24 Hours in Paris

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2019 has definitely been a “well travelled” year, I’ve been in and out of the country more times than I can count – a lot of this has been travel due to work (Sweden, Copenhagen, Helsinki + Munich this year), but then I’ve also of course travelled for myself – this year this has been Barcelona, New York (well, that was half work half personal), Toulouse, Split and Hvar, Turin and most recently (and perhaps my last “non-work” trip of the year? TBC) I went to Paris with my boyfriend Levi. I don’t always do travel posts (it really depends on how eventful the travel was), but I thought I would do one for Paris as a short stay in Paris is so efficient and a good idea for a weekend break if you live in the UK (literally just across the pond to get there).
 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 
I’ve actually been to Paris twice before, but when I was a child and on family holidays. On both occasions the trips were pretty much for me and my brothers to just have the best time in Disneyland every. single. day. I otherwise haven’t had Paris as a top pick for weekend breaks until this very special occasion. It was mine and Levi’s 5 year anniversary – what location other than Paris is more perfect for an anniversary?!

Travel – London

We hopped on a 06:00 flight out to Paris on Saturday 19th October, and I think that might officially be the earliest flight I’ve ever taken in my life. Early flights always seem like a great idea at the time when the serious price discount captures your heart – but when the day comes it’s nothing short of painful. The good thing is, we landed around 08:00 Paris time/CET which literally gave us the entire day and weekend to enjoy the city.
 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 

Accommodation

We stayed at a hotel called Hotel du Collectionneur near Champs-Élysées. When I travel with work I usually say at some older school (as in long standing), but seriously classic and gorgeous hotels, so that’s what I wanted to recreate with this stay. HDC marketed itself as a really luxurious, “award winning” 5-star hotel, so I was really excited to stay there (I love a good hotel, if you haven’t realised…), but it fell super short of expectations to say the least. It was functional, and definitely nice, but it wasn’t old-school in a classic and grand way, it was just sort of… old. The food was totally overpriced and super sub-par. And we found a damn humongous spider crawling up our wall when we were about to go to sleep which made me paranoid for the rest of the night. That said – the staff was nice, and the location was very central. You win some you lose some but I expected more given how they advertised themselves.
 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 

Travel – Paris

Travelling around Paris was super simple – once we got the hang of it. Making our way from the airport was somewhat of a disaster and a lot of up and down, but we got to where we needed to be after just over an hour or so. Once in the city, we would just buy a day ticket for I believe less than 2 Euros, and use that to jump on and off the underground based on where Google Maps instructed us to go. I always say the London Underground is one of the most efficiently functioning travel systems I’ve ever experienced (well, most of the time) – having travelled quite a bit around Europe – but it’s totally overpriced. I think one journey on it’s own is £2 let alone a day ticket. Similarly to London, undergrounds were almost everywhere you turned, so we’d just jump on a tube and take it from there. We tried to use one of those hop on/hop off Lime scooters when out and about but as is our luck… they didn’t even work for us.
 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 

Things to do

After having a short nap at the hotel upon arrival (given the 06:00 wake up and all), we set out in the afternoon to start to explore the city. Usually when we go on holiday we just roll up, set off on foot and explore the city on our first day, starting from the centre, however given Paris has so many sights, we had a mental tick list of things we wanted to see. Below are the places we visited:

  • Arc de Triomphe & Champs-Élysées
    – The funny thing is, I remember visiting Champs-Élysées as a child, but I thought it was a statue. Clearly, I had no idea what was going on. Nice views and a nice stroll, respectively, none the less
  • Musée d’Orsay – As we were walking down to The Louvre from Champs-Élysées, we passed a museum which seemed inviting and had free entry – so how could we say no. It turned out to be Musée d’Orsay which is an art museum housing finely crafted and interesting sculptures, as well as very elaborate and eye catching paintings which almost all have some interesting history behind them. I’m usually not one for art museums – I tend to prefer history or science museums where I feel like I learn something and otherwise find art museums to be super boring, but this one was on the better ones I’ve been to and I think it’s because behind every sculpture and painting, there was a story. Sometimes these stories were in French and I didn’t understand them, but – occasionally they’d come with an English translation attached and it certainly made the whole experience that little bit more interesting.
  • The Louvre – This was definitely a gorgeous landmark to visit, we came just as the sun was setting which was quite a lovely view. We were actually interviewed whilst here by a few ladies running a BBC Sounds podcast called No Country for Young Women, it was about diversity in Paris and our views. What I can say is that visiting Paris the other week, vs. visiting when I was a child, it is most definitely a more diverse city than I otherwise first saw some years back. But of course, I don’t know the ins and outs about how things really are over there (ps: we were cut out of the final podcast – I reckon it’s because we didn’t say anything controversial enough lmao. We move anyways!)
  • Eiffel Tower – I don’t know how you actually get in to the Eiffel Tower – I assume there are some tickets online that you have to book months in advance – but every time I’ve gone to Paris the queues have been insane. That said, admiring from the outside and taking cute photos works just fine for me, and has on the three different occasions I have visited. 🙂 Jokes aside, the tower is as gorgeous as the internet hypes it up to be, but more so when it starts to shine/glitter on the hour once it goes dark. I imagine it takes some time for a view like that to get old
  • Love Lock Bridge – Turns out the locks from the Love Lock Bridge were removed a few years ago as there were millions of them weighing down the bridge and essentially making it unsafe. So although the trip to the bridge was uneventful… we stopped off at a cute coffee shop afterwards which made the travel down there a little more worthwhile

