On Friday I set off to Paris for a whirlwind trip and within 48 hours was back on London turf, for this weeks Tips Tuesday post I thought I’d round up a few pointers on how to do a city break in 48 hours and get everything done that you intended to. I arrived in Paris around 11am, checked into my hotel then I headed off for a made to measure facial at Anne Semonin (more on that soon!), stopped at Angelina’s for some to-die-for hot chocolate, was whisked around the Galeries Lafayette for a tour, then headed for dinner and a few glasses of vino with my girls.
Saturday I spent the day with Crabtree & Evelyn and a few lovely blogger ladies, we had breakfast at our Novotel together before setting off to the Feel Unique pop up shop where Crabtree & Evelyn had been selected as one of 16 ‘best of British beauty brands’. We went for a delicious lunch at Le Dome Du Marais then carried out a whistle stop tour of Paris including the Louvre, Palais Royal, Love Lock bridge and the Eiffel Tour. Phew! After a long day I met up with my friends and had dinner at Le Lobby restaurant in the Peninsula hotel and it was divine, after a lovely meal and a few cocktails we were back in bed before setting off for London the next morning.
City breaks can be super tiring as you tend to cram everything in, but it’s surprising how much you can actually see and do within 48 hours. Preparation is key, here are a few tips on how to get more done…
Plan ahead: Ask for recommendations on places to eat, visit, shop etc on Twitter/Facebook or via friends and family as people always have their favourite spots that they’re keen to share with you. Make a list of places you’d like to go with the closest station or district so you can work out a rough plan.
Book in advance: If you’re looking to go to a key attraction such as the Eiffel Tower, it pays to book in advance (especially if you’re going during peak times at the weekend and evenings!), it saves time on queuing if you know you definitely want to visit. It’s good to have a couple of solid plans too as you can organise the rest of your day around these activities.
Know your routes: Save time standing on the street with a map in hand trying to work out the best way to get from A to B, in the morning have a rough idea of what you’re schedule is looking like so you know which district/area you’ll be in. I’d also recommend to either write down the postcode & closest station to each destination or screen shot a map on your phone in case you can’t get 3G/wifi as it helps to save time.
Prioritise your plans: If you know you want to 100% visit 3 landmarks or try out a restaurant make sure you prioritise what you want to do. It’s easy to get carried away and plan to do all of the things but when it comes down to it you want to fully take in each place and not have to rush. Don’t disappoint yourself by over-planning and missing out the things you really wanted to see.
Set a daily budget: Have a rough budget for each day to keep you on track of not over-spending, I had a rough idea of what I wanted to spend a day including food, drink, travel etc. Then if you have a little left over a wee Sephora splurge never hurt no-one, right?!
Have a back up plan: When I visited Paris earlier this year I’d made a plan to visit the Louvre but it was shut when I got there (apparently it closes on a Tuesday, just an FYI if you’re visiting!), I’d anticipated to spend a couple of hours there so was a bit stumped when it was shut so I headed to the Musee D’orsay instead. Have a back up plan in case the place you’re going to it closed, the queues too long, it’s too busy etc.
Pack accordingly: I use my EASTPAK wheeled case for city breaks as it’s such a good size – it fits everything I need including a spare pair of shoes (usually trainers for comfort) and all my toiletries and it’s not too big so I don’t have to worry about dragging it around with me. Pack the essentials when going on a city break, always take an extra jumper or warmer clothing – don’t ever underestimate the weather, especially in Europe!
Travel on a budget: We bought a 3 day metro pass as soon as we arrived in Paris, which cost us €25 (roughly £18) which saved us money on taxis/ubers etc and meant we could travel quicker rather than walking everywhere. Buy a train or tram pass so you can hop on and off to get to each destination quicker.
Even though it pays to be organised if you’re heading away for a couple of days, I also like to sometimes travel with no plans as it’s nice to stumble across cute coffee shops and hidden gems that you wouldn’t necessarily find otherwise. It pays to travel both ways, it just depends if there’s certain places you want to visit within your trip.
Have you been to Paris before? What are your tips for short city breaks?