My 2022 Paris Travel Diary

Being back in an airport for the first time in three years was a bit of a surreal experience. Having seen so many videos of lengthy security queues, I was prepared to wait for hours unlike in 2019 but overall I was just so excited to be going on holiday abroad again. It was no surprise that the first place I travelled to was my favourite place on Earth, Paris. My friends and I all live in different parts of the UK, meaning it takes a lot of coordination if we’re all going to see each other – a huge change from when we were at school. But hey, if we’re organising a meetup, why not do it in France?

After a slightly nervy journey about having the correct documentation and making our way through different airports, the four of us were reunited at a baggage carousel in Charles de Gaulle in an almost cinematic moment. Our Airbnb was only a 10 minute walk away from Place de la Bastille and not even a stone’s throw away from different restaurants running happy hour until 2am. So with pizzas, drinks and the cutest puppy on the table over, we caught up and planned what was going to be an exciting week.

We also learned a valuable lesson that night; don’t walk over metro grates in flowy dresses when you’re not wearing shorts underneath… Bonjour Paris!

Day One

Where would you find my friends and me on our first morning in Paris? Of course, in a boulangerie. I had this praline brioche which was sticky and sweet and softer than a cloud. Was it the easiest thing to eat without cutlery? No, but it was a quick stop before hopping on the Metro.

a doughy bun topped with crushed red nuts and a shiny glaze
Boulangerie Gana

I was the only one of my friends that had been to Paris before so took them to Trocadéro for the perfect first sight of the Eiffel Tower. It was a wonderful moment to watch them turn the corner and see the Iron Lady, yes it really is enormous. There was construction work underway on the steps of Trocadéro but it hasn’t stopped people from leaving love locks.

heart shaped locks with names written on them attached to a grid railing with a blurry view of the eiffel tower in the background

The weather was glorious – sunshine and a little breezy – which did mean that we got rather sneezy from the sand on the Champ des Mars… We took a wander around the park letting the feeling of Paris soak in, aka staring in bewilderment at everything around us.

We also managed to find a quiet spot on the Rue de l’Université for a few moments to take some pretty pics before a guy came along doing handstands and showing us all up…

a redheaded girl in a loral dress standing in front of the eiffel tower

We followed the street along to the Seine and crossed over to the Flame of Liberty and Place Diana. I’m still yet to see a Statue of Liberty, New York or Paris, so this was a starting point.

a statue of a flame made from gold on the banks of the river seine

With more walking along the luxury shops of the Champs-Élysées we went to see the Arc de Triomphe.

the impressive arc de triomphe situated in a large traffic circle. the french flag is blowing in the wind in the middle of the arch

Since we are rarely all together, Place Charles de Gaulle made the perfect spot for our annual photo with the traffic chaos in the background.

four girls posing for a photo together, all smiling
From left to right: Taylor, Abiie, Faye, Becca (me)

We picked up lunch from Carrefour city (one of my favourite things to do in Paris) and sat along the Seine. I don’t know if it’s just me but Lipton’s iced tea is a staple of all European holidays. When in Paris, I trusted Remy from Ratatouille and ate little cheese cubes accompanied by strawberries and wow, he was onto something.

the pillars of pont alexandre iii topped with gold statues alongside trimmed hedges

It would have been rude to not use this iconic TikTok sound when on Pont Alexandre III

After the classic Airbnb refresh and an outfit change, we headed out to find some dinner during a beautiful sunset at Bastille.

the column in the middle of place de bastille against an evening sky

Our wee evening wander took us to Place des Vosges which had such a beautiful atmosphere as people had picnics and drank wine. Dinner was found in a french restaurant called Café Mignon where I had a Croque Monseiur.

a redheaded girl in white shorts and colourful top posing in a manicured garden surrounded by symmetrical red buildings

