Ah, Paris! There is no other city in the world which screams style and romance as much as the French capital. It is also extremely accessible from the UK by plane and train, making it the ideal destination for a weekend city break. But how on earth do you cram in all of the sights and experiences to be had in Paris in the space of a few days?
Well, first things first: your travel times are of the utmost importance and should be paid close attention. After all, if you are arriving late on a Friday evening and flying home late Sunday night then you actually have less than two days in ‘Gay Paris’.
Once you have arrived you will want to get your bearings. I always find that one of the best ways to do this when you arrive in any city is to take the open top bus tour. You all know the one I mean and they operate in all of the major cities. The great thing about these tours is that you can purchase a ticket for the whole day and hop and off the bus at whichever stops take your fancy. If you are planning to take in the main tourist attractions then this is definitely the most hassle-free way of doing so.
However, riding on an open top bus may not be the most aesthetically pleasing way of touring such a chic city. As an alternative you may wish to consider a river cruise along the Seine. This is certainly the more romantic option if you are with a loved one. You can also choose how long you wish to spend on the boat - from an hour up to around an hour and a half - which means it needn’t take up too much of your precious time.
In terms of eating in Paris, there is no shortage of options. For lunch you are likely to choose a quick bite to eat where you can rest your weary legs for a half hour. There are so many cafés and bistros to choose from at lunchtime and you are likely to be served quickly as time is of the essence for most of the city’s occupants at this time of day. Most wines will be palatable in Paris but you can always ask your waiter for a recommendation if you are unsure. You will also find that lunchtime menus are more affordable.
Your hotel staff should be able to give you advice regarding things to do in the evening. Obviously the most popular options are eating and drinking but there are also plenty of walking tours available. To see Paris in the evening is such a different experience to viewing the city by day, especially with the light show from the Eiffel Tower.
The ideal place to start taking in Parisian culture is at the Musee du Louvre but I would recommend getting there as early as possible as the queues form very quickly. You do not want to spend your day queuing! The Louvre, however, is huge and you may wish to plan which exhibits you are most interested in viewing. Remember this is the home of the famous Mona Lisa so you should take time out to see what all the fuss is about.
You will find most of your day is taken up with the Louvre but you can unwind from the overwhelming experience by taking a wander through the Tuileries Quarter. If you are there with your partner this will afford some romantic alone time but it is a lovely walk no matter who your companion is. It is always nice to balance the busier tourist attractions with some quiet time just taking in the scenery.
For Saturday evening I have no doubt that French cuisine will once again be on your agenda. You might wish to head to the Opera Quarter to take in a show. You can choose from a number of theatres and opera houses. If you are looking for something a bit more lively, you can ask locals for the best nightclubs.
If you have any money left my main recommendation would be shop, shop, shop! Obviously your choice of shop depends on your budget but even if you have little cash left you should definitely check out the high-end designer stores on the Champs Elysees.
For your final destination, if you haven’t already done so, you should take a trip to the very top of the Eiffel Tower. The view is truly spectacular. If it is a nice day you can also enjoy a picnic in the surrounding park areas. There is always terrific ice cream on offer (I would go for the pistachio) and you can just chill out and relax before you have to make your journey home.