Pâtisseries à Paris

Paris is a city of temptation. With a boulangerie or patisserie on almost every street it’s pretty tricky not to find yourself indulging in croissant aux amandes or chausson aux pommes now and again…

Aside from your everyday bakery, Paris is home to high-end patisseries such as Ladurée and Angelina. These are by no means cheap and I definitely do not visit them often, but for a very occasional treat they offer a selection of beautiful pastries and macarons, and Angelina makes possibly the best hot chocolate I have every tasted!

I would reccommend booking a table if you plan to go to either of these, as they are very popular with tourists and otherwise you could face a long wait, especially at weekends. Their brunch, though expensive would be a great treat on a weekend trip to Paris, and fuel you up for a great day of sightseeing!

 

Day Trip – Château de Chantilly

The Château of Chantilly is fairly easy to get to from central, on either RER line D (45 mins) or the main line train from Gare du Nord (25 mins), then a 20 minute walk to the grounds.

The Château itself is really beautiful, it’s surrounded by a moat and looks like it’s floating – and the still water gives an amazing reflection of the Château. The castle was actually used in the James Bond movie A View to a Kill! 

There are also large gardens there, landscaped by the same man as the Palace of Versailles. We spent most of the day wandering around outside along the Grand Canal, and even found some Kangaroos!

One thing I would do in hindsight is remember to bring a packed lunch…There are two restaurants there, which are pretty exclusive and very expensive. We managed to get a table at one of these, where we had apple pie and Chantilly cream, which although delicious was slightly spoiled by the terrible service we received and extortionate prices…

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Marché aux Puces, Saint Ouen

Whether just looking for something off the beaten track in Paris, or on the hunt for Renaissance style period furniture and vintage clothing, Porte de Clignancourt was a very interesting place to visit.

Getting off at the metro it’s just a short walk, through the modern clothes markets, to the large Marchés aux Puces (flea markets). There are 14 markets here, each specialising in different things such as books, clothes, furniture or even statues. The market is considered the largest antiques market and second hand shop in the world and covers seven hectares. The markets vary from covered to open-air and sell various goods from many different countries and time periods.

We spent the morning strolling through several of these markets, looking at the different stalls selling a variety of things from Renaissance style furniture to vintage records, and there’s even a spaceship (which is actually one of the first ever mobile homes).

 

 

 

The Palace and Gardens of Versailles

Versailles is probably one of the most impressive and beautiful places to visit on your trip to Paris. It’s about 45 minutes on the RER C from central Paris (you have to buy a separate ticket for the train), then a short walk to the Château entrance. If you get there early the queue to get in is much shorter, but I’ve also read it’s worth getting there and exploring the gardens first and the Château in the afternoon as it’s less busy.

Considering how big it is, you only get to see a small section of the Palace, but the rooms are incredible – the ceilings especially are really beautiful so look up! You also get to walk through the famous Hall of Mirrors from which you get a great view over the gardens, and is also a room that has seen many important historical moments such as the signing of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I.

The most impressive part however has to be the extensive gardens. You could spend hours wandering around and still not see everything. We had a picnic by the lake, then hired rowing boats. After that we walked over to the Trianon Palace and Marie Antoinette’s Farm which is really adorable. There is a little train which we ended up taking back to the Château as it was really hot and we’d walked far.

Versailles is such a nice day out of Paris, especially in the Summer as you can take time to relax and explore the beautiful gardens.

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Entrance to the Palace
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Garden view
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Trianon gardens
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Marie Antoinette’s Farm

 

Disneyland Paris

It happened, I caved in to the lure of Disney and spent the day at Disneyland Paris. Having previously been and hated every moment of my day there, I did not have high hopes, but was pleasantly surprised!

Being a Sunday in late October (and possibly due to half the park being shut for renovation) it wasn’t unbelievably busy which made the day more enjoyable. Queues weren’t ridiculously long meaning we didn’t waste most of the day.

I took a packed lunch so didn’t need to buy any of the overpriced food (which to be quite honest is an absolute joke how much they charge).

Definitely enjoyed my day, and it was so easy to get to on the RER A from central Paris, and despite being above the target age I still had a great day!

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Paris Catacombs

If you’ve been to Paris a few times, or have already seen all the main sights and want to see something a little different then the Catacombs are well worth a visit. The queue was very long, but as we had nothing else to do we decided to wait (it ended up being over 2 horus). They offer a skip the line ticket, but as it’s much more expensive it may be better to arrive in the evening  a couple of hours before they close to miss the line.

The Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels and caverns which have been carved into the limestone, and which now function as an underground cemetery. Before Napoleon III redeveloped the city of Paris, the cemeteries were overflowing and diseases spread easily for this reason they decided to move all the bones underground and out of the way, organising them into piles into a proper mausoleum.

The Catacombs are really interesting, plaques mark dates of when bones were added or from which cemetery they came, and some of the alcoves use the bones to create intricate patterns.

It was a slightly eerie atmosphere, wandering through the cold and damp limestone tunnels lined with bones, but nevertheless an interesting visit.

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Skull artwork?
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Everything in the Catacombs in nicely arranged…
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Plaques tell you from which graveyard the bones were brought from
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So many bones…