Bonjour, Paris!

Bonjour, Paris!

Whether you know it as the City of Love or the City of Light, it’s packed with history, striking #architecture, stunning views and delicious #food. #Paris is a must-see for any traveller.


Ever since I was a teenager, sitting in my History of Art class listening astutely to my lecturer rap on with ease about Renoir and Monet and then Cezanne and Seurat, I have dreamt about going to Paris. So when during a leisurely breakfast while visiting my best friend Tamsin in Johannesburg, she casually asked if I’d like to join her and her family on a trip to Paris, I naturally grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

One month, tons of planning and a flight to Johannesburg later, we had our bags packed and were ready to fly. 

One month, tons of planning and a flight to Johannesburg later, we had our bags packed and were ready to fly

After a 10-hour flight and an hour-long cab drive, we arrived at our home for the next 10 days, Hôtel Pavillon Bastille. With both of us only speaking about seven words of French, most of it greetings like bonjour, bonsoir and pleasantries like s'il vous plait and merci, we were incredibly happy to find out that all of the reception staff at the hotel spoke almost fluent English. This saved us from many embarrassing moments and allowed us to find out about a lot of the local hangouts and make bookings for must-see sights.

we were incredibly happy to find out that all of the reception staff at the hotel spoke almost fluent English
from  $144.95

Hotel Pavillon Bastille

 65 Rue De Lyon, Paris, France
You may also like

Paris Sewer System Guided Tour

Seine Dinner Cruise

On the first few days in the 'City of Love' we walked through the streets of Bastille, the district we were staying in, getting ourselves acquainted with our new surroundings. Learning quickly that traffic comes from the right, and not the left like we’re used to.

With the help of Tam’s Dad, we quickly learnt how to travel on the Metro, which lines took us where and how to avoid getting lost in a city we barely knew. First on my list of things to do and see was, of course, a visit to the Musée du Louvre. After one too many late nights working on critique essays, countless rewrites, and too many pages to count, I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing the Mona Lisa.

After one too many late nights working on critique essays, countless rewrites, and too many pages to count, I finally fulfilled my dream of seeing the Mona Lisa

Next to tick off was a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Having booked our tickets online, we avoided the long queues and before I knew it I was standing on the second floor of one of the most recognized pieces of architecture in the world. The view was spectacular, allowing you to see parts of Paris that the Metro couldn’t take you too. I highly recommend spending a Euro or two and having a look through the telescopes found at different points around the second and top floor. Being able to see the intricacies of the architecture and gold statues located throughout the city is a sight that won’t leave your memory any time soon.

...before I knew it I was standing on the second floor of one of the most recognized pieces of architecture in the world.

A few days, lots of walking around and tons of shopping later, we took a cruise down the Seine River. The weather was beautifully sunny with clear skies as far as the eye could see. The hour-long cruise takes you past some of the most well-known and historic monuments in Paris like Cathedral Notre-Dame, the Musée d'Orsay and the love locks on the Pont des Arts, to name a few. We sipped Champagne from Champagne (ticking another thing off my to-do list), while listening to historical facts and fun anecdotes about the city.

We sipped Champagne from Champagne (ticking another thing off my to-do list), while listening to historical facts and fun anecdotes about the city

On our final morning in the 'City of Light', we took our last trip on the Metro and made our way to the Musée d'Orsay. Housing the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist art, it was here that a teenager girl’s dream became a reality. To be perfectly frank, I never expected a painting to bring me to tears, but Vincent van Gogh’s Self Portrait 1 did just that.

Loved this story?

Subscribe to our newsletter

to receive new story and activity ideas in your inbox.

Keep inspired By other stories