 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 

Where to eat

We settled down to eat dinner near the Eiffel Tower so as you can imagine, most of the nice restaurants we came across were fully booked up for the evening. That said, we Googled and found a place called 20 Eiffel which was right by the Eiffel tower that had a table available for 2 that evening. We got a set menu which I think was around EUR 30-35 and it was amazing. The service was fantastic, super quick, and the staff was friendly… but more so the food was just so delicious I am salivating just thinking about it. I went for mussels for my starter and we both settled on guinea fowl for our mains. If you’re ever in Paris and need a recommendation, 20 Eiffel is definitely mine!

Overall – it was lovely to be back in Paris again for a short but sweet trip to celebrate 5 years together. If you’re thinking of doing a quick break across the pond – I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to this romantic city!
 

holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger
holiday, vacation, travel, paris, france, travel blogger

 

Nov 17 2019 at 5:40 pm   ·   Travel







Split, Croatia – Travel Diaries

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Summer 2019 – it’s time for the annual summer “baecation”. This year we set off to Split, Croatia. We were somewhat divided between visiting Split or maybe taking on the South of France or somewhere pretty in Italy; but Croatia, for this year, just seemed like the spot. Dubrovnik in Croatia was also considered however all the people we spoke to recommended Split as the “nicer” location – so, just over month or so ago, we booked our flights and got excited.

 

travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

 

Where we stayed

I’ve done my fair share of not-so-great hotels in the past – especially when I was in uni and most likely booking my trip away using my overdraft or money from the government. I know people say “ah, who cares where you stay? You’re barely there anywhere…” But I simply can’t co-sign that anymore at my big age. The search for a hotel was therefore quite a lengthy one.

 

travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

 

We (me) decided to pick a hotel over Airbnb just because I prefer this if I’m travelling in a small group (it was just me and my boyfriend), as I feel comfort in the fact that there’s someone at the reception 24 hours a day that can also answer to any problems I might have very quickly. Whilst I tend to organise flights, where to go and what to actually do whilst abroad, Levi usually takes the task of picking the hotel as he tends to have a better eye for that stuff. He booked us the Briig boutique hotel which is actually a hotel that has only been finished this year, this summer – and it definitely lived up to expectations:

  • It’s super modern – I’m definitely a fan of some classic hotels (e.g. “Grand” hotels), but this one was clearly a step ahead in terms of having a modern, contemporary design. I was also pretty impressed at how they used tech – we could message reception on iPads and we just had to click a button on the wall to call for a cleaner, put on the aircon, or put up a “do not disturb” flag.
  • Great facilities – The hotel had a pool, sauna and gym. Whilst we weren’t on a search for a place with a sauna or gym – a pool is just a must during an extended stay to a nice hot country!
  • Buffet breakfasts – They serve a daily buffet breakfast with all you can ask for – fruits, salad, delicious veggies, all your English-breakfast-type meats, a selection of bread – the list is endless. You can also get it ordered to your room (which was perfect when we woke up one day with a hangover!)
  • Convenient location – We were a 2 minute walk from the most popular beach in Split, a 5 minute walk from Split Port where you catch ferrys and finally we were 10 minutes on foot from the city centre/promenade.
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    What to do in Split

    • Visit Doecletian’s Palace – Diocletian’s Palace forms a big part of the “Old Town” of Split near the promenade – it’s one of the more famous Roman ruins. It’s a nice place to go if you want to learn a bit of history (they have walking tours), and transport yourself back in time. If exploring on holiday is your thing – this is definitely a monument for you.

