The other week I was invited on a 24 hour trip to Paris. How could I say no?
Sophie stayed at mine the evening before our trip and although we stayed up chatting half the night we were ready and raring to go early on Friday morning. We met up with Coral and Hannah to make our way to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. It takes just 40 minutes to get from Sheffield to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. That’s good going considering it takes over an hour to get to Manchester Airport. I’m all about making life easier with simple changes and cutting down on travel time is a good way to start. I’d heard of Doncaster Sheffield Airport over the years but never got ’round to trying it out. This is probably because I moved down south for a few years and only recently returned (part of the time) to the north.
Doncaster Sheffield Airport is much smaller than Manchester so everything was so much quicker to get through. The security check-in was a little less rushed and not as busy which made a nice change. To be honest, I didn’t feel like I was in an airport at all, especially as we were treated to the Premier Lounge. I always like to spend a little extra on using an airport lounge when I can (it all depends on how hard I’ve been hustling). This was a real treat and at just over £20 I think it’s near comparable to what you might spend on airport food and drink.
We were greeted by John, who made us fresh bacon sandwiches and coffee. What a lovely way to kick-start a holiday. There were lots of comfy chairs in the lounge and of tables for anyone who needs to focus in on work. There was a plethora of alcoholic drinks to pick form although we decided it was a little early for gin. There were lots of non-alcoholic options too like teas, coffee and then a variety of cakes and healthy snacks. If you’re a nervous flyer than taking some time to visit the Premier Lounge is ideal. It’s almost like you’re not in an airport, it’s all very relaxed and it’s not too far to walk to get to your gate. That’s the beauty of smaller airports, it’s all much more relaxed and the whole experience was very personable.
Our flight was with Flybe, an airline I’d never been with before. I was expecting it to be very small but actually the seats were a little bigger than other low-cost airlines and therefore much more comfortable. I also found their staff to be very friendly and professional which always makes for a more relaxed and comfortable flight. It’s such a quick flight to Paris (around 1hr 30mins), a weekend escape, or even 24 hours as was the case here, is totally doable. A return flight costs around £60 which is much cheaper than making your way down to London for the Eurostar.
We arrived in no time at all and made our way to the hotel. It’s important to keep in mind that it takes between 40mins to 1 hour to get from Charles de Gaulle Airport into the centre of Paris, depending on the traffic. It’s always good to be aware of timings so you can allocate just enough time for your journey back out to the airport.
We were very lucky to be staying at Le 123 Sebastopol, a 4-star hotel right in the centre of Paris. What makes this hotel really interesting is that it has a film theme throughout. The staff in the hotel were very friendly and insisted that we enjoy a coffee while our rooms were being prepared. We were all lucky to get early check-in. It’s nice to be able to have a quick change of clothes after a flight.
After a swift espresso and change of clothes we headed out on our adventure in Paris. I think you’re going to be surprised to find out how much we managed to fit into our 24 hours in Paris.
As the hotel was so central we could simply walk to our first destination, Notre Dame Cathedral. If you haven’t been before you must, it’s a real beauty. Even if you don’t get the chance to go inside (or simply don’t want to) the magnificent architecture is worth seeing. Just FYI entry is free. As you can see from my photo the sky was a little grey but that’s autumn for you!
Sophie looked like she’d fallen out of a Wes Anderson film, you must go and check out her story about our trip to Paris and see her full outfit.
We made our way down a lovely street filled with flower stalls and if that wasn’t enough there was a beautiful orchid shop just around the corner.
We finally ended up at the Musée d’Orsay. Before venturing inside (through a secret entrance round the back, oh là là) we stopped off for a quick lunch. We were all very hungry by this point and luckily Hannah remembered a little café she’d been to before. I always like to go off the recommendations of other people (even if they’re from Swarm/Foursquare), otherwise you can end up walking in circles for ages.
We went to Evangelista (location – 10 rue de Bellechasse, 75007 Paris, France) which was full of sandwiches, crepes and lots of cheese based dishes. As some of you will know, I have to avoid dairy as much as possible. It just doesn’t agree with my skin at all. So, I went for a delicious sandwich minus the cheese, as did Hannah and the others all picked crêpes with various cheesy fillings – they looked really good. We also had a couple of sides of fries, it would have been rude not to. One plain and one covered in camembert. Honestly, the fries in Paris are just so good.
