Like most people, I’m a bit of a sucker for cheap flights when I see them – so, when I discovered a Ryanair flight to Paris for £15.99 I just had to book my ticket!
Unfortunately, there was a catch. I could only find one seat left at this price – so My Husband and I ended up paying around £50p.p for a return ticket from Manchester Airport to Paris Beauvais Airport, which wasn’t too shabby in the grand scheme of things…
On top of the flight prices, we had to factor in Airport transfers – which would have cost us around €90 in an Uber! Thankfully, there was the option of a coach transfer directly from Beauvais Airport into Porte Maillot. The transfer took around 40-50 minutes, but could have taken us a whole lot longer had there been traffic… so just make sure you allow for this if you’re planning on using this service yourself. The shuttle bus cost us €17 each way.
Where We Stayed…
When we arrived in Paris, we hopped on the nearest Metro to our hotel, the Astotel Palm: 3 star lodgings located in the 9th Arrondisement…(ideally located and about a 5 minute walk to Cadet or Notre-Dame-de-Lorette Metro Stations.)
We paid £119 a night through Trivago/Otels.com, though the hotel prides itself on offering the best rates directly through them, at an average of £100 a night – if only we’d known this sooner!
We were delighted to discover the hotel offered a free mini bar service in the lobby, as well as the choice of visiting any of their 16 sister hotels and making use of their free refreshment facilities too… In addition to this, we had a mini bar in the room which was restocked once during our 3 night stay.
I was rather excited as we checked in, as I had emailed ahead after booking and requested a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Though, to my dismay, I was advised that these rooms were very limited and could not be guaranteed… even after offering to pay extra for a room upgrade, I was just told that a note of my request had been made and there was no option to upgrade.
We were given room number 405 – and I was certain we were onto a winner, being on the fourth floor should put us in good stead for having a decent view, surely? We trundled into the lift and ascended to the room. To our horror, we opened the door of the room to find another woman’s belongings and suitcase spread across the bed. We backed out nervously (and quickly!) and made our way back down to reception. The reception staff made a joke of the situation and blamed the faux pas on a problem with the computers… we were promptly relocated to another room – number 205. Thankfully, there was no one else lurking around this one, but my hopes for a decent view were dashed.
With a lean over the windowsill we could just make out the tip of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. It wasn’t brilliant, and could possibly be mistaken for the Blackpool Tower, but it would do!
Overall, our stay at the Astotel Palm hotel was ok, the beds were comfy enough and the FREE continental breakfast on offer was tremendous. The location was great – just a short walk to the Sacre Cour and on to Montmatre (though sadly we didn’t realise this until an hour before we checked out…)
What we did…
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France
Admittedly, I’m not a huge art fanatic – but I’ve always wanted to visit The Louvre, and I was so pleased we did. The amount of spectacular art on show was INCREDIBLE. I was overwhelmed at the amount.
There was no way we had time to critique every painting on display, but we tried to squeeze in as much as we could in our morning visit – including an underwhelming peak at The Mona Lisa. We also managed to treat ourselves to a coffee and a ‘chocolate pyramid’ from the patisserie cafe – it was a decadent replica of the famous pyramids outside/inside of the gallery. Delicious!
See information on exhibitions here.
1 Avenue du Colonel Henri Rol-Tanguy, 75014 Paris, France
Some may find the idea a little morbid, but I’ve always been a little fascinated by the idea of visiting The Paris Catacombs. The tunnels hold the remains of more than six million and for those who are curious – it’s well worth a visit.
Only 200 people are allowed in The Catacombs at any one time. There are 130 winding steps to go down and 83 steps back up to street level.
Admission costs £26 for a skip the line ticket – which is really worth paying for as the queues can end up going for miles!
See more information on the official Catacombs website.
Notre Dame Cathedral
6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
Entrance to Notre Dame cathedral itself is free of charge – so suitable for all budgets. The stained glass windows are truly marvellous.
We had wanted to go up to the top of one of the towers, but as we had left it too late, all tickets were sold out – so book in advance if this is something you’d like to do to avoid any disappointment.
Rode a ‘Tuk tuk’
Location: most street corners 🙊
Be warned – there are a lot of con artists out there and we almost got stung ourselves! We were told our journey would cost €20 – when we reached the destination the driver started demanding €40… a little spat ensue, but we refused to pay anymore and walked away.
Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
If you’re planning a trip to the Palace of Versailles make sure you allow yourself at least an entire day (or more if you can – in order to see everything!).
It takes around 45 minutes to reach the palace by RER – it’s a short walk from either of the Versailles train stations.
I thoroughly enjoyed following in the footsteps of french royalty for the day and was astounded at the sheer vastness of the Versailles estate!
Alongside the palace itself, there are the opulent gardens, the Palaces of Trianon and the Estate of Marie-Antoinette – in order to see everything you’ll need to invest in the passport ticket… don’t make the mistake of buying single tickets for everything as it will cost more and will slow you down on the day.
Admission is free for under-18s, European Union residents under 26, schoolchildren, teachers in a French establishment with a Pass Education, disabled people and the person accompanying them, job seekers in France and recipients of minimum social benefits upon presentation of proof dated no more than 6 months previously, Ecole d’Art students.
More information can be found here.
Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France
We rounded off our trip with a last minute dash to the Galleries Lafayette – the view from the rooftop gallery is frankly unmissable! As well as the viewpoint, the shopping centre itself is breathtakingly beautiful inside and stocks all of your favourite designers.
Where We Ate…
La Terrasse Choron
4 Rue Choron, 75009 Paris, France
On our first evening, we decided to eat locally and walked down to La Terrasse Choron which we had passed on our walk to the hotel – we were lucky to get a table without a reservation as it was Friday night and very busy! Both the wine and the beer was brilliant and our food: Baked Camembert for me and Confit of Duck for the hubby, was absolutely delicious.
Le Chalet St Michel
43 rue de la Harpe, 75005 Paris, France
Believe it or not, not all food and drink is overpriced in Paris! Head to St Michel and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to great deals – a hoard of restaurants offer up set menu 3 course dinners from as little as €10 per person! We ate at Le Chalet St Michel – the restaurant was not too dissimilar from Gaston’s Tavern… I decided on the French Onion Soup, Lamb and Veg for my main and Creme Brulee to finish. My Husband had Salad, Steak and a Chocolate Fondant for pudding. As well as drinks, the bill came to about €30 – as a result of this my husband didn’t want to eat anywhere else for our trip!