HOW TO SPEND 48HRS IN PARIS (PART I)

If you are trawling the Internet looking for posts about how to spend 48hrs in Paris (much like mum and I did before we went) you’ve found the holy grail. With the help of the wonderful Lou Lou in Paris and an embarrassingly