A whirlwind trip to Paris is all you need to experience the city of love, writes Laura Brodnik
Paris is always a good idea according to Audrey Hepburn. You could spend weeks wandering around the city of lights and never grow tired of it, but what if you only had a few days?
This was the predicament I found myself in when I finally visited the French capital and with only three days to see the sights, I had to get creatively ruthless with my plan.
Central accommodation was key so I stayed in The Latin Quarter, just a hop, skip and a breathtaking walk along the Seine to Notre-Dame de Paris and a host of beautiful restaurants, cafes and stores.
During my walk to Quasimodo’s home I stopped to watch couples dance by the river and browse through the outdoor booksellers. These stores were once hotspots for contraband items but now they offer artworks, books and collectables. These were the best places to stock up on souvenirs; after all, who wants a plastic Eiffel Tower keying when you can have hand-drawn memories?
After drinking in the opulence of Notre Dame I wandered over the ‘Love Lock’ bridge where couples and families have written their names on padlocks and tossed the keys into the Seine, connected for eternity. After exploring Boulevard St. Germain and sitting at a pavement café sipping coffee, Paris had truly seeped into my bones.
On day two my first stop was the Louvre, where I said hello to the Mona Lisa and moved from level to level taking in the masterpieces with an audio guide firmly placed over my ears. I then made my way through the Tuileries Garden, stopping only for a magical carousel ride, before reaching the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and wandering down it until I reached the Arc de Triomphe l’Étoile.
From the flowers blooming in the Tuileries to the police on roller skates patrolling the Louvre, it was a day of Parisian magical moments.
Day three starts with a visit to a Latin Quarter bakery, because chocolate éclairs are a suitable breakfast when one is in France, before heading to the Eiffel Tower – a must see. The panoramic views from the top are worth the wait.
From the tower it’s just a quick walk to the Seine where I jumped on one of the many river tours, drifting lazily down the river and waving to the people lounging and lunching on its banks.
Time is running out but no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to Montmartre. So I hop on the subway, where an accordion player serenades me, and in no time at all I’m walking down cobblestone laneways, nibbling on macaroons and taking in the breathtaking Basilica of the Sacré Coeur.
My love affair with Paris may have been brief, but the memories will last a lifetime.