Things to do in Paris on a weekend break

March 3, 2014
Outside the Notre Dame cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break

As I’m expanding the lifestyle element of my blog, I thought I’d share my thoughts and advice on one of the most iconic destinations in the world – Paris.
I’ve been to Paris twice. Once as a teenager, and again as an adult for Valentine’s Day.  And it goes without saying, the two experiences were very different!  As the college trip is a distant memory, this article will focus on my most recent visit.
We spent three nights in Paris, which is the perfect amount of time to pack in all the main sites and attractions, however, it does mean that you are constantly on the go.

Read: my unfiltered review of the hotel we stayed at in Paris

Unsurprisingly, we did a LOT of walking.  I think we hotfooted around five miles on our first day alone.  So if you’re not keen on walking the breadth of the city, but want to see it all, I’d suggest a longer stay.

The easiest way to get to Paris (from London)

Looking for directions at the Gare Du Nord station
Which way now?

 

One of the great things about Paris is that it is super easy to get to from London.  We took the tube to St. Pancras, and from there it was a two-hour train ride right to the centre of Paris.  Ticket prices can range from £30 if you book early, to £100+ if you’re a bit lastminute.com.
The other options are to drive or take the ferry.  But as we live so centrally in London, the Eurostar worked really well for us.
The price and convenience makes Paris a great weekend getaway.  To give you some context, it takes the same time to get from London to Manchester, and is a similar price range.  Where would you rather go?

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #1 – Marvel at the Eiffel Tower

The illuminatations of the Eiffel Tower at night
The Eiffel tower illuminations
Of course, no trip to Paris is complete without the obligatory trip to the Eiffel Tower.
When I went as a college student, I got to see it from a distance during the day.  However, it really comes alive at night, with a strobing light show which illuminates the city.
This time around, on our grown up trip, we actually went right up to and under the Eiffel tower, to experience the full gravity of it.
We did contemplate climbing up the tower, however, as the queue was so long, we decided to give it a miss. But I honestly don’t think we were worse off for it.  I would much rather have a view of the Eiffel
tower than look out of it at other sites.

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #2 – Mooch around The Louvre

The Mona Lisa at the Louvre
The famous Mona Lisa

Home to the Mona Lisa, the Louvre is a must-see during a Parisian city-break.  Outside the Louvre is a stunning set of glass pyramids with many fountains, making for a great picture opportunity (or ten).

Historic Greek God statues at the Louvre
Inside it seems that the Louvre has pinched the best paintings and statues from across Europe, with Greek Gods, the Three Graces and numerous historic ceramics holding court at the museum.  You could easily while away a few hours there.
And of course, as well as being home to Mona Lisa, there are some other surprises at the Louvre, such as Chinese and Iran inspired ceramics.

Ceramics inspired by Iran and China at the Louvre

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #3 – Jardin de Luxembourg

The grounds of the Jardin de Luxembourg
Jardin de Luxembourg
The Jardin de Luxembourg is the second largest park in Paris.  The park houses the Luxembourg palace, which was built in the 17th century, by Maria de Medicis, the widow of Henry VI.  Maria wanted the palace to be in the style of the park in her native Florence, so the Jardin and Palace has a real Italian feel about it.
The palace is stunning and the garden stretches as far as the eye can see.  It’s a great place to sit with a sandwich, or just walk through and take in the scenery.

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #4 – Grande Mosquee de Paris

Inside the cafe of the Grande Mosquee de Paris
The restaurant area in the Grande Mosquee de Paris
Blue ceramic tiles line the Grande Mosquee de Paris
Grande Mosquee de Paris

Situated near the Jardin de Luxembourg is the mosque of Paris, a stunning, mosaic-tiled mosque which has a café and Turkish bath open to the public.  The Mosque café is pretty and has a middle-eastern influence with its white-pillared architecture and ottoman-style tables.  You can come here and grab some mint tea, tagine or couscous all at a reasonable price.

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #5 – Go walkabout

Paris is nothing if not a visual feast.  The great thing is, rather than paying through the nose for activities, the break is best spent walking around and admiring the sites. In fact, I think we trekked around five miles on our first day alone – so I definitely earned my 7.30pm chocolate crepe.
Here are some of the sights we took in:
The busy streets of Paris
Academie Nationale de Musique in Paris
The towering Place de la Concorde monument in Paris
The gold-topped National des Invalides in Paris
The Notre Dame Cathedral, made famous by Quasimodo

 

Things to do in Paris on a weekend break #6 – eat (of course)

The famous lit windmill at the Moulin Rouge in Paris
The infamous Moulin Rouge

 

Pastry and baguette served in a Paris cafe

One thing I have to say that was slightly disappointing about Paris is that a lot of the food was off-limits for me.  As halal food was scarce in mainstream cafes and restaurants, we had to opt for vegetarian and fish options when eating out.  However, there were enough eateries dotted around where we stayed to choose from.

We initially went to a few small cafes, but we quickly found that bread and oil soon got boring, so we needed something a bit more flavoursome, or at least a home comfort.
In the end (shamefully) we ended up in a Moulin Rouge district, where we found an array of halal takeaways.  This let us get our fill of pizza, chips and other very uncultured food.
On our last day we did find as ‘Asian’ area near the Gard du Nord train station. It served curry, biryani and everything else.  However as we were about to leave, it was a little too late.
However, Paris is great for snacking, with crepe stalls on every corner, which meant that we could stop for fuel between our mammoth walks.
So for a visual feast that’s not too far from home, Paris is a great weekend getaway.

For my review of where we stayed in Paris, click here.

HalimaBobs

About the Author

HalimaBobs

I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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