10 Steps to The Perfect Paris Weekend | #AirFranceToParis
Paris - one of the closest and nicest city breaks for us Europeans. I’ve collaborated with Air France and AirBnb to show you how to make the best out of your next Paris visit, even if it’s just for a couple of days. Watch the video and see my recommendations & photos below! :) (Psst - #8 will show you all the best Insta photo spots!)
First step - travel the French way. Fly Air France for that French touch from the very beginning of your trip (and if you get to fly on one of their big planes with screens on every seat - enjoy their safety instruction video. It's so good! Never thought I would love a safety instruction video...) Drop off your luggage, do some duty-free shopping, the just sit back, relax & enjoy a cup of tea - and before you know it, about 40 minutes have passed and you’re in Paris. Also a great bonus - they fly from Heathrow, and, well, personally, I think it's the best of London airports.
I always, always, ALWAYS choose AirBnb over a hotel - and I’m sure you know this by now :) I love that you can stay in some of the nicest areas, and for this trip we chose a flat in the very heart of Montmartre. It was a proper Parisian apartment building, with a narrow staircase and a courtyard. The flat itself was spacious and so beautifully decorated, there was so much attention to detail - and nothing beats the view of the Sacre Coeur from your window. AirBnb can be a lot cheaper than a hotel, and to be honest, a lot nicer too as you get to feel like you’re at home, away from home. If you haven’t tried AirBnb, don’t be scared and give it a go on your next trip - here’s a code that’ll give you a discount on your first booking.
You can’t go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, The Opera, The Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame, etc etc. These places can get crowded and there are a lot of hasslers and pickpockets so be careful and keep an eye out. If you really want to avoid the crowds, get up early and explore in the morning. Or take a city tour bus - they are always fun and are guaranteed to take you around to see all the sights in a couple of hours. See tip #8 for the most picturesque streets in Paris!
A must-do! Nothing beats a freshly baked croissant or pain au chocolat in the morning. If you’re a coffee drinker, even better - find out where your nearest bakery or cafe is and they will surely be serving fresh pastries and coffee.
...for lunch, after your croissant breakfast. One will never be enough.. There’s so many good things to try, my favourite being macarons. Now, I know Laduree has become a bit of a clichee now, but their salted caramel macarons in Paris are one of the best sweet treats I’ve had in my life. Sure, you can buy them in London, but nothing beats them in Paris.
You’ll see cafes on every corner, with cute chairs and coffee tables nicely lined up on the pavement. These will fill up by the end of the working day, with people sitting, chatting, drinking and watching the world go by. Find a table and join in - when you sit down, you’ll realise why they sit there for hours and how fun it can be just spying on everyone walking by.
AirBnb now offers experiences led by locals in many cities around the world. This was my first time trying one, and I'm already planning other ones for my upcoming trips, honestly. We went to a jewelry making workshop led by the lovely Mona from Just Art Paris. We ended up spending almost 5 hours here but there are a big variety of experiences you can choose from - some just take an hour or two, some can keep you entertained for a full day. There are wine tastings, cooking classes, arts & crafts, walking tours, you name it - you can probably find it. Our itinerary for the day started with a home made lunch and a glass of wine (or water for me as I don’t drink! fun fact) in Mona’s workshop, then we looked at her handmade jewellery collection and got to try on all the beautiful pieces and decide what we wanted to create for ourselves. We picked the colour of the stones we’d be working with, then designed the piece and had a little break while Mona set everything up for us. Then it was time to get our hands dirty and get to work - we got to take part in actually creating our jewellery, filing down and smoothing the stones layer by layer until they were ready for Mona to put the finishing touches on. I opted for a blue and gold pendant and Zane made a pair of rose and gold earrings. It was amazing to see how much work, attention and love (and patience!) goes into hand-made jewellery, and being able to take part in creating the pieces made it that much more special. The experience can be a great gift for someone, or just a lovely way of creating special memories and getting a very meaningful souvenir at the end of the day. Check out Mona’s jewelry workshop experience here, and have a scroll through some of the other experiences AirBnb offer in Paris.
For me, of course, one of the most important parts of any trip. I have top 3 locations for photos in Paris, some of them have been kept a secret, but to give you the opportunity to get some great shots I’m happy to share :) First place to visit - Rue Cremieux. It’s like finding Notting Hill in Paris! In Le Marais, this is definitely the most photographer street, and for good reason.
Next up is Avenue de Camoens - in my opinion, the best place for Eiffel Tower shots. I discovered this spot last year when we chose this as one of the photoshoot spots for a wonderful couple’s wedding. It’s still a quiet and undiscovered street, so let's keep it kind of a secret, okay? ;)
My third favourite for a really epic French architecture background is the Louvre, specifically the courtyard around the famous glass pyramid. If you walk along the side, there will be a lot less people and it makes for a beautiful backdrop for that perfect Paris photo.
Other picturesque favourites of mine - the side streets near Grand Palais (check out Rue Bayard), Luxembourg gardens, streets of Montmartre. Or basically any street of Central Paris. :)
The roof terrace of Printemps shopping centre for the best rooftop view of Paris - it was sadly closed for reconstruction when we were here, but hopefully it re-opens soon.
If the weather is nice, there's lots of parks and little hidden gardens all around the city. Two of my favourites are Luxembourg Gardens and Place des Vosges, but there's plenty more to choose from.
To burn off all those pastries. When the architecture is as beautiful as it is in Paris, it'd be silly not to take advantage of that and explore the city by foot. As you walk you'll spot so many hidden restaurants - my tip is to pull out your phone and check the reviews as you go, you might pass by something really good.
I’ve been to Paris many times, and I know I’m gonna go there again and again. Every time I discover something new - and it’s always so vibrant and timeless. Have you been? Share your Paris finds in the comments :) x