48 hours in Paris

To be completely honest, I didn't think I'd like Paris. I suspected it was one of those blogging clichés that everyone pretends to love but would just bore me, like peonies and marble trays. Turns out I was wrong. I completely fell in love with the city!
Parisian architecture
My first impressions as we drove through the city from the airport was just how pretty everything was. The architecture is truly stunning, with the yellow stone and iron balconies that I always assumed were just a myth.
Eiffel Tower on a sunny day
Our hotel was about a 15 minute walk from the Eiffel Tower so after dropping off our luggage, we headed down there. While at the bottom, we witnessed a man fleeing with a proper comedy-style bag of swag, with 6 or so police hot on his tail, one of whom tripped over his own feet and fell in a bush.
Eiffel Tower from Trocadero
Bridge over the Seine
Like Berlin, it was super hot, so we stopped at a cafe for a drink before heading on to the Arc de Triomphe.
Arc de Triomphe architecture
Buildings opposite the Louvre
One of the things that was top of my list was visiting the Louvre and since it was open until 9:45, we headed over about 7pm. By this point, there was no queue to get in or buy tickets and most of the museum was fairly quiet.
Museé de Louvre sign
Louvre at sunset
Mobile photo of Mona Lisa
Of course we went to see the Mona Lisa which wasn't as small as everyone makes out it is! Unsurprisingly, I was hardly bowled over by it and instead found it more interesting just how many people want photos of themselves with the painting. It was widely reported in March that the Louvre was banning selfie sticks and I was glad to see this was in place- If anyone approached the Mona Lisa holding a stick, they were politely asked to put it away. 
Tourists taking photo of Mona Lisa
The rule doesn't prevent people taking regular selfies or having their photo taken with the painting at all. In a semi-circle around the work is a mass of bodies, all with their arms held up to take a photo. People wait patiently, get to the barrier, snap their own photo and move away. Nobody actually looks at the painting which is surely the point of being there. Otherwise, why wouldn't you just Google images of it?
Tourist taking selfie at Mona Lisa
Tourists posing at Louvre
At 9:30, we were shepherded towards the exit, where we got the Metro back to our hotel. The Paris underground system is much more like the London Underground but has none of the simplicity and ease of Berlin's U-Bahn. 10 single tickets cost 14 euros and when we accidentally went in the wrong direction and had to go back on ourselves, we had to use another ticket just to access the platform. 
Pain au Chocolat in France
Parisian lamp post
The next morning, we headed over to Notre Dame, stopping on the way for a quick pain au chocolat.
Notre Dame and the Seine
Let me tell you a little story about Notre Dame: Back in 1997, when I was 8, my grandparents bought me The Hunchback of Notre Dame on VHS. While I was watching this scene, in which light from the rose stained glass window is thrown onto the stone floor, my grandad said "We've been there". My grandparents were incredibily well-travelled, but I was blown away by the fact that they had really visited a place in a Disney film. My grandad died in 2008 and my grandma is very unwell so it's become very important to me to visit the places they travelled to and follow their footsteps. 
Rose stained glass window at Notre Dame Cathedral
Inside, the cathedral was hauntingly beautiful. I've visited many cathedrals but this is the one that seemed the most holy. Almost every vertical service was decorate with the most remarkable stained glass and it was filled with stunningly atmospheric music. I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of it and will definitely visit again. 
Candles lit at Notre Dame cathedral
Candles lit at the cathedral of Notre Dame
Nuns at the Notre Dame Cathedral
There's a lovely little bistro next to the cathedral where I indulged in the ultimate of clichés- a macaron. Yes, I ate a macaron in Paris. All I needed was a view of the Eiffel Tower and my blogger stereotype checklist would have been complete!
Chocolate Macaron in Paris
Nutella croissant and macaron
Before we went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner, I got the chance to visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery which was something I was very excited about and will save for a future post. 
Pastel shutters in ParisBlack iron balconies in Paris
For our anniversary, Rich had booked a Seine dinner cruise which was lovely. The cruise departed from the foot of Notre Dame and when we returned, we decided to walk past the Eiffel Tower to see it lit up. Unfortunately, a sudden downpour forced us to duck into a cafe but this proved to be a lovely way to spend the rainy evening.
Rainy cafe table in Paris
Rainy Paris at night
Eiffel Tower lit up at night
We were lucky enough to make it to the foot of the Eiffel Tower on the hour, on which it began sparkling with flickering white lights like a huge Christmas tree.
Cafe menu in Paris
I cannot believe how much there was to do in Paris. I didn't get to do everything I wanted to do- there's still the catacombs to see and shopping at Diptyque and Ladurée, of course! We're already making plans to return next December!

