barcelona – Valencia – Barcelona – Paris – London roundtrip.

I wanted to share my experience, so here’s what it’s like to travel from London to Barcelona by train.

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My Paris Bucketlist

I had put this Paris wishlist together around the time Notre Dame burnt down and then it didn’t feel right to publish it. I then wanted to set it live around the time I went to Paris just before the current pandemic all started, but again it didn’t feel right. But as they say, there’s no time like the present, so here is my Paris bucket list for when it’s safe and sound again.

A late breakfast at the Hotel Plaza Athenee – You know…the hotel where Carrie stayed in the final episodes of SATC. I will never be able to actually stay there, but I sure can get everything out of their €62 breakfast.

See the Mona Lisa – up close. And with that, the rest of Louvre’s classics, such as Liberty Leading the People, Gabrielle d’Estrées and One of Her Sisters, and Venus de Milo.

Visit the remaining museums and galleries – I’m slowly making my way through all of the museums and on my next visit I want to prioritise the National Museum of Natural History, the Rodin Museum and Louis Vuitton Foundation.

The Petite Ceinture railway – aka the abandoned railway track that is now overgrown with greenery – like New York’s High Line, but this one happened naturally. It seems so not Paris-like that I have to go see it for myself.

Explore Parc des Butte Chaumonts – the park that sits on a hill overlooking Paris just sounds magic. It apparently also has cliffs, waterfalls and a lake and just screams for a picnic.

Stay at Mama Shelter – This was my very first boutique hotel experience and I want to go back to relieve those special moments.

Climb the Eiffel Tower – To see if the city is as impressive without the Tower in the background. But also because it’s just something one has to do. And while I’m at it why not visit the secret apartment as well?

WWII Metro Bunker – I enjoyed my visit to the subterranean shelter in London and would love to check out Paris’s offer under Gare de l’Est.

Attend the Palace of Versailles – Take a day trip to explore THE Palace of Palaces: Versaille. My trips to Paris are always short, so a day trip seems like a big commitment, but I just need to make sure I schedule it in next time.

Les Catacombes de Paris – Another of those typical things I haven’t done yet, but it just never quite fit into my plans.

Go inside the Sacre Coeur – I’ve been on the hill a number of times and have admired the basilica’s exterior from every corner, but since I can’t imagine the inside being as impressive as the outside I’ve never bothered to queue to enter it


Bonjour From Paris – Paris in Polaroids

I recently stopped off in Paris, where I really put the ‘mini’ in ‘mini-break’ – giving myself just 30 hours to savour the city of lights and love.

Despite having visited 8 times, it’s never quite lived up to the ‘Passport to Paris’ adventure that my young teen self yearned for…no fancy apartment from Grandpa to stay in, no French models giving me a personal tour, or worst of all, no moped rides! But this time I had more realistic goal – visit as many museums and sights as I could.

I wanted to stay walking distance from the museums on my checklist and found a relatively afforable room at Hotel Therese – it had a bit of an identity crisis, but if you strip everything down: the location was central, the bed was perfect, the water pressure couldn’t be better and the Wi-Fi passed the test too. After dropping off my bag I headed on foot to the the first museum, passing the Royal Palais Garden and the Louvre on my way.

As I left the museum, the Eiffel Tower seemed so close so I decided why not go for a walk! Some 45 minutes and three wrong turns later I made it. I did spend 15 minutes people watching on Pont Alexander III, the best bit was the 4 wedding/engagement/love photo shoots all happening at once – I can still picture them all fighting for the perfect spot!

Can you imagine that in 1889 this was the tallest building in the world? And it was supposed to be scrapped right after the Universal Exposition was over? The view from Trocadero is the spot to get that postcard shot that will secure you the most likes. But as the sun had already set and the fountains were off, it did look a tad dark and depressing. My cue to exit was a street artist who was choking out a really bad cover song.
I don’t mind eating alone, but it sure is more fun to have someone to talk to and it was great to catch-up with this Brazilian girl I met in a hostel in Dublin years and years ago. She recommended a small bistro, where we chowed down on a Steak Tartare followed by a creme brulee and talked successful adulting (and the long road we still have to go).
The next day The Musée d’Orsay was my first stop. It focuses on Impressionist Western art (your Monet, Renoir and van Gogh) from the 1800s-1900s. The museum is located in a former train station (and after years of vacancy, it was decided in 1986 that it should become a museum) so you can imagine how grand it is so you don’t just want to see the art, but also several corners of the museum, such as its stunning clocktower.

I also don’t mind looking at art by myself, but there is no one to talk to while queueing, get annoyed about people cutting queues, or give random theories about masterpieces. Thank God for Europe Roaming. Plus side was that I could stop anywhere I wanted for a quick snap without feeling too guilty.

Centre Pompidou was so much love, it starts off with the building itself: built inside to create an optimal exhibition space and the exposed glass and steel designed to reveal the beauty of the building techniques. If that wasn’t enough, it has a library, restaurant, rooftop viewing point and a modern art museum with the biggest collection of modern art in Europe.

