Accommodation | Fully renovated deluxe loft studio, Paris
Must Do | See the padlocked bridges; Visit the Louvre, Le chalet des Iles, and Eiffel Tower
Worthy to Note | First Sunday of the month gives free entry to many tourist attractions; and a lot of places are closed on a Monday

Our week in Paris started on the first day of the last month of autumn. Our days were split into two phases – in the morning we allowed ourselves the luxury of sleeping in and taking it slow, and in the afternoon through to evening we made the most of every moment. Part of me felt guilty for having extra sheet time but when it was cold and sometimes dreary outside it was hard to get motivated for an early start… even in sweet Paree!

One of my favourite parts of Paris are all the locks… there are a couple of bridges heaving under the weight of thousands of locks left by lovers to seal their love eternal. Keys are thrown into the Seine River below – not so environmentally friendly – which is why its discouraged by council along with growing concerns about the structural ability of the bridges to withstand the weight. They are a feast for the eyes however and fun to concoct love stories about each unique lock.

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DSC_0229_3{found a J and G C lock!}

Our studio apartment in the Le Marais was fitted out with a lounge, kitchen, and laundry, which was more than we had had so far. We took the chance to get groceries and aimed to eat breakfasts in and at least a few dinners. By this time I was craving simple dishes of chicken or salmon and veggies! It was a nice change too, feeling like we were actually living the Parisian life (at least what we imagined it to be).

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After settling in, we went exploring. This is one of the best moments in a new country – the exploration phase. Because it’s new, you tend to open your eyes and notice your surrounds, unlike home where the familiar makes us take each new day for granted. We walked for hours eventually stumbling upon the Louvre and partaking in our first crepe, a heart-warming nutella and banana combination. The heavens started to sprinkle so we took a terrifying tuk tuk ride up the Champs Elysées narrowly missing death by bus collision. At least that’s how I saw it.

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We captured the Arc de Triomphe (along with every other man and his dog) before partaking in crepe goodness #2, lemon and sugar. By this stage of our journey we were getting the hang of the subway system so we caught it back to Le Marais and literally stumbled across L’Éclair de génie – a place recommended for their world-class éclairs. Sure they set you back about €7 each but they were the crème de la crème of sweet treats I ever did eat, no word of a lie.

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DSC_0106_2{no close ups of the actual éclairs sorry – they were devoured too quickly}

The next day was predicted to be the warmest all week, so we set off for lunch at Le chalet des Iles – a French restaurant perched in the middle of a picturesque lake, complete with snow-white geese. This place is a gem and came highly recommended by friends of ours. It is ridiculously charming, serves incredible food, and the staff are kind enough even when you realise you can’t possibly interpret the menu. One delicious veal, mushroom, baby onion, and grape stew later, my belly was full and my heart content. I would fly to Paris just to dine here again. I would.

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Here is a valuable tip for those tight on the purse strings – many places are free on the first Sunday of the month in Paris. This was a pleasant surprise for us so we set the alarm and took off straight to the Louvre first thing. We would have spent close to 3 hours there, and in my opinion the wall-sized tapestry proved much more interesting than its overrated counterpart, the Mona Lisa. We then queued in the icy wind for over an hour to go up the Notre Dame towers – simply for the chance to get a photo where my relatives had been before.

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That evening we went for dinner at 58 Tour Eiffel, located on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. It was in.cred.i.ble – I want to emphasis every syllable because the experience was just like that. A night full of emphasis on every part from the service to the food to the view to the glitter. My menu choices consisted of grilled shrimp with guacamole for entree, garlic lamb with artichoke-filled macaroni tubes for main, and to finish an eclair-sized profiterole – devine!

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As our sitting came to a close, we shrugged into our coats, knotted our scarves, and adorned our heads in preparation to go sky high. I must admit, as we were herded through the correls and turnstiles up to the summit, I couldn’t help but remember the feeling before the giant drop – too late to turn back now! The second floor was enjoyable with glittering evening views, but unsurprisingly the summit was a little too much for me. Blustering winds and slight swaying had me reliving every falling dream I’ve ever had. I think I did appreciate the view for a micro-second before backing against the wall and admiring my husband’s lack of fear 276m above ground level.

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Our final days in Paris were taken in the slow lane. We wandered around Le Marais, through a pop-up photography exhibition, and fate had us bumping into L’Éclair de génie once more. We made our way to Moulin Rouge and were a little deflated at both its size and location – the movie made it seem so much more raw, bustling, alive. We sipped on a cup of chai opposite the iconic venue whilst waiting for a van to move in order to get a clear picture. It didn’t, so eventually we gave up and went on our way to Champs Elysées for a spot of window shopping and Haagen-Daz heaven.

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DSC_0626_2I don’t quite know how to summarise Paris apart from this – the City of Love really does live up to its name. It simply has a little romance and magic weaved in everything from the loved-up padlocks to the Eiffel Tower glitter to the gorgeous little French patisseries and bountiful flower stalls. It is like walking through a living and breathing movie set for a romance. And I got my happily ever after.

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