Unfortunately for me, I haven’t experienced anything in the way of romance in Paris, ever… the city of love. In fact my two most recent visits have coincided with political turmoil and terrorist attacks, so my timing leaves much to be desired. I can’t say the same for the city itself though, as Paris ticks all my boxes no matter the situation I arrive to. I recently returned from a day trip there with my best friend, Silvana. It was her first time so we tried our best to pack as much in to 12 hours as possible. Thanks to a very reasonably priced, 12€ underground day ticket, I think we did pretty well. So here you have it, my advice on what to do, see and eat with 12 hours to spend in Paris!
THE EIFFEL TOWER
Would it even be a trip to Paris without a picture posted to social media next to the Eiffel Tower? I think not. Even with only 12 hours in Paris the Eiffel Tower is a must. My advice, to avoid the majority of the crowds catch a tube to Trocadero station and walk to Place du Trocadero. There you get an uninterrupted view of the Eiffel Tower and surrounding cityscape. If you are brave enough to get closer to the base of the tower, I wish you luck! As we were short on time, we left it at that,
ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Another must see/ photograph monument in Paris, it is surrounded by an extremely busy roundabout which I believe you have to pay to access the middle of and base of the arch. Charles de Gaulle is the best tube stop for you and means you can wander down The Avenue des Champs-Elysees while you’re in the area.
LUNCH IN THE LATIN QUARTER
Again, in an effort to avoid the crowds we ventured to the Latin Quarter for lunch. Specifically to Pink Mamma pictured above. It’s a dinky little Italian restaurant, not expensive but has a beautiful bar and interior generally, friendliest staff and to die for fresh pizza and semolina pasta. A few minuets walk from Blanche tube station and The Moulin Rouge, this is easy to work into 12 hours in Paris.
In hindsight maybe we should have gone somewhere French? But, due to the running around and long walks, carbs were desperately needed so Italian made sense. If you have any recommendations for traditional, non-touristy French restaurants in Paris (or even London!), please let me know.
Somehow I have managed to avoid ever entering The Louvre… I don’t know how and I’m not happy about it! But every trip, I have enjoyed wandering by the glass pyramids, through the courtyards and gardens. It is my second favourite place in Paris, especially early before it gets busy. We asked, what turned out to be the most amazing woman, to take a picture for us which is one of my favourites from the day. Due to the Gilets Jaunes riots, the Louvre was actually closed the day we were there which is a shame. Still, I’ll be back soon!
While you’re near The Louvre, visit Le Palais Royal. It is equally as beautiful architecturally and has two really photographable art instillation within its courtyards to enjoy too.
Like The Louvre, Notre Dame was closed but I have actually been inside so wasn’t too worried. However, if you haven’t it is worth a little look! From here you should cross the the river to Le Marais, the old town. Now this is my favourite part of Paris as the historic architecture, narrow streets and stone roads take you back in time and give you a sense of what Paris would once have been like. It is also one of the best shopping areas, and I think, the best place to find a hotel if you are staying for more than a day. There are lots of cool bars and lovely looking restaurants to explore there too.
We got the Eurostar from England to Paris, specifically Gare du Nord. The tourist information booth/mini room there have tourist maps which include the location of every place I have mentioned (bar Pink Mamma) and a tube map. They are free and definitely worth picking up as, if you have a little longer in Paris than we did, you can choose a few other key locations to visit from the map. 12 Hours in Paris definitely isn’t long enough but we made the most of our trip!