It’s very small little café and you have to move fast to grab a table but it’s worth it. If you fancy something to go then just order from the hole-in-the-wall style fronting of the shop. Not only is the food good but the staff are friendly and it’s good value for a lunch.
The building in which Musée d’Orsay lives used to be a train station and it’s really quite spectacular. We split up and ventured off around the museum. There’s a mixture of paintings, sculptures and photography so there really is something for everyone. They have an incredible collection of artwork including Van Gogh and Monet. You could get lost in the museum and spend half your day there.
Sophie and I made our way right to the top of the museum in search of the big clock window. The view was spectacular and I even managed to get a rare snap without lots of people in the way. I don’t know a lot about art, I generally stick to photography based museums but from this trip I discovered that I really enjoy Impressionism. I think it’s always worth trying out new things, even if you’re not sure they’ll be your cuppa tea. I’m pretty sure there will be something to suit everyone in Musée d’Orsay.
Sophie and I then ventured outside for a walk down the river, stopping to take outfit photos of course.
It was then time to head back to our beautiful hotel, have a quick change, an even quicker rest and make our way out again for a segway tour of paris. It was easy to get back to our lovely hotel, Le 123 Sebastopol.
Although we didn’t have long back at the hotel it was nice to get a good look at our rooms. Each floor of the hotel has a different theme all with a focus around films. It’s a very unique and comfortable hotel. There’s free wifi throughout and a mini bar in each room. I must also point out that it felt very safe in the hotel too and they had a 24 hour reception, which is something I always think is important.
I wrapped up as warm as I could, pulled on my gloves and then we all bundled into a taxi and headed towards Fat Tire Tours. We were all quite nervous about our first segway tour but luckily we had a fantastic tour guide, Victor who taught us how to use the segways. After 5 minutes getting to grips it all becomes second nature. We headed off in single file to explore Paris.
Victor was an excellent tour guide. He’d hit us with a pop quiz question every now and then to make sure we were listening. I always enjoy doing a tour of cities I visit but this has got to be one of the best I’ve been on. Victor told the history of Paris in a fun an interactive way. I left the tour feeling as though I’d really learnt something new from it.
By the end of our tour, which was just by the Eiffel Tower we were all zipping around on our segways and didn’t want to get off. I’m now convinced that there’s not better way to see a city than by segway. If you get the chance to do this you really must and I honestly can’t recommend the team at Fat Tire Tours highly enough. I’ll be using them again on my next city break.
We were exhausted and very cold by the end of our tour so we glad to have a very good meal at La Terrasse Du 7eme. I went for a lentil starter and a burger, not very French I know but it was delicious and just what I needed. The menu wasn’t huge but there was a good selection on there, something for everyone. A few of the ladies I was with had steak and one had a classic croque monsieur. Once again, the fries were excellent. I also discovered a new love for Sancerre wine.
We made our way back to the hotel. It had been a busy but fantastic day. I only wish we’d had longer to enjoy the hotel. They had bar, a fitness room and then through a maze of cave-like hallways we discovered a cinema. Yep, that’ right, you have your own private cinema along with a popcorn machine.
We were all well and truly ready for bed. We were set for another early start the following day because of course, this was #24hourinparis. It’s easy to forget when you read about how much we did in one day.
The bathroom was lovely and I had a good powerful shower, just so I could report back to you. There were even a collection of L’Occitane products in the shower which I made good use of. Nice toiletries always let’s you know that you’re staying in a rather lux hotel. I then had a comfortable night’s sleep in my film themed bedroom.
The following morning we woke up early, packed and all bustled our way downstairs so we could grab some breakfast before our taxi back to the airport.
Luckily they’d just set up the breakfast and although it didn’t start for another 30 minutes we were welcomed to enjoy what we liked. The buffet breakfast was beautifully presented and included fresh bread, cold cut meats, eggs, cheeses, pastries, fruit and much more. I was very pleased to find that they had grapefruit juice, jus de pamplemousse, if you will. I went for the delicious almond croissant and made myself a breakfast sandwich to take in the taxi ride. Much more satisfying than grabbing breakfast at the airport.
I had a fantastic 24 hours in Paris. I was very impressed by the ease of Doncaster Sheffield Airport and I’ll be looking into more city breaks in the near future. I think Amsterdam or Finland will be next on my list.
Leave a comment below and let me know where you plan to go on your next city break.