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  1. Looks like you had a fabulous time, I'm so jealous! All your photo's are absolutely beautiful. Paris is one of the places I really want to visit, I've driven through it when I went to France a few years ago but I've never explored the city. I REALLY want to visit the Louvre too it looks incredible!

    Lydia //

  2. These photos are stunning! What a great post :)


  3. Becky, these pictures are absolutely stunning! Those pastries...

  4. I absolutely love Paris, I fell in Love that much when I went in May, I booked to go back again next month and because there was so much to do.
    I agree, the buildings and architecture is so beautiful, I also loved the iron balconies and flowers on the buildings too.
    You took some lovely photos :)

    x x x x

    Confessions Of A Small Town Girl

  5. It looks beautiful! Can't wait to go there myself one day! :D

  6. Aww you made me feel like I should just get up and go to Paris now!
    Elina xx |

  7. I felt the same just before I went to Paris; I thought it was so overhyped that I'd be underwhelmed and dissapointed but I was so wrong! It's such a beautiful place isn't it? I always wanted to visit Notre Dame when I was a little girl too. xo

    Abby | Eärendil

  8. Lovely photos, Paris really is beautiful. I went there last December for the first time and have been dreaming of going back ever since! Beth xxx

  9. Gorgeous photos, you really captured the city! I'd love to go back to Paris and do it all again :) x

    Everything But The Kitchen Sink

  10. Stunning set of photos here Becky! I always thought I wouldn't too fond of Paris either, but the more I see photos of it and more I swoon over the architecture the more I know I need to go and see it myself! I love the photos inside the cathedral, just stunning! - Tasha

  11. I am glad you had such a lovely time. Like you I was sceptical on my first visit but fell in love and have been back a few times since. Your pictures really capture the elegance of Paris.

  12. I've just got back from a couple of days in Paris but honestly? I was a little bit underwhelmed. The landmarks are obviously fantastic but I think Instagram had given unrealistic expectations of adorable cafes and we couldn't find any!

    I totally agree with you about the Louvre; I thought the people with the DS audio guides were also ridiculous. We saw one man fall over as he walked into the statue he was too busy looking at on the DS screen!

    Your photos are lovely and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

  13. Wow it looks like you had an amazing time! I've always dreamed of going to Paris, and this blog post makes me want to go even more now! x

  14. Oh Becky, your photos are phenomenal! I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself in Paris, it really is such a romantic city (as cliched as that sounds). It's just the kind of place you can sit down on a bench and watch the world go by!

    Thanks for giving us a peek at your trip m'love! Wonderful post <3

    Claire xo

  15. Your photos are so gorgeous! Honestly, they're the best I've ever seen. X

  16. Really enjoyed reading this! Your photos are all so gorgeous, too. I've only visited Paris briefly- my Dad once drove us around the city for two hours before we headed South on holiday. It was stunning and I'd love to visit it properly one day and do the whole tourist thing. One day...

  17. I blooming love Paris <3 I was lucky enough to spend a lot of my teenage summers wandering the streets eating icecream. The best icecream comes from a little shop called Berthillon, on the island that houses Notre Dame. Afternoons spend wander around the little shops eating icecream were the best.... Ah, to lost youth!
    Laura /

  18. The catacombs are simply amazing! One tip though - head there really early as the queues can be hours long. We arrived at 10am last time we were there and had to queue for three hours to get inside - worth it, but a shame none-the-less.

    The Louvre is just beautiful, and the views from the Eiffel Tower are out of this world!
    I've been to Paris four times now and it still amazes me how beautiful the city is.

    Rach xx //

  19. This is possibly the most beautiful blog post I've ever read...your photos are just stunning, especially the one outside the café in the rain, and the bicycle one after it. The Eiffel Tower at night looks amazing.

    Also that's a lovely idea about going to the places your grandparents have been to. :) x

  20. I love Paris! I went over Christmas a few years ago. The department store windows were amazing. Also I love your photos of people taking photos of the Mona Lisa!

  21. Ohh when I go to Paris I'm going to eat my way through all the beautiful pastries they have :P Such a beautiful city.

  22. Becky, your pictures are so beautiful! I also loved the little story about your grandparents and Notre Dame. The last time I was in Paris, it was my grandmother's first anniversary so I went in to the cathedral to light a candle for her — it's such an incredible place.

  23. I love Paris! I managed to get a week there in my first year of University and I really enjoyed it. Your Notre Dame story is lovely, and it's nice to think that you can follow your grandparents footsteps in travelling. I really like that idea! Gorgeous photos, as always!

  24. Wow! Beautiful post! The hubby and I are taking a trip here in just a few short weeks for our first anniversary and I couldn't be more excited. Mind if I ask what kind of camera you use?

  25. Aw, this sounds so lovely :) mega husband points to Rich!

    Dannie x


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