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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Paris In 24 Hours

I  have been lucky to be able to visit the city of lights, not once but twice (so far). Audrey Hepburn was quite right, Paris is always a good idea. All the more now with the Eurostar which delivers you straight right into central Paris via Gare Du Nord station.  My first visit several years ago was spent over three nights but the most recent was a hurried one, just over 24 hours to say the least. It was at the tail end of a bigger holiday in Disneyland with the five year old.

Paris has not changed much, it still has that quintessential elegance and charm. I have noticed though that the French were friendlier on this visit. I think it was the bonjours and the merci’s that we consciously added  to our sentences that made the difference this time.

There is so much to do in this magical city which, not surprisingly, always tops the list of the most visited city in the world.  From the culturally enriching museums , to the well-manicured gardens and world renowned landmarks, you are spoilt for choice whether you are in the city for a day or a week. Here is my list of favourite things to do and places to visit when in Paris that could be done in 24 hours.

          Angelina’s Tea Room (Le Salon De The’) –  Your first meal in Paris is best taken at Angelina’s Tea Room at Rue De Rivoli, a stone’s throw from the Louvre museum. Sipping their famous Chocolat Chaud Angelina, the most decadent hot chocolate you will ever have in Paris, coupled with a few bites from a macaron or the classic Mont-Blanc in the elegantly designed tea room is an experience in itself. Established in 1903, this exquisite place has seen the likes of Chanel and Hepburn. Angelina is not only famous for their pastries. They serve lovely meals as well and I could not recommend the Suprême de Volaille enough.

·         Louvre Museum (Musee de Louvre) – Considered as one of the biggest museums in Europe and the most visited in the world, it is home to thousands of historical masterpieces including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Alexandros of Antioch’s Venus De Milo to name a few. Of course, you cannot see the entire Louvre in a day but a quick visit to cast a glance at Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile or for a photograph beside I.M Pei’s iconic Louvre Pyramid always suffice.

·         Tuileries Garden (Jardin De Tuileries)   – Past the Louvre is the Tuileries Garden. Originally the garden of the Tuileries Palace, it was opened to the public after the French Revolution. A walk through this long stretch of beautiful greenery and fountains is what Parisian dreams are made of. Here you can stop at one of the outdoor cafes to have that longed for pan au chocolat from PAUL matched with a refreshing bottle of Evian or some aperitif. Better yet, grab one of those green chairs that abound and sit idly to relax your legs while admiring the beautiful fountains and watch the world go by.

·         Champs- Elysees Avenue (Avenues des Champs-Elysees)  / Arc de Triomphe -  The most famous avenue in the world, Champs-Elysee, is a foodie and shophaholic haven. The west side is bordered with shops, both designer and high street and there is variety of restaurants on offer. If you want to satisfy your sweet cravings, you can drop in at La Maison Laduree and indulge in one
of their macarons or madeleines .For a more formal dining, you can book a table at L’ Atelier De Robuchon, Joel De Robuchon's restaurant, the only chef in the world who holds the most Michelin star on all of his restaurants combined. Make sure you book way in advanced as we tried to book a table two weeks before our visit and we did not get a table. Otherwise, the Arch De Triomphe, located at the end of Champs-Elysees is also worth a visit.  Being at the top also gives you an unparalleled  view of Paris but without the long queues you get at the Eiffel Tower.

·         Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)-  A trip to Paris is not complete without seeing the Eiffel tower. Most tourists go to Paris with the main intention of seeing the most famous structure in the world, in all its glory and splendour. It is that part of the world where everyone dreams to be. Avoid the queue and book your tickets in advance or better yet, if you have some Euros to burn,  book a table at celebrated chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the second floor to jump the queue, literally and figuratively taking your Parisian experience to the next level.

 So,that is your 24 hours in Paris sorted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner with stunning views of Paris and a bit of shopping on the side. There is so much more to Paris than just the Eiffel tower or the Louvre so by all means explore as far as your feet can take you and see the city of lights the way your heart desires.
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