Day Two

As if we didn’t walk enough the day prior, we started our second day with a brutal number of steps up to the top of Montmartre and Sacré-Cœur. The view was lovely to look at but not as much as my gorgeous pals and as the mum of the group I took many, many photos.

three girls in floral outfits smiling for a photo in front of a railing cover in padlocks. a view of paris is behind them
Floral outfits were the theme

You can’t climb up the steep hill of Montmartre and not reward yourself with a look around the beautiful Sacré-Cœur. Remember to look at the painted ceiling!

the basillica of sacre coeur against a stark blue sky

We then explored the streets of Montmartre and famous spots like the La Maison Rose, Le Consulat and Place Dalida…

a narrow parisian street that winds up a hill. the road is cobbled and features trees up the pavement

… and went window shopping for a souvenier or two.

a display rack of posters and postcards with vintage style parisian prints

We went to Pink Mamma for lunch and it was equally stunning as it was delicious. I love that the menu changes so often to reflect the seasons so I had gnocchi and the Big Mama cocktail that had so much fruit inside that I’m calling it a salad. Everything was so well beautiful from the giant fish pasta bowls, sunny terrace and boob mug for Faye’s Mangoo Mule.

I often watch videos of people going to Paris to buy their first luxury bag. As much as I’d love to do that I’m more of a window shopper at the moment and we had a neb around Galeries Lafayette. The ornate glass dome is beautiful and I’d love to come back and visit at Christmas at some point.

an enormous and intricately decorated glass dome above gold arches of a department store

It was my first time visiting the fabulous rooftop terrace where you can see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Palais Garnier. The escalators were also kinder to our legs than the Montmartre steps.

Day Three

The Tuileries Gardens are fairly quiet first thing in the morning and it was lovely to sit amongst the many statues and relax before an afternoon of museum wandering.

a still pool of water with a small fountain in the middle. parisian buildings are in the background

We saw so many cute little ducks and ducklings that I may have wept a little…

Lunch involved more patisserie, including my favourite, a strawberry tart.

a box filed with delicious strawberry patisserie

Our entire afternoon was spent at the Louvre and we barely scraped the surface of the art and artefacts that it holds. It’s one of my favourite museums that I’ve ever been to, mainly based on the architecture and its extensive Egyptian collection. Do you ever feel like a place can be relaxing but overwhelming at the same time?

a dark tunnel with light and the glass pyramids of the louvre framed at the end arch. light reflects off tall metal gates

Are you kidding me with these sculptures??

a redheaded gal in a long green floral dress swings the flowy skirt in front of statues in the louvre

Losing my mind over the beauty of each room.

Next on the list of French foods for me was steak frites, which I had at Bistro de Commerce. I was trying my best to order in French wherever I could but I was not prepared for any questions about how I like my meat cooked. How do you say, “slathered in garlic butter,” à la française?

a chopping board being used as a plate. there is a delicious looking steak topped with garlicy butter, a side of lettuce leaves and chunky chips.

Day Four

Award winning Farine&O was literally on our doorstep. We stopped by pretty much every morning.

a filled pastry cabinet with croissants, pain au chocolat amongst others

Instead of getting the metro we started off the day by walking towards the Seine and went via Rue Crémieux. It reminds me of a cross between Nothing Hill in London and the mews of Edinburgh.

a narrow parisian street featuring colourful houses painting pinks, yellow and blue

Our destination was the Jardin des Plantes which hosts the National Museum of Natural History as well as a zoo, botanic gardens and tropical greenhouse. Not going to lie, none of those fabulous things was the reason I wanted to visit. I went for the Dodo Manège, a unique carousel that has dinosaurs and dodo birds amongst other animals different from traditional horses. This is the second time in four years I’ve tried to visit and it has been closed on both occasions! Third time’s a charm?

a vast garden filled with flowers stretches to an impressively symmetrical museum in the distance

Walking through the Sorbonne University campus and along the Seine, we made it to Shakespeare and Company, another of the top places I wanted to visit on this trip. It’s such an iconic bookshop that has been mentioned in some of my favourite novels as well as documentaries. Inside is not just a book shop, but a place to leave notes to the world and listen as guests play softly on an antique piano. It was a really special moment for me personally and I left a ‘message in a bottle,’ on a receipt for it to be tucked into a book and read by a future visitor.

