7 October 2013

48 hours in Paris - A London Kiwi's Guide

Even the term itchy feet when translated into French is elegant. It can translate as bougeotte 'wanderlust' or vouloir changer d'horizons, which translates to literally 'changing your horizon/view'.
You won't need me to tell you that Paris is an amazing city, and really needs as much time you can give to her. Over the years I think I've spent nearly a month there, but if you're really stuck for time, it's possible to do all of the fun highlights within around 48hours. You're going to have to get up early and have a game plan though...
We like to start the day early with fresh French baguette from the local market, coffee and orange juice. 'Proper' parisians love the darker sticks of French bread and espresso - nothing else will do. They seem to be less passionate traditionally about including orange juice but ours was freshly hand squeezed and came with a buttery croissant. How could we say no to this carb heaven?
 I'm definitely not an espresso-in-the-morning girl. You can take the Kiwi out of New Zealand...

Then, it's off on the metro. I'd recommend a carnet of tickets as the cheapest, easiest way to get around unless you're staying really, really, really central.
In your whirlwind, you can't miss the world's biggest sparkler. If you want to go up to the viewing platforms on the Eiffel Tower, I'd recommend going early or quite late in the day as the queues can be pretty massive. We like going up in the evening, just as twilight begins to fall and the lights of Paris start to switch on.

If you don't want to, and want a stonking photo I've got a little secret I can pass on. Catch the metro to the Trodadero stop on the 6 or 9 lines, take the Tour Eiffel exit, turn right, go up the steps and et voila, enjoy the beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower and the Champ de Mars. (Ps. there are some fab museums, gardens and restaurants in the Trocadero area too.)


I'd advise a quick lunch on the hop - the many grocery stores (Monoprix) do some fine quality sandwiches/salads if you're on a budget. Try not to be lured in by the Touristy offerings - they tend to be bland AND overpriced, but it's your wallet...

then you have the afternoon to take in either;
- Notre Dame Cathedral which is free to go into & beautiful; 
- a wander along the Seine to admire the love locks bridge and pick up a few Eclairs

- the Arc de Triumphe
... may be with a cheeky side trip to Laduree to taste test their delightful signature Macarons

In your evening, it would be almost a sin not to visit the Moulin Rouge, or something a little more highbrow at the Paris Opera House. If you are going to the Moulin Rouge, book ahead, I implore you!
The next morning, maybe check out your nearest market for your brekkie to nurse your Parisien wine tasting hangover - Mairie de Paris's website here (in French) is really helpful, or ask your hotel staff for recommendations.


Whenever we visit like fit in at least one museum or gallery - with most of them, but especially the popular ones the earlier in the day you can get there the better. Having been to the Louvre several times (and as it really needs a day on it's own) on our last trip we made our way to the beautiful Musee d'Orsay for breathtaking Impressionist paintings, sculpture and furniture.
For your afternoon, how about something a little more on the dark side? Père Lachaise Cemetery is Paris' largest city cemetery at 44 hectares and many of the city's illuminate are buried here - Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Jacques-Louis David and Edith Piaf to name a few. 

Don't be taken in by people trying to walk you around the cemetery, it's a common trick of shysters who will try to charge you €50-80 for the pleasure. You can buy maps or download the nifty app. I just cheated and photographed the map at the entrance... 
Just so you know, even in the case of mausoleums and chapels, coffins are most of the time below ground. It's a beautiful haunting place, and if you visit via the Gambretta tube station it's a nice downhill walk to explore.

Jim Morrison's resting place - just follow the crowds.
Or may be explore the Paris Catacombs. The only trouble is deciding what to do before going home. That I'll have to leave to you!

The best thing about Paris? It's a 2.5 hours train ride with Eurostar from central London - how fantastic!


  1. I just pinned this! We are headed to Paris at the end of this month {my first time, Cory's third!} and luckily we've got more than 48 hours to spend there, but you've got so many good tips in here that I know will come in handy while we are there!

    1. Oh, how fantastic!! I hope you enjoy it.

  2. One question - or maybe two. What is a carnet of tickets? And is everything you mentioned here within the allowed zone for those type of tickets?

    1. A carnet is their name for a book of 10 tickets - and it's the cheapest way to buy them. Just walk up to the green ticket machines, and order as many are you need.
      Yep, 90% of Paris sights are within the zone for tickets. The one thing we were caught out on it that the main train trunk lines aren't included according to my notes.
      If you have time, I highly recommend the champagne houses in Reims as well. About a 1.5hr train out of Paris they are fabulous!

  3. I haven't made it to Paris yet but this is SO helpful!! Thank you!

    1. Oh, it's beautiful - prefect for wandering & adsorbing the atmosphere.

  4. Ahh I've just divided my paris pictures up for Paris posts. Your post makes me want to go back so badly! It's such a fantastic city.

    1. I can't wait to see them (though I bet they are MUCH prettier than mine!

  5. Great advice, Emma - although, I will admit, I'd probably add a pastry class to that!

  6. I have done most the things you've listed and I have been in Paris 2-3 days before so yes, those are definitely the must-sees I'd agree. Mr. HEA has promised me that a year from today we'd be there for a long weekend. So excited to be visiting Paris again!

    1. There is just so much to pick from. I love that you're holding him to his promise - I can't wait to see it!


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