Sunday 24 June 2018

Planning our Perfect Paris Getaway

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower by MarinaDa, thanks to Shutterstock

In July my Mum hits a big milestone age, I won't reveal as that's not my story to tell but we thought it was worth marking with something a bit special. My Dad isn't much of a traveller so he didn't fancy going abroad but Mum really likes to get away and has hardly travelled at all in her life. So lucky for me Dad offered to fund a trip for my brother and I to take our Mum away.

I knew straight away we'd go for a city break as we'll only be there three nights and I thought taking the Eurostar might be fun as neither my brother nor Mum have before and even for me it has been almost twenty years since the last time.

Arranging our Travel
I managed to get a good price on the Eurostar with the three of us travelling at decent times both ways for just £234. That's £78 each and I couldn't find a flight with better prices for daytime travel, I think the key is to book early. You seem to be able to book about six months before your date of travel and there are lots of £29 one-way deals at the moment.

Eurostar train

Finding Somewhere to Stay
I had a look on Airbnb and there are some amazing places to stay in Paris but its a very big city and as I do not know Paris, nor speak French I didn't feel confident to book this way. Hotels were my next port of call but because it was two adult females and one male it was a bit more tricky (and expensive) as we didn't want to just have three single beds in a poky room.

I ended up booking a one bedroom apartment with Accor. The Aparthotel Adagio access Philippe Auguste is a short walk away from Père Lachaise in Paris' 20th arrondissement and this should give us good access to all the tourist destinations whilst staying in a safe neighbourhood. I was surprised at just how expensive Paris is for booking accommodation, more so than London. I had to pay 463 Euros for three nights in the one bedroom apartment, which sleeps four and has a fully fitted kitchen, lounge, TV and Wi-Fi included. Of course you'll know that I do like a deal so I went via Quidco and was able to secure a fabulous £30.23 cashback on the booking

Getting about in Paris
We are planning to do most of our travel by the Paris Metro and I have to say that I don't fancy trying to purchase a ticket each time we board a train so I'm super pleased that our Paris Pass comes with a Paris Visite Pass (Travelcard) included in the price. It is valid to use for journeys in central Paris on the Metro, RER, Buses, Trams and SNCF, so we are all sorted, especially as Paris Pass provide a free downloadable travel map and comprehensive Paris tourist destination guide and map.

Paris Pass card
Image, thanks to Paris Pass

Let me Introduce you to the Paris Pass
Whilst we are in Paris, I'm thrilled that we each have a 2 day Paris Pass to use for our two long days whilst we are there but what is it, you might be wondering? It's a comprehensive sightseeing pass that allows us access to over 60 top attractions and museums in Paris but the bit I'm really excited about is that we'll also get to jump any queues at many of those attractions (those like Louvre Museum, Musee d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou and Grevin Wax Museum). I hate standing in line and our Paris Pass will allow us to walk right to the front and go straight in, saving valuable time and allowing us to see more of Paris. I was pleased to read that 83% of previous customers rated the pass excellent, very good or good for time saving.

Queue at Louve
They'll be none of this for us!
As well as the entrance to the attractions and museums, we also get the travel card that I've already mentioned and access on to the hop-on hop-off bus tour around the city, which normally costs 36 euros for an adult. This is going to be a great way for us to see many of the attractions and to get about as my Mum can't do masses of walking, especially hill walking due to her health.

I'm also excited to take the one hour river boat cruise on the Seine. I'm optimistic for good weather as it will be July we are there and we'll get to see Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Tuileries Gardens, Orsay Museum and Grand Palais to name just a few of the attractions along the side of the river.

river boat cruise on Seine
Tourist Cruise on the River Seine by Kavalenkava, thanks to Shutterstock
Building our Itinerary
I'm impressed that there is a sample itinerary on the Paris Pass site, I found this so helpful as it gave me an idea of where attractions are situated close to each other and thus we can be efficient with our time moving between them. There is also information for all the major attractions and this means I can find out what buses or tubes travel to them and with every page having the same format it means I am not spending ages going between websites and finding out the essentials. We may not have arrived yet but I'm already liking the Paris Pass.

I'm undecided at the moment if we should just arrive in Paris with ideas in our mind of what we want to do and then just take it as it comes and do whatever we fancy or if I ought to be a bit more structured and have a vague time plan so that we can ensure we get to all the places we want to. Advise happily taken on this front!

At the moment all I have booked is a trip up the Eiffel Tower on Mums birthday morning and dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in the evening. I had looked in to booking the Moulin Rouge but if we want to see the 9pm performance it is 132 euros each and that is just too far out of my price range!

Arc de Triomphe
Arc do Triomphe image by Matthew Dixon, thanks to Shutterstock

No matter, there are lots of other amazing things we can do and my brother has already put his requests in for visits to Musee d’Orsay and the Arc de Triomphe. Add those to my pre-made plans and desire to visit Sacré-Cœur and Musee du Louve and we are going to be plenty busy! I think its also important to leave some time to just wander and soak in the atmosphere of the City of Lights. I really do want to experience a fresh crepe and coffee at a street cafe!

Get your own Paris Pass
If you want to find out more about the Paris Pass check out the full information on their website.  Our two day passes cost 131 euros for an adult (teens and kids are cheaper) and the prices tend to get better with the more days you buy as the 6 day pass is just 244 euros. There also seems to be lots of deals around to get 10% or more off, so make sure you have a search of the web and sign up for the newsletter, which I've been emailed discounts with since signing up a couple of weeks back.

Not long now and I can't wait.  If you have any recommendations for a must visit place in Paris then do please leave me a comment. Thanks, Mich x

Why not pin this post for later?

Paris planning pin

Disclosure: I've been provided with a 2 day Paris Pass for each of us for the purpose of an honest review. I've not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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