I was going to buy a book inside to commemorate the occasion but was struggling to decide between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Jane is Trying. I went for the contemporary novel as the classic didn’t match my specific collection back home. I was delighted when they stamped it for me and I got a little bookmark too.

the storefront of bookshop shakespeare and company. a purple book with the title 'jane is trying' is held in front with a bookmark poking out the top

Notre Dame was understandably closed following the 2019 fire but there were exhibition boards surrounding the church with information on the restoration going ahead. It also meant that Point Zéro des Routes de France was inaccessible to the public. It is said that those who stand on the marker are destined to return someday.

the still intact front of notre dame against a blue sky with immense scaffolding seen in the background as part of the restoration

In the summer haze, we continued around the Île de la Cité and Île Saint-Louis for a seat in the sun and some jazz on the connecting bridge.

a hazy photo of the river seine on a sunny day. a tourist boat goes by

In a city full of surprises, I was able to meet up with my friend Steven who moved to Geneva last year! I got to meet some of his lovely friends from all across Europe and we had lunch together and continued our walk along the Seine as a bigger group.

two friends smile for a photo together on the river seine

Pont des Arts was the next feature of our Seine tour. The bridge often appears in films, like Now You See Me but it’s now less recognisable without being weighed down by love locks.

Many of the striped columns at Palais Royal were another reminder of how short I am (as if my friends hadn’t mentioned it every day since we arrived).

to girls sitting on thee stripey podiums at palais royal

On our walk back to the Airbnb it only made sense to get ice cream from Amorino. Refreshing and pretty, how I strive to be in my everyday life. My flower was made from stracciatella, chocolate, hazelnut/chocolate and mascarpone/fig and was sensational.

different ice cream flavours in a cone to look like a flower with brown chocolate-y leaves

The final night of our holiday in Paris was not only the best evening of the whole holiday but one of my life. I had no idea what was coming featuring a bizarre metro journey featuring a singing driver.

It was a really special moment to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at 11pm whilst a busker sang Counting Stars by OneRepublic. My pals and I have been friends for over a decade and I like to wonder what our 11-year-old versions of ourselves would say if they saw us now.

the eiffel tower lit up at night with additional sparkles

Day Six

I was exceptionally saddened by the last trip to Carrefour City so bought myself some wine and snacks to take back to Edinburgh. My Milka cookies lasted less than 48h after we Ianded. It would’ve been quicker but AirFrance thought my suitcase deserved a longer holiday than me.

 redheaded gal with a tote bag shopping for wine at the supermarket
a window view of some parisian rooftops
The view from our Airbnb

After dropping our cases at a hotel for a wee bit we walked around the covered passages of Paris and did some more window shopping. We even found a cross-stitch shop! Bit ironic that I travelled to France to buy a cross-stitch kit for a Highland Cow.

a covered passage. the ceiling is made mainly of glass windows and store fronts are shaped arches

Saying goodbye to the Parisian streets for now.

a pedestrianised street in paris with trees and traditional architecture

Final goodbyes accompanied by final pastries. A pain au praline and coffee (that I spilt down myself) before our flight. I’m going to miss the croissants of Paris a lot, just like how I miss my pals.

a cabinet with croissants in different colours

Feeling quite lucky to have had relatively smooth airport experiences, given the recent chaos. We even had a warm welcome with sunset views over the Firth of Forth as we landed back in Scotland. It was all too soon that I was back at work (less than 10h later) and reality but we’ll always have the memories from Paris.

a sunset view from a plane window with the forth bridges just visable over the treeline

Becca x

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