Bigger life decisions in the last three years compelled me to put travelling into a halt, albeit temporarily until priorities are fulfilled. However, sometime in October, my cousin asked me if I could take them around Paris because they had a friend visiting and they were not confident to go around on their own. I am not normally keen on playing tour guide to people I don't personally know because I might disappoint them with my itinerary, but my cousin was adamant that it would be okay. So, off I went to Paris on a day trip in Autumn- a trip that I never planned nor even thought of. I was actually excited as the last time I went to Paris was in 2018, and this was my first European trip in three years.
We left King's Cross St Pancras International on the Eurostar train just after 6am. Upon arrival in Paris Gare du Nord, we headed to the Left Luggage area on the lower ground floor to secure my cousin's belongings as they were staying in Paris for two nights. My original plan was to walk to Sacre Coeur from Gare du Nord and pick up some pastries and coffee from Pain Pain on the way, however we were already late so I decided to take the metro to Trocadero for breakfast instead. My friend recommended Carette so we tried,7u and I was a little bit disappointed. Despite the hype created by social media influencers, I actually didn't find anything special about this restaurant. Their pastries are just okay, nothing like La Maison d'Isabelle . It was very busy and although previous reviews recommended sitting outside (which we did), it was still cramped. We were sat literally next to their cutlery area which made me quite uncomfortable. The service was friendly although haphazard. Perhaps, it's best to go there very early to avoid the crowd.
After breakfast, we walked to our first tourist destination of the day- The Eiffel Tower. Trocadero used to be my favourite stop for the whole view of the Eiffel Tower, however there have been a few changes in the area and it didn't feel the same. What was an open viewing platform is now barricaded with graffiti-filled plywood.
We then walked down to go closer to the Eiffel Tower via Pont d'lena. It made all sense to me during this trip why a few years ago, the bottom of the Eiffel Tower was a construction site. They have put a permanent barrier around the tower to protect it from terror threats. Entry to the forecourt apparently remains free, so this is a good thing. I realised during this trip that next time, I should get off Champ de Mars so I don't have to walk that far.
From Eiffer Tower, we took the metro (Champ de Mars) to the Louvre. We walked through Quai Anatole France from Musee D'Orsay then crossed over Pont Royal. This route is long, however it is a good walk.
By the time we reached the Louvre, it was past 2pm. As my cousin wanted to see the "love lock bridge", I took them for a walk to Pont des Arts. The locks were taken down by the Paris Council a few years ago, however there were still some random locks left.
I have always wanted to check out the Samaritaine, not to shop but to take a photo of the interior. So on our way to Notre Dame, we stopped by the department store.
Notre Dame was still closed for renovation, so we didn't stay there long. Instead, we immediately took the Metro from Cite to Blanche for Moulin Rouge.
I actually reserved a table at the Le Moulin de Gallette for lunch, however we didn't make it on time so we ended up in Cafe des Deux Moulins. This was my second time to eat at the Cafe des Deux Moulins and it has not really changed. Of course the cafe is historic as it is the exact same cafe in the film Amelie.
After lunch, we walked to our last destination for the day- Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. I have been to Paris a few times and the walk either to or from Sacre Coeur via Rue Lepic and Rue Norvins remains my favourite because this route is quiet and easy to follow. Towards the end of Rue Norvins is the always buzzing and one of the most famous squares in Paris, Place du Tertre or otherwise known as the Artists' Square.
A few yards away from Place du Tertre is the Sacre Coeur Basilica. This is a good place to have a panoramic view of Paris, although it is to be expected that this area is often very busy.
Sacre Coeur is either first or last on my day trip itinerary because it is a walking distance to Gare du Nord. This means that I don't have to rush provided that I give myself at least an hour to get to the station.
Champs Elysees is often not in my itinerary because unless I intend to shop or drop by Laduree (which I no longer do), I think it is not efficient for a day trip. The same goes with the Arc de Triomphe. These two places can be done another day (if staying one or more days).
Although I would love to stay at least overnight in Paris again one day, I am happy that I am able to visit even just for a day. Paris is one of those places that I will never get tired of visiting, so I hope that I will be able to visit the city again, as often as I did before.
And for that, how about coffee and almond croissant in Paris next year? Anyone?😀