Oh, Paris. Magnificently uniformed architecture, an incredible gastronomy scene and an ability to effortlessly define and then pull off the chic. Less than three hours from my home in London, Paris is like a second city for me, yet every time I visit there is always something new to discover. If you’re a little further afield and require air rather than rail to get you to the French capital, then be sure to check out Alcatel’s new campaign offering return flights. Just purchase the excellent POP 4 handset here, and check out the details on several destinations across Europe.
If, like me, you are taking the Eurostar, the trip under the English Channel is fairly swift and before you know it, you have swapped the glass and steel of King’s Cross St. Pancras for the unmistakable Gard du Nord. Arriving into the station, I couldn’t help but feel as if time hasn’t altered anything in this part of city. Original stonework and dated inscriptions all beginning with an “18” point to a well-preserved history and culture and, despite the hoards of tourists and hawkers, the French flags flying against a bright blue sky provided a moment of serenity as we switched our dialect to French.
Our hotel for the trip was the Pavilon des Lettres; a boutique hotel located a few minutes’ walk from Champs-Élysées. Close enough to avoid walking for too long in the searing heat, but also discreet enough not to shout “tourist’ every time you walked home. It’s a great place to unwind and relax after a hard day of pounding the streets and you get the personal service that can sometimes be missing in larger hotels. With our bags unpacked, it was time for the first stop on the agenda; a trip to Galeries Lafayette via Madeleine.
L’église de la Madeleine, or Madeleine Church, is a one-thousand year-old Roman Catholic monument that is hard to miss if you are passing through the 8th arrondissiment of Paris. Twenty-metre high columns circle the entire church and provide the theatre and drama that never fails to impress. It’s a little off the tourist path so is rarely as busy as the more obvious landmarks, and provided the perfect photo opportunity on our way to Galeries Lafayette.
The French department store needs no introduction, of course. It is an institution in Paris, much like Selfridges is in the UK, famous for it’s several floors of designer goods. However, we decided to skip the crowds perusing the rails and instead headed straight up to the seventh floor and the al fresco roof terrace. It’s not exactly a secret, but is often overlooked in favour of the shopping. The terrace offers the most incredible views over the Parisian landscape, as well as great bites to eat and a decent Aperol Spritz. Needless to say, we spent a good few hours there watching the sun go down.
The second day in Paris was decidedly more tourist-y. On the checklist; the Arc de Triomphe, Peninsula Hotel and the Eiffel Tower. Rising early after breakfast in bed, we were able to get ourselves onto the Champs-Élysées before 10am and, most importantly, before the crowds. Even with our trip (accidentally) coinciding with the final leg of the Tour de France, the streets were fairly empty, giving me the perfect opportunity to snap away on the POP 4 handset. After clocking up a few miles, we then headed to the Pensinsula Paris for lunch.
If you want to dine in Paris properly, then the Peninsula’s L’Oiseau Blanc is an excellent option. The food is simply incredible; French cuisine with a modern twist, served in a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere with breathtaking views over the Eiffel Tower. We opted for to match each course with the relevant wine, washed down with an Espresso Martini at the end. Fantastic food aside, the Peninsula Paris is also a destination in itself and we spent a good half hour just walking along it’s corridors, taking in the atmosphere and incredible opulence.
Finally, no trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower. Having been up to the top via a lengthy queue a few years ago, this time we decided to admire it from a distance. Skip the crowds at the top of the Trocadero though, and instead head down towards the quieter Avenue de New-York. The Iron Lady has been a symbol of France for more than 100 years and as we sat there craning our necks high into the sky, our attentions turned to the next trip to the French capital. Perhaps a venture out east to the Louvre and Notre Dame? We would have to wait and see.
Be sure to stay on top of all of the incredible destinations in the Alcatel POP 4 project by following the hashtag #makeitpop4 on Instagram (you can also find me here). More importantly, to discover more about their return flight offer, be sure to check out the details here.
*This post was written in collaboration with Alcatel but all content is my own. For more details on their return flights offer visit them here.