     

    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

     

  • Wander around Marjan Forest Park – What was alarming when we got to Marjan Forest Park is that there was a “chance of a forest fire” indicator that said “high”…but I digress! Marjan Forest was a cute little park which also houses a lot of mini, gorgeous beaches that you can discover as you walk around it. A lot of people go to the park to bike and also to hike. To challenge ourselves – we decided to walk the whole park, which was 2.5hrs+ in total (we were pretty proud of ourselves)… it definitely wasn’t easy.
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    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger
    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger
    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger

     

  • Take a day trip to Hvar – It was highly recommended to me before I went to Split to visit the island of Hvar whilst I’m there, so towards the end of the trip we hopped on a ferry and spent the day down on the island. It was definitely a beautiful island and I can see why everyone loves it – it looks very fancy in comparison to Split. We looked around a bit (wandering around the cobbled streets reminded me a bit of Mykonos), then we found a nearby beach and relaxed there for the day, it was so much fun. It’s certainly a much quieter city than Split and I wouldn’t imagine there’s tons to do there – so one or two days probably works just fine.
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  • Do an escape room – When looking up what to do in Split a few suggestions came back to try an escape room – so we found one nearby called the “Mystery Room” which is supposedly one of the hardest escape rooms in Europe. I’ve only done one escape room before and this reminded me of how enjoyable they were. My boyfriend and I can get competitive but we definitely made for a good team and the experience was exhilarating to say the least. We did make it through the escape but but that was with 20 minutes extra time and err… just a few tips.
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  • Join a bar crawl – On our first day exploring Split we were invited to a bar crawl (“Ziggy bar crawl“) which ended in a night at Central Club (the biggest club in Split) where Rudimental happened to be performing. Now I’m not even really big a fan of Rudimental but it sounded cool sooo, we went. It was actually a lot of fun, the group was huge and you essentially rode in a bus from bar to bar before ending up at the club. I usually don’t even get to clubs until at least 12:00AM so to be out and about since 10:00PM (when the bar crawl started), and out for hours and hours, I was absolutely DEAD the next day.
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    Onto the food…

    I can definitely say that the food in Split was everything I could have hoped for and more. Honestly, the bulk of the trip was spent touring different restaurants – I can’t say the thought that reviewing restaurants for a career didn’t pop into my mind.

    Here were a few of my favourite restaurants:

    • Zoi
      Only after eating at Zoi did I find out that it’s actually a Michelin Star restaurant! I can totally see why it gets that tick though – the service was absolutely A* and the food was clearly made with a lot of thought. Not to mention you get a great view over the promenade. You do however have to book in advance to get a seat!
    • Konoba Nevera
      Nevera Tavern was a bit away from the city (closer to the beach), but we went back twice for lunch on two occasions. The food there was simply delicioussss – service was fast (and to be honest – service in general in Split I found was pretty unbearably slow), the owners were so kind and the food was top quality. If you do visit – try some of their seafood, it was so good I think a tear left my eye.
    • Chops Grill
      This place is popular for their steaks but I actually got grilled chicken when I went. Overall – good meat, good quality food, a good place if you’re not looking for anything too fancy. It gets very busy so you may have to book in advance!
    • Terminal F
      A really lovely lunch place to eat in the sun – they have so many foods to pick from and it’s also pretty cheap. I would get the chicken burger when we went which was one of the best chicken burgers I’ve tasted.
    • Bakra
      Another steak place, I was definitely impressed with this one. I also loved the general vibe of Bakra, is was very casual/fun/relaxed. They give you a shot upon arrival. Again – one to book in advance as it tends to get very busy.

     

    travel, croatia, split, hvar, travel blogger, blogger
    Zoi

     

    A wrap up

    Wrapping up this pretty lengthy post – I can say that this was one of the better holidays I’ve been on. Of course, the company matters too (I always love travelling with Levi); but also the good food, amazing hotel and just good vibes definitely made it for me; I was so heartbroken to have to leave and return to the daily grind. In fact, I’m still heartbroken. Anyways – next year – I will definitely need to pencil a 2-weeker in the diary!

    Hope this itinerary is useful for any of you looking to experience Split. 🙂

     

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    Aug 7 2019 at 9:31 pm   ·   Travel