I love modern art and as I can’t even draw a stick man I am easily impressed by anything, but if it isn’t for you get the €5 Paris view tickets where you get to see both Sacre Ceueur and Eiffel Tower.

My 30 hours in Paris ended too soon, and though it’ll never be Olsen level, departing with my baguette and snoozing on a smooth-as-hell train journey I felt I could easily be a straight-to-video star (or maybe save my story for the sequel)…

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The weirdest objects from Paris museums and shops


You think you really, really know Paris? While it’s a city known for its elegance and culture, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a weird, curious and downright criminal side to the French capital. The awesome folks at The Paris Pass put on their historical detective hats to uncover some of the strangest objects you’re ever likely to encounter in the museums, streets – yes … sewers – of Paris. read more

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Blogger’s Tips for your Paris Getaway

paris parijs

A while ago, when I shared my Yes/No/Maybes for Paris, I asked your tips, tricks and recommendations for enjoying the French capital. I didn’t want them to go to waste so today I’m sharing them as they might come in handy for your next trip to the city of love, lights and getting pick-pocketed as soon as you arrive at Gare du Nord or Charles de Gaulle.

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Yes, No, Maybe: What (Not) To Do In Paris

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A yes, no, maybe for Paris was hard to write … a city that is dear to so many makes it hard to criticise anything. But I’ve managed to get some things you should do, things you can skip and things I’ve heard of and are on my list for my possible future trip. Here we go.

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Because Paris is a city you need to ”feel” and there is nothing wrong with strolling around, enjoying the architecture, the people and the atmosphere. Or sit down on a terrace and watch the people go by. No rushing. This is what Paris is all about.

If you are visiting the city on the first Sunday of the month you can go to certain museums for free (these include Musée d’Art Moderne, the Pompidou Centre and the Musée d’Orsay) other museums are free all year round for people under 26 (the Louvre, the Conciergerie and the Sainte Chapelle to name a few). Also…Musée de l’Orangerie is actually worth a visit.

Rue Denoyez and Parc de Belleville are the best places to spot street art.

If you like music then check these venues Le Pompon, La Flèche d’Or, Autor de Midi, L’International, le Gambetta, and Le Klub.

Beware of pickpockets (it already starts even at Gare du Nord) and scammers (everyone who is trying to sell you anything near the tourist attractions). Watch for people with petitions or surveys – they’re often a distraction so their colleagues can swipe your wallet.

Do go to a patisserie and enjoy bread and pastries. I am a fan of Stohrer (located in the 2nd arrondissement) but there are so many good ones that if you ask a dozen people you will get two dozen answers.

Enjoy a free view of the city at the cafe at the Printemps Shopping Centre. For this you need take the lift to the top floor, then take the escalator to the upper floor and snap away.

Cantine Merci is a great spot for a healthy (veggie) lunch for a reasonable price.

If you are want to go for a less healthy but don’t feel like McD and go for the local Quick.

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I once paid €7 (that’s $8 or £5) for a tea and learned the hard way. Try to avoid eating and drinking in the busy tourist areas and check the prices before you order.

Don’t be mad at me, but going up the Eiffel Tower was just nothing special. If you’re happy to pay, try the cafe at Montparnasse Tower or Printemps Shopping Centre. For a free view try Parc de Belleville and up the Montmarte.

I found the Paris from the river tours a rip off. If you want to see the city but don’t feel like walking I recommend you take a bus. Line 69 takes you by all the famous landsmarks you see in all of the Paris montages in movies.

Don’t expect to find Ewan McGreggor or anything related to the movie at Moulin Rouge. Instead you will get a lost glory show. At least, I did. Just go for the photo opp outside, preferably at night for the lights.

Around Le Pere Lachaise you will find a lot of places that sell maps of the cemetery. But this is a waste of money as there are maps posted in the grounds. And I know people usually avoid cemeteries but La Pere Lachaise is quite impressive.

Don’t ride the metro without a ticket, seriously I’ve haven’t seen as many checks as in Paris and they are really really strict.

You can’t leave Paris without having a crêpe, don’t go for Nutella but try ‘au sucre et au citron’ (with sugar and lemon).

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Leaving a love lock on one of the bridges has become a thing, but maybe read into the No Love Locks campaign before you decide to leave yours.

Or a day trip to Versailles to see the pristine palace where Marie Antoinette lived. Would recommend to go in spring/summer because of the gardens.

If you are looking for a boutique hotel then Mama Shelter might be for you. It’s not central, but for €90 fair (it’s also near Pere Lachaise).

How about a visit to Disneyland Paris? There always seem to be a lot of offers online, so if you buy it ahead you can get them for cheaper. One of the newer rides is based on Pixar culinary epic Ratatouille.

Amelie fan? Why not visit the some of the locations? Paris Cheapskate wrote a mini tour that you can find here. Or a Sex & the City tour? Check this one by Misadventures with Andi.

If staying at the classic Plaza Athenee (made famous to everyone under 60 by Carrie Bradshaw) doesn’t fit your budget then go for a breakfast. Yes, it’s around €50 but in the words of Tom and Donna: Treat. Yo. Self (plus you won’t have to eat anything the rest of the day)

What is your favourite thing to do in Paris?