When my husband told me he had tickets for the Euro 2016 semi-final and final in France I immediately saw this as a great opportunity to take a holiday in the French capital of Paris.
Having never visited Paris before, I expected it to be very much like any other city such as London or New York but I was wrong.
We had opted to stay in the Bastille area of Paris just a few minutes' walk from Le Marais which is a really nice area with lots of little lanes full of cafes, restaurants, bars and boutiques. Our hotel was the 3* Paris Bastille which I have to say for a 3* property was very nice. It was in an ideal location with a metro stop directly opposite and the Gare de Lyon station just a 10 minute walk away.
Before we went I had booked tickets for a hop-on hop-off river cruise. The tickets cost £14 for a 1 day pass and £16 for a 2 day pass. With a 2 day pass we got to see all the major sights of Paris. The boat stops at 9 different points along the River Seine enabling you to see Hotel de Ville, the Louvre, Champs-Elysees, Beaugrenelle, Eiffel Tower, Musee d’Orsay, Saint-Germain-des-Paris, Notre-Dame and Jardin des Plantes. You can get on and off the boat as many times as you like with the last boat leaving the Eiffel Tower at 9.30 p.m.
We cruised along the River Seine past Notre-Dame and getting off at the Louvre where we walked past the iconic glass pyramid and through the Tuileries Garden. We carried on walking right the way down the Champs Elysees stopping in some of the shops along the way to the Arch de Triumph and then onto the famous Eiffel Tower.
The second day using the boat tickets enabled us to go back to the places we wanted to spend more time at and for me this was the Eiffel Tower. Having only ever seen the replica in Las Vegas, I was amazed by the tower, it really is stunning.
Thursday evening we enjoyed a show at the Lido which is along the Champs Elysees. The show is a cabaret show with a mix of singing, dancing, mime artists, sword swallowing and lots more. It’s a great show to go and see and one that I will be recommending. It is typically French which makes it even more enjoyable.
On Friday we caught the train from Gare de Lyon to Marne la Vallee which is where the train stops for Disneyland. The train takes you right up to the gate which is really convenient. We had a 1 day 2 park hopper ticket which enables you to go between Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios as much as you want throughout the day. For anyone that has been to Walt Disney World in Florida, the Paris version is very similar but just on a much smaller scale. All of the rides, restaurants and the Magic Parade are just as amazing!
More sightseeing took us around Le Marais and up to the Sacre Coeur on Montmartre hill. The Sacre Coeur is a must for anyone visiting Paris, it’s a tough walk but so worth it and there are plenty of cafes at the top to stop and have a nice drink and a pastry!
A Paris night time illuminations tour took us around the city by boat and coach before heading up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower just in time for it to be lit up. The views are absolutely spectacular but it’s not for the faint hearted.
Paris is such a beautiful city with so much to see and do and is now firmly at the top of my favourites list.