Paris Summer Guide

Wednesday 24 June 2015

This Paris summer guide is by no means all-encompassing or reflective of all the wonder and charm Paris has to offer. My dream one day is to live in Paris for a short time, learn French and become familiar with all the distinctive hidden gems and treasures that make Paris so magical. Until then, this is simply a mini-guide to the city and how I spent the majority of my long weekend there in early June. Luckily for me, my trip coincided with a burst-of-summer heatwave with temperatures in the high twenties {low 80's} and cloudless blue skies. I've had a life-long love affair with Paris since spending summers there as a child and this trip rekindled my profound love for the city and all things Parisian. I've left out the obligatory bucket-list museums and churches like the Louvre, Musèe d'Orsay and Notre Dame only because I've visited Paris before and I prefer to occupy cold winter days with warm museum visits. This post is all about summer in Paris: long days, picnics, coffee and beautiful Parisian gardens.

1. Strolls along the Seine

Thankfully I went to Paris with a friend who enjoys walking as much as I do. Although I bought a five day metro card {for 35} I didn't get as much use out of it as I initially thought because the weather and scenery were too perfect not to walk everywhere. We walked for hours, zig-zagging across famous bridges, taking in the stunning architecture and stopping for ice cream before continuing on. Walking along the river is the most pleasant and efficient way to see the city by foot since all of Paris' iconic sites are less than a stone's throw from the banks of the Seine.

2. Jardin des Tuileries

Tuileries is the ideal garden to sit, relax and eat ice cream on a hot summer's day. The park is situated between the Louvre on one end and Place de la Concorde on the other. Its central location makes it a dreamy retreat after a full day of museums and lines of tourists. Jardin de Tuileries is sandwiched between breathtaking Parisian architecture and lined with beautiful statues just in case you need another dose of art during museum breaks.

3. Coffee on Boulevard Saint-Germain

My perfect start to the day is a warm summer morning which includes coffee and breakfast on Boulevard Saint-Germain. I love sitting outside sipping my coffee and watching the passersby go about their day. This cafe is excellent for people watching and ideally situated next to Louis Vuitton with a perfect vantage point for admiring their window display. 

Cafè de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris

4. Roland Garros

One of my favourite things about summer is watching the tennis. Grab a picnic, a bottle of wine and find a spot in the sun to watch the French Open. Watching the tennis at the foot of the Eiffel Tower was definitely a 'pinch me' moment. Hopefully next year I can get myself organised in time to attend Roland Garros properly. 

5. Pâtisserie Hopping
La Pâtisserie de Gilles Marchal, 9 Rue Ravignan, Paris 75018
Dalloyau, 2 Place Edmond Rostand, Paris 75006

Being the glutton that I am, food, especially sweet treats, genuinely make me very happy. A trip to Paris would be nothing without indulging in the buttery goodness of croissants, pain au chocolat and other delicacies on display within the hundreds of Pâtisseries in Paris. I personally like to live by the rule of an-éclair-a-day whilst in Paris. Warning: try not to make the same mistake as I did by attempting to eat an èclair in record time which resulted in getting hazelnut cream down my white dress. Luckily, the èclair was worth it!

6. Square René Viviani 

Square René Viviani is the most romantic little square, I couldn't think of anywhere more idyllic to spend an evening with my other half. Since this trip was in the company of a dear friend, our time was spent eating and siteseeing without much focus on love. However, since I plan to come back to Paris with my other half, I made a note of all the romantic spots to visit as a couple and this was by far my favourite. Surrounded by red roses in full bloom and Notre Dame in view, it would be the ideal spot to have an evening of cheese and wine with the person you love. 

7. Champ de Mars

It's wonderful to know that no matter where you sit in Champ de Mars you will always have an uninterrupted view of the Eiffel Tower

8. Dinner in Place Victor Hugo 

Whenever I'm in a new city I always like to play the 'where would I live' game (assuming funds were not an issue of course). For me, I would choose the 16th arrondissement preferably somewhere within walking distance to Place Victor Hugo. It has a buzzing energy that I didn't encounter in any other part of the city. Restaurants and bars were full of people chatting and enjoying the warm summer evening. It was less touristy than other parts of the city and my friend and I felt like local Parisians enjoying a nice meal and glass of wine. 

Romeo Restaurant, 6 Place Victor Hugo, 75116 Paris

9. Montmartre
Spend a day getting lost along the narrow cobblestone streets of Paris' bohemian neighbourhood. With so many quintessentially Parisian cafès and pâtisseries it's easy to wander around for hours stopping at different cafès along the way. There are also plenty of small boutiques and shops if one feels so inclined to buy gifts for themselves or family. If that doesn't do it for you, go for the view, it's the best in all of Paris.

10. Jardin du Luxembourg

My absolute favourite park in Paris. It would be impossible to leave here without feeling happier than when you arrived. The summer months are warm with pretty flowers in bloom all around the park. I took a long stroll around Jardin du Luxembourg and enjoyed how green and colourful it all was under the bright blue sky. There are plenty of green chairs scattered around the park so it's easy to find a place to read a book or just relax while enjoying the beauty of Luxembourg Palace. 

11. Cheese and Wine in Odéon

Stop for cheese and wine in one of my favourite areas, Odéon. It's such a pretty part of Paris to walk around, great for walking off all the cheese and bread happily sitting in one's belly. 

Ambassade de Bourgogne, 6 Rue de l'Odéon, 75006 Paris 

12. Paris at night 

There is something truly magical about seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night, it made me feel lighter and happy to see an iconic site twinkling against a deep blue sky just before night falls and the sky turns completely dark. The hour or so after the sun has set but before night falls is my favourite time to see Paris. That moment when you notice the twinkling Eiffel Tower and glimmering street lights reflecting off the River Seine is a special one to add to the memory bank of happy moments.

Parisian Doors

Tuesday 9 June 2015

One of my favourite things about visiting European cites, especially Paris, is wandering down (preferably cobblestone) streets with no particular destination in mind. For me, that's the best way to discover hidden city gems and beautiful Parisian doors. It's no secret that Paris has some door stunners and anyone who shares a door obsession will understand the impulse to photograph every pretty door in their path. Here are a few of my favourites from this week in Paris.

untitled-4.jpg Parisian Door Parisian Door Parisian Door Parisian Door
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