A SOLO TRAVELER'S GUIDE TO A WEEKEND IN PARIS // PARIS, FRANCE

Each year, I make my pilgrimage to Paris. Some years it is intentional and others (who am I kidding - it is always intentional). Paris - feels like home to me. While some of it may be cliche, I don’t think you can go wrong with a trip to Paris. Walking along Champ d’elysses and seeing the Eiffel tower never gets old - no matter how many times I visit. I always travel Paris solo; it is one of those cities that is made for every kind of traveller - solo or otherwise. So ! If you have been thinking about a trip to Paris - you don’t have to wait till you can get friends on board; this is a destination you can explore on your own and have an incredible time. To help you plan your Solo trip, I thought I will share an itinerary from one of my trips. I stayed in the Montmartre area which is quickly becoming one of my favorites neighborhoods in Paris. I have stayed here my last three trips. I visited during the week; but this itinerary also works for a weekend getaway (returning late Sunday or early Monday morning).

If you want a more detailed itinerary of Paris - You can find it here

IMG_9282.jpg

DAY 1 - Arrival and Dinner at La boîte aux lettres.

I arrived early evening and did not feel like doing much. I took a stroll around the neighborhood to get my bearing and sort out where the nearest train station / bus stop is located ; find the supermarket and pharmacy (because French beauty products). After my usual familiarize myself to the area ritual; it was time for dinner.

Based on my research, La boîte aux lettres was one of the highly recommended restaurants in the area (and the only I could get reservation to with such short notice). Dinner was excellent - do not miss out on dessert - the Oreo Tiramisu incredible. Follow dinner up with a leisure stroll around the neighborhood. Keep an eye out for one of the three remaining original windmills. There are several bars and coffee shops scattered around for a nightcap if you don’t want to call it a night just yet.

IMG_8771.jpg
La boite aux lettres

DAY 2. Breakfast at Fragments to start off the day

This is a cash only restaurant in Le Marias serving up incredible brunch options. If you need a quiet place to plan your itinerary or get some work done. This is a perfect spot.

Fragments Paris
Fragments Paris

DAY 2 - Visit Shakespeare and Company.

The iconic bookstore on the left bank is probably the most famous bookstore in the world and known as home to literary greats like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. It gets crowded with fellow tourist at certain times, but if you can find a spot, grab a book from the cart and catch up on some reading (if you have the time). If you are in a hurry - take your pictures and head on to the Notre Dame.

IMG_8847.jpg
IMG_8858.jpg
IMG_8849.jpg
IMG_8853.jpg

DAY 2 - Notre dame

The Notre Dame cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in France (and the world). Take a stroll around it ; if the queue is not too long; get in line to climb up the tower for incredible views of the city. There are intricate architecture details on the facade and entry way so make sure to look up so you don’t miss it.

IMG_8872.jpg

DAY 2 - Visit Sainte-Chapelle on the Ile de la Cite

Admire the beauty of the magnificent glass stained windows. This is said to have been built to receive the crown of thorns of Christ and a piece of the real cross. How incredible is that history ?

IMG_8925.jpg
IMG_8920.jpg
IMG_8908.jpg
IMG_8878.jpg

DAY 2- Explore Jardin de Luxembourg.

The lavish gardens and fountains seems like another world. It is located in the 6th arrondissement. If you can pack a picnic - this is a great picnic spot for locals and tourists alike. There is a fountain tucked away that is a great place to rest your feel and enjoy some serenity.

IMG_9003.jpg
IMG_8969.jpg
IMG_8958.jpg
IMG_8989.jpg

DAY 2- Visit Maison de Victor Hugo’s

Explore the grounds Victor Hugo’s home. The author of Les Miserables lived here for sixteen years. The structure is now a museum celebrating his life and work. There is a park across the street that is perfect spot to rest up or to reassess your itinerary.

IMG_9014.jpg
IMG_9024.jpg
IMG_9020.jpg
IMG_9017.jpg
IMG_9010.jpg
IMG_9012.jpg
IMG_9031.jpg

DAY 2 - Have falafel at L’As Du Falafel in Le Marais and explore Le Marais

These are the best Falafel I have ever had. Be prepared to queue and have cash on hand. Just around the corner is Chez Marianne - the exterior of this famous restaurants is synonymous to this area of the city; Le Marais is another great Paris neighborhood; If you the time - stroll around and discover another area of the city.

