Friday, 3 February 2017

Plans for My Birthday Weekend in Paris

As this post goes live I'm sitting on the Eurostar train to spend my birthday weekend in Paris! Last year I had an amazing holiday in Canada but that was very late in the year, making the work weeks seem even longer than usual. This year I decided to have lots of small trips, so I always have a getaway to look forward to. The first weekend break of the year has already arrived and I'll be in Paris from this afternoon until Monday night, spending my actual birthday day tomorrow in Disneyland. I'll be posting lots of photos after I've come back, but for now I wanted to share with you guys my plans for the weekend.



Explore Literary Paris

I mean, with a blog focused on books and theatre how can I not? I want to visit lots of bookish places, including Shakespeare & Co (which I've seen but never been inside of), Rue de l’Odéon (a street filled with book shops), Cimetière du Père Lachaise (the cemetery where Oscar Wilde and Proust are buried), the Pantheon (a crypt with tombs of people such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas), Victor Hugo's house, Jardin du Luxembourg (where Marius and Cosette met in Les Misérables), and Les Éditeurs (a cafe and library in one).

I've also taken a bunch of books along with me for a special overseas Books on the Underground to drop on the Parisian Metro, so I can leave my own literary footprint on Paris.


Disneyland!

I love, love, love Disneyland, having been to the Paris one countless times since I was young and having even visited the theme parks in California and Tokyo. I haven't been in quite some years to this one though and never by myself, so this will an interesting new experience. 

I'm looking forward to mostly taking lots of photos, doing some shopping, watching the parades (especially the Main Street Electrical Light Parade, which is my favourite ever and I'm stoked that it is back) and visiting some old favourite rides. Sadly Pirates of the Caribbean is currently closed, but I'm definitely going to It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan's Flight.

This is not a cheap outing but as a special birthday treat to myself it's worth it (plus I managed to buy a ticket that gives me access to both parks for the price of one, which I am very happy with). Let me know if you have any favourite rides/places in Disneyland I should check out!


Make the Most of Admission Free Sunday

I didn't realise this when booking my Eurostar tickets, but the first Sunday of every month a lot of attractions in Paris are completely free, which is ace! One of those included is Versailles, but that is a day trip away and wouldn't allow me to do anything else the same day. So I've decided against that one – I'll just have to book another trip later in the year and do it then.

Instead my list for Sunday includes the Louvre (I've never been! I realise it's massive but I'm going to try to only do 60-90 minutes here, so I need to make a list of priorities beforehand), Musée Rodin (so I can see The Thinker and The Kiss), Arc de Triomphe, Pantheon, and do a tour of Notre Dame. There are tons and tons more museums and attractions free this Sunday so if you have any particular recommendations, do let me know.

I am hoping that with it being a random, cold (and likely rainy, boo) February day it won't be very busy and I don't have to queue ridiculously long, but I'll probably go to the Louvre first bright and early (as I expect that to be busiest) and will bring a book in case of a long queue.


Eat all of the Food

France is of course known for its food and I plan to indulge in all of the goodies. My French is pretty rubbish so the menu cards are going to be a surprise, but mostly I plan to indulge in my love for cheese and pastries – and all baked goods actually. I will look in the window of every good bakery I pass and perhaps even stock up on my final day so I can enjoy the goodies for a while longer after I've gotten back to the UK.

Are there eateries you recommend in Paris (cafe, restaurant, bakery, or otherwise)? Or is there a particular food I must try (and no, I am not interested in snails)? Let me know.


Walk Everywhere

I miss exploring new destinations by foot. It's what I did mostly when I travelled for a few years when I finished uni as I was seriously cash-strapped, but actually it turned out to be the very best way to see a city. You notice things that would've been hidden when travelling underground (on the Metro, for example) and you can stop whenever something catches your eye to explore it further (which a bus or car doesn't allow).

One of my main goals in Paris is to take tons of photos for my blog and Instagram and so walking everywhere provides the perfect opportunity to discover hidden gems. Of course, there are certain must-sees that are on my list and I plan to both do a walking tour of Paris, and map out my own route connecting the various attractions I want to go to.

So far on the list I have:  Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame, La Défense, Champs-Élysées, seeing a sunset from the steps of the Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, Montparnasse, Louvre, and the flower market on Île de la Cité (a bird market on Sunday I'm keen to check out also if I have any time left that day). I'd also like to check out some street markets, but there are many and I have not yet decided which to go for.


And that's it for the plans for my long birthday weekend in Paris, what do you think? If you have any recommendations or tips, do leave them in the comments!
 You can stay up-to-date with my travels while I'm in Paris via Twitter and Instagram


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