Monday 1 May 2023

A day trip to Paris from London

Paris. Also known as the city of love, the city of light and the fashion capital of the world. A quick 2 hours and 16 minutes train journey from London St. Pancreas station and you can be eating a croissant by the Eiffel Tower or walking down the river Seine with a baguette under your arm. Enough cliché stereotypes, let me tell you about my one-day trip to Paris and what you can expect. 

I went with my partner, and we caught the earliest train there and the latest train back to make the most of our daytrip to Paris - which is 6:01am and 21:13pm respectively. You need a valid passport to board the Eurostar and there are security checks prior to departure, similar to flying where you have to walk through a full body detector and luggage is scanned however, there are no liquid restrictions.

Arriving at Gare du Nord station is quick and there are no further checks so you're free to exit the station and begin exploring Paris. The first stop on our itinerary was lunch so we took a 20-minute leisurely walk to Au Petite Riche, a restaurant which has been serving traditional French cuisine since 1854. They are also known for serving the best creme brûlée in the city. The decor was very Belle Époque with brass, woodwork and mirrors appearing throughout the entire restaurant. Seating was available both upstairs and downstairs and although it was quiet when we first arrived, the atmosphere quickly began to become animated with locals arriving for the lunchtime rush. The seasonal menu was tasty and fresh. Oh, and the creme brûlée was simply divine. 

Now that our tummies were satisfied, we decided to take a stroll by the Seine before heading over to Sainte-Chapelle, a UNESCO world heritage site which was built in the mid 13th century by Louis IX, the previous king of France. With 1,113 individual stained-glass windows forming fifteen glass panels, the inside of the chapel glimmers when light comes through the windows. It's breath-taking. Just so you're not confused like I was, the room with the stained-glass windows is on the floor upstairs and access involves a short, spiral staircase. I also recommend pre-booking your tickets as there is otherwise a long wait and entry is not guaranteed. All tickets have a time slot and security checks are carried out before entering. 

To end our trip, we hopped on the metro and headed towards Carette, a cafe which went viral on TikTok for it's velvety, hot chocolate and heaping mound of whipped cream. It really lived up to the hype. It was dark, and decadent, rich, and creamy, and I could spoon in as much whipped cream as my heart desired. I was disappointed to find out that they were all out of croissants for the day, but it was almost evening by now. Alas, we had to make do with a chocolate éclair and slice of pistachio loaf cake, which were tasty but nothing spectacular. The star of the show was the hot chocolate and whipped cream. The café was lively, service was friendly and quick, and I found it to be the perfect relaxing activity after a long day of wandering the streets of Paris. 

Au revoir. 


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