IMG_9073.jpg
IMG_9041.jpg
IMG_9062.jpg
IMG_9087.jpg
IMG_9057.jpg

DAY 2 - Relax at Palais-Royal. You know those stripped columns that pop up in all the Paris Instagram feeds ? This is where you find them.

IMG_9118.jpg
IMG_9116.jpg

DAY 2 - Visit the Lourve pyramids

The Lourve pyramids are just as famous as the museum itself. I always visit when I am in Paris; it is great spot for a quick break and people watching. If you want to explore the Lourve , you should plan at least a half day to fully explore the museum. If you don’t have the time - then make sure to visit the courtyards and the pyramids at least.

IMG_9140.jpg
IMG_9137.jpg

DAY 2 - [Window] Shop at Galeries Lafayette

I don’t usually shop when I travel, but I enjoy visiting this department store in Paris. The decor and opulence should not be missed and if you are one who likes to shop while traveling, this stop is a win-win.

IMG_9167.jpg
IMG_9170.jpg
IMG_9163.jpg

DAY 2 - Dinner at Le Coq Rico

This is another highly recommended restaurant in Montmartre. Make sure you call ahead to reserve a table. If you are traveling solo ask for a chair at the bar - you get a view of the kitchen and can watch the chefs prepare your meal. If you enjoy that sort of thing, then I recommend it. After dinner, take a stroll around the neighborhood; don’t miss Moulin Rouge (at least the exterior facade). You will need to purchase a ticket if you want to see a show.

IMG_9194.jpg
IMG_9210.jpg

DAY 3 - Brunch at Holy Bell

This is an American-esque restaurant with Parisian flair. I highly recommend the pancakes. You will thank me later. There are two locations of this restaurant . Go early to avoid a wait.

IMG_9230.jpg
IMG_9239.jpg

DAY 3 - Visit the Eiffel Tower

It is a symbol of the city and you should not miss it. I recommend seeing it twice - once in day light and once at night when it lights up. If you have got time, you should book a ticket to go to the top of the Tower. Get your tickets online in advance and save yourself time queuing up.

IMG_9292.jpg
IMG_9274.jpg
IMG_9269.jpg

DAY 3 - Make a stop at the Arc d’ Triomphe

If you have the time and wish to get a great view of Paris or the Eiffel tower; you can get tickets to go the top. Wear comfortable shoes and grab a bottle of water. There are over two hundred steps to get to the top.

IMG_9306.jpg
IMG_9299.jpg

DAY 3 - Visit Place de Vendôme

The Place de Vendome is on the other end of the Avenue from The Arc d’ Triomphe. You can get there either by metro or you can choose to take a leisure trek from the Arc to Place de Vendome. This is one of the most beautiful squares in France. It is flanked by high end stores like Louis Vuitton and five star hotels including the Park Hyatt - Vendome.

IMG_9337.jpg
IMG_9329.jpg
IMG_9318.jpg

DAY 3 - Sweet Treats at Angelina

Order a dessert and their famous hot chocolate. Don’t worry this is not one those places that automatically assigns the solo diner to the bar. You get a proper table. There will most likely be a line so be prepared to wait. During this visit, the line was incredibly long when I stopped by and I had a tour booked so I left and returned after my tour. They are open till 9 p.m.

IMG_9469.jpg

DAY 3 - Relax at the Tulleries Garden

The public garden is a great place to relax from your itinerary; maybe picnic as well. If you to do neither, it is a great stop in Paris and within proximity of the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.

IMG_9442.jpg
IMG_9490.jpg

DAY 3 - Take a walking tour of one of Parisian neighborhoods

There are several neighborhoods in Paris worth exploring and several walking tour available to choose from. I have always wanted to explore Montmartre. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and has such an incredible history. The tour started at the Blanche train station and ended at Sacre Coeur.

IMG_9395.jpg
IMG_9398.jpg
IMG_9403.jpg
IMG_9408.jpg
IMG_9437.jpg

DAY 3 - The Lourve pyramids at night

Similar to Eiffel tower, the view of the Lourve pyramids at night is completely different to the view in daylight. if you can, I recommend visiting in the evening as well. An alternative is to visit the Eiffel tower in the evening. There is a light show runs every night, every hour on the hour.

