Plans for a day in Paris


Around here the middle of February is always a time to unwind a little, as the busy-ness of the Spring/Lent term breaks for a few days for the half-term break. As well as writing, catching up on house jobs, meeting with friends and doing all those little appointments which are harder to schedule during the school week, Matthew and I always try to schedule a day or more for fun, travel, or simply spending time together. Sometimes we'll plan a few days away, sometimes we'll go for a nice lunch, sometimes it's something as simple as a meal deal for two (viva M & S!). This year, we're going to zoom over to Paris for a day!

Eurostar always has some amazing deals on at the start of the year, so as soon as Matthew and I saw that there were lots of £26 seats available for the middle of February, we began to hatch a plan. There are parts of the UK we couldn't do for £100-odd return, so that price for a little French fun was not to be missed. We're heading across early, getting to Paris mid-morning in time for strolls and museums before lunch, and then have the whole afternoon and early evening before heading home to Blighty.

We've both visited Paris before, but not together, and I'm really looking forward to seeing a few favourite sights again, as well as catching a few new ones! Here's what we are hoping to do in the day. We won't stop much for food, as I'll be packing us a nice big Eurostar-picnic for breakfast en route, but supper should be lovely.

Once we've arrived we'll be hoping onto the Metro to head over to the Arc de Triomphe. Despite being in Paris many times, I've never gone to visit the Arc specifically! I have spent many a moment circling it though, within the unique insurance zone, often with colourful expletives ringing in my ears as a Parisian cabbie has disagreed with another driver's choices. This time we'll be going to pay our respects and enjoy the monument itself.

After that I feel a little stroll will be in order. We'll wend our way along the Champs-Élysées, then down Montaigne towards the Seine. I'm looking forward to gawking in all the windows of the designer stores. I'm not the biggest designer clothes girl, but man, I love the pretty windows!

Once we reach the Seine, we'll be taking a boat tour of the city. As it's a flying visit on this occasion I thought a tour would be nice, and in a day with lots of walking this'll give us a wee break to sit and have a snack too. I love the bateaux on the Seine, it's a really lovely way to explore the city.

When we've had our tour on the boat, we'll walk along the right bank to the Pont de Champs-Elysee, then cross to the left bank for a visit to one of my favourite museums, the Musée D'Orsay. This gorgeous museum is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station, and it is full of beautiful paintings and sculpture. While researching our trip I also discovered that we can get two tickets for the price of one as we are travelling by Eurostar - always nice to pick up a bargain, no?

After we've seen our fill of art, I thought we could walk a little further along the river and pop into the Shakespeare and Company bookshop. I've heard so much about this place and I always have time for an independent bookshop! Then I'd like to go and see a little of Notre Dame; last time I visited there were hoardings up everywhere, so I'm keen to see what it looks like now.

I imagine by then we will be positively full to the brim with culture and staaaaarving, so I thought we could pop back on the Metro at Cité and head back up to the area around Gare du Nord. There are so many great places to eat in Paris, but as we are heading back on the last train I'm keen to make sure we're in the right area! So imagine my delight when I spotted the lovely restaurant at Terminus Nord, right across the road from the station. I've booked us an early table for steak, wine and chats before we check in for our train and head back to England.

I'm so excited for our busy, fun day. What do you think of our plan? Have you ever tried to do a city in a day?
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I'm Claire, a thirty-something teacher, writer and blogger living in London.