On my France holiday to Paris, I stayed in the Maison Astor by Hilton as it was in a great location for the Metro and a short walk from the Champs-Élysées. We had a pre-planned itinerary in Paris which actually made the trip far more enjoyable as we knew what we were doing each day.
On our first day in the City of Love we headed to a Parisian bakery for Breakfast – every morning we left our hotel and wandered through the local streets until we came across an open local bakery where we could try the fresh pastries they had out. I highly recommend doing this wherever you stay – there will be plenty of options and you will end up having some of the best pastries of your life! Or head to one of the many cafés throughout the city and sample some of their fresh coffee, orange juice and pastries. Paris has a huge café culture so you will be amongst locals and tourists alike!
Getting around Paris was easy – we opted to ride on the electric scooters around the city, though if you are travelling with younger children you may want to take a taxi or Uber as the roads and paths can be busy! On our first morning in Paris, we went to the Louvre – this was an amazing museum filled with magnificent artwork, most famously the Mona Lisa. Visitors queue for a long while to see the painting of the Mona Lisa but unless you are desperate to see it from a front-on angle, I highly recommend just walking around the room the painting is hung in as you will still get a great view from outside the queue!
For our evening meal we had made reservations at one of the best Italian restaurants in Paris (in my opinion) “Big Love” – the menu here is seasonal so by the time you visit Paris it will have changed completely, though one item you can count on being there is the Margherita Pizza, which was actually one of my favourite dishes the restaurant did! Since visiting I have been to all the London locations of this chain, but nothing quite compares to Big Love in Paris!
After dinner we hopped on an electric scooter each and rode down the Champs-Élysées to the Arc de Triomphe and around the cobbled streets of Paris. This was such an amazing way to see the city as you had 360-degree views of your surroundings and was much quicker than walking!
On our second day we headed to Palace of Versailles on the train – some find the Metro easy to navigate, though we struggled to begin with but after speaking to a worker in the station we were able to catch the correct train! The Palace of Versailles was breath-taking – my partner who couldn’t be less interested in History even said this was his favourite part of our trip to Paris! Each room is exquisitely designed, and the gardens are so big you can hire a golf buggy to drive round them. You can even go canoeing or hire a paddleboat on The Grand Canal in the palace gardens! Versailles was a lovely location as well filled with cafés, shops, juice bars and beautiful buildings.
After making it back to Paris’ train station Gare du Nord, we caught an Uber to the Eiffel Tower as we had pre-booked tickets to go up! This was something I had always wanted to do as I loved the “romantic” nature of the experience, however out of everything this was my least favourite activity as it was extremely busy and expensive to purchase even water! After our trip up the Eiffel Tower, we headed to the Champ de Mars (the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower) to admire the structure from below. This was actually so much better than heading up the tower as we could sit in our own space on the grass, have a bite to eat and admire the Eiffel Tower in front of us! We even returned that evening to the Champ de Mars to see the Eiffel Tower light up as the city went dark. This was a whole new way to see the Eiffel Tower and it was equally as impressive, if not more so!
Before we left Pairs, we couldn’t pass up going to Disneyland Paris for a couple of days as we are regular Disney World Orlando visitors and wanted to see how the European counterpart compared! Contrary to popular belief, Disneyland Paris is not in Paris, in fact it is about 45 minutes outside of Paris by train or by car. We took the train from Paris Gare de Lyon to Disneyland as this was by far the cheaper option and checked into our Disneyland hotel for the night – Disney’s Newport Bay Club. Unlike in Walt Disney World, all of the Disneyland hotels are within a walkable distance to the parks - Disney’s Newport Bay Club was a 15-minute walk or 8 minutes via free shuttle bus! We stayed at the hotel for 1 night as this gave us access to the parks also. There were 2 parks to explore at Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, as well as a shopping and entertainment area like Disney Springs. Unlike Orlando, Disneyland Paris’ is home to Sleeping Beauty’s castle which was a great new attraction to see and take photos with, the park is home to both similar rides to Orlando and all-new rides we had never seen before like “Crush’s Coaster” and the Ratatouille roller-coaster (which is set to open in Walt Disney World as part of their 50th Anniversary event). Being set in France, Disneyland Paris is home to many fine dining options but Bistrot Chez Rémy was by far our favourite as you are transported into the world of Rémy from Ratatouille, with the restaurant décor being larger than life to simulate being shrunken down and the menu had excellent options!
All in all, our visit to Paris was unforgettable and though you can visit the city without going to Disneyland Paris, it just adds to the whole experience and makes it extra Magical – especially for Disney fans!