IMG_9508.jpg
IMG_9493.jpg

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER - THE FRENCH RIVIERA TOWN TO ADD TO YOUR ITINERARY

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER

My travel guru/travel bff (in le dreams) - Margo of Overseas Escape recommended this as a must see in French Riviera so after my morning in Antibes, I took the train heading to the Italian village of Ventimiglia (with a stop in Ville Franche Sur Mer). It cost a little under 6 euros. I was not sure what to expect, but I knew if Margo recommended it, it had to be pretty spectacular.

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
IMG_0695.jpg

My nose was pressed against the window in anticipation and I could tell we were close when I saw the beautiful (and colorful) homes on the hillside overlooking the Ocean. The views were incredible and if the rumors are true - I understand why Elton and Madonna have villas here. I jumped out of my seat as the train pulled into the station - (think little kid on Christmas morning excitement).

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER

To be honest, I had no real plans of how to spend my time here - I just wanted to see what everyone has been raving about. As I walked into town from the train station, I noticed boats on the harbor and debated taking a harbor cruise but talked myself out of it - I have terrible seasickness and did not come prepared to be out on the sea. Instead, I decided to walk into town to pick up snacks for my day at the beach.

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER

Just as an aside I know why everyone I saw here was in great shape. Walking into town was a workout; those stairs are not for the faint of heart. It took about an hour to get into town - in part because I had to stop a few times to catch my breath but also because every corner was a sight to behold - so beautiful. I gave up trying to photograph at every turn because I will never have made it to the beach.

VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER

An hour after I got off the train, I finally made it to the top of the hill. Walked around a bit, saw a few tourists and I thought about joining the group going on a walking tour of the city, but to be honest I really just wanted a day to do nothing and the laying on the beach in November seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. I ducked into the first patisserie I saw - Chez Marie for pastries and beverages for my afternoon beachside. Then I made the trek down from the town to the beach where I spent the rest of the afternoon people watching and stuffing my face with food. 

IMG_0915.jpg
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
IMG_0907.jpg
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER
VILLE FRANCHE SUR MER

WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT THE VILLAGE ATOP THE HILL <> EZE , FRANCE

Under 20 minutes by bus from Monaco or Nice, this anicient village atop the hill is worth your time. if only for the jaw dropping views from Jardine de exotique which sits at the top of the hill. It will cost you about 6 euro to access the garden, but the views of the French Riviera is worth every penny.

Eze is also home to two Grasse perfumeries where you can make your own perfumes. I went just for the views.

The bus from Nice dropped off just off the main road leading up to the hillside. I recommend the bus as the cheapest, quickest option. If you take the train, you stops at Eze sur-Mer which is the beach side town and it is quite a hike to get to Eze village.

Just before heading up hill, I stopped by the grocery shop just a few steps from the bus stop grab a bottle of water and snack before heading uphill.  The best decision of my morning - the trip up is quite steep and my quads were not amused. A bit further up the hill, I found the visitors center which offered a map of the village and then up hill I went past other tourists and shops selling souvenir, clothing, herbs and restaurants before finally arriving at the garden where I spent most of my time taking in the view of valley, Eze sur-Mer and the mediteranian. More than great views, the garden also has a collection of sculpture by Jean-Philippe Richard and some exotic plants and cactus. On the way back down the hill, I made a stop by the old Church which is built on the foundatoins of a 12th century church and features a two-level square view. The court around the church also offers a great view of the valley.

If you are ever in these parts, there is one view you should not miss, from the top tip of the exotic gardens, facing west towards the tiny peninsula of cap ferret. The view of the French Riviera is spectacular.

For more travel stories and tips - Visit the Wanderful Wednesday linkup - here

 

 

Postcard from Nice, France

I am in full vacation mode. Left the French Riviera a few days ago and I am having serious separation issues - who knew a person could love a place so much in so little time. My last day in Nice was very relaxing and with the incredible weather Nice has been experiencing - I spent the day beachside with a book. Such a lovely day.

I am staying up late and sleeping in , eating my weight in food, working out regularly, catching up on my netflix queue and loving every moment of it. I woke up early this morning to edit some pictures for the next Portland | Grace shop collection before heading out for the day. 

I could not resist sharing a few snapshots from Nice. It is an incredibly beautiful city with amazing and kind people, gourgeous scenerary and some amazing food. The only thing absent is my ability to communicate fluently (that will be remedied before my next trip to France). 

Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France
Nice, France