Sunday, 14 October 2012

Review: Paris City Break (March 2012)

This year I've taken two short breaks to Paris - firstly in March for my birthday, and again in September. As we enjoyed our time there so much, I thought I'd do a blog post and share my experiences with you all.

For our first trip we stayed at The Waldorf Trocadero.
The hotel is close to a number of attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe. I booked through's top secret hotel option - you select which area you want to be in and which star rating and then get given the full hotel details once your booking is confirmed. We were so happy with the allocation as I'd researched a few hotels near the Eiffel Tower, this being one of them, and managed a saving of over £100 on the normal cost of the room using this option.

As it was my birthday during our trip, we ordered breakfast in bed. Loads of yummy croissants, tea, coffee and my brekkie favourite - pains au chocolate! mmmmmmm!!

Eiffel Tower

For our first day in Paris, I'd booked a guided tour of the Eiffel Tower through Viator ( linked here ). The weather was so crisp and clear but bitingly cold - well worth taking some layers if your planning a trip around this time of year.

Our guide for the tour was brilliant. She was informative, energetic, patient and friendly. Being Canadian she was easy to understand and follow as she led us up and around the tower. We learnt some interesting facts about how and why it was constructed, and about events that have taken place both on and around the structure throughout history.

From the top of the tower, the views are amazing! There was something to pick out at every turn - so many Parisian landmarks dotted below us. Here are a couple of the pics we took to give you an idea of what you can see.

Notre Dame.

Sacre Couer.

There are souvenier shops, a restaurant and a museum within the levels of the tower. Our guide shared some useful info on travelling around Paris using the Metro system - a very cheap and effective way of packing in as much sight-seeing as possible - and details on additional tours run by the company.

Following our tour, we walked through the Esplanade du Trocadero - you'll be bombarded by street sellers offering cheap keepsakes and souveneirs here, stop still and they swarm around you - be firm in your refusals and be mindful to watch your valuables.

A few minutes walk away was the Cafe du Trocadero where we decided to lunch and watch the people bustling by. We both had the French Onion Soup and Raviolli with a bottle of white for me and red for the Mr. It was quite pricey but mainly due to the wine - the food was lovely and the atmosphere too.



My other half is an avid fan of The Doors music. As a result, he really wanted to go to Pere-Lachaise to see the grave of Jim Morrison.

The cemetery is the final resting place of many, many well known people. We totally underestimated the size of the graveyard! It took us more than two hrs wandering through the many streets and paths of this spectacular place before we found it! Should you want to visit, it's well worth investing in a map or doing your research first. Here's a link to the virtual guide.

It was an amazing place. So peaceful and beautiful. There were graves which were simple and undecorated, and there were tombs which were so ornate and detailed - a contrast you have to experience to appreciate. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of the intricate structures you can see.


O Chateau

We booked a two hour wine tasting with O Chateau mainly due to the fact we love wine! Me white, the Mr red. You can book the tours at this beautiful wine bar direct with the company here. The atmosphere was great and the small group size made it feel more intimate and private. We got to try a champagne as well as arange of white and red wines. 

The session was really relaxed. We learned about the different wine regions in France and how the bottles are labelled. We were shown how to determine whether a wine is sweet or dry, and how to detect the acidity using swirling and tasting techniques.

You can also purchase bottles to take away (which we took advantage of!) and were given a handy reference sheet to remind you how to continue enjoying wine and using the skills you picked up on during the tasting. We stayed at the wine bar for a few hrs after and tried a few more flights having spent some time talking with one of the bartenders.

It was a wonderful experience and one we would definitely recommend. 


Moulin Rouge

It was my birthday whilst in Paris so we booked the dinner and show package at the Moulin Rouge (again via Viator). The food was really good and included a half bottle of wine. The show was full of glitz and sparkle and although there was a lot of flesh being shaken and shimmied, it wasn't smutty. The dances were structured around the songs and told the story well. In between there were a few addtional extras - a huge water tank with snakes inside, into which one of the girls dived and weaved in and out of the serpents!! The wine menu was super expensive which was the only down-side. Be prepared to take a lot of cash or a credit card!

Sadly you aren't allowed to take pictures whilst the show takes place so I can't give you any sneak peeks on this one.


Notre Dame

An unmistakeable landmark. Amazing detail on the stonework surrounding the doors. The gargoyles featured on the sides of the building are quite intimidating as they stare down on you - eyes seeming to follow you as you pass. Considering how many people were outside, once you enter the cathedral, it's just so peaceful and quiet. We didn't take a guided tour of the building but it's definitely something I'd want to do in the future as it's such a well-known historical building it'd be great to get to know more about it.  

I'll add a few pics but say no more:


We also took a stroll down the Champs Elysees via the Arc De Triomph

(Crazy taxi has nothing on the driving there!), passed St Sulpice,

the outside of the Louvre, and ate a beautiful meal - tournados rossini - at Gaspard, a kosher, family run restaurant just opposite our hotel. There was just too much to pack into one visit to enjoy it all in one trip!

So, as you can see, there's plenty of things to see and do in Paris - it's a beautiful city and although some activities are expensive, getting around is cheap if using the Metro system (listen out for the buskers on board who go from carriage to carriage and watch your belongings!) or good old fashioned walking, and there are plenty of sites you can visit for free. You really do need to plan your trip to make the most of the time you spend in the city.

We had such an enjoyable time that on our return, I booked another trip for September which has noww been and gone - I'll blog about that one asap too.


I hope you've found my post interesting. I'd be keen to hear what places in Paris you've visited and would recommend.




  1. Lovely post! I went to Pere-Lachaise and persuaded my mates to come. They thought visiting graves would be odd but they loved it once we got there. This sounds exactly like the trip I did to Paris in September :) You should visit Marias next time you go, my favourite area x

    1. I've been twice now and loved both trips! Can't wait to go again. I just need to persuade my OH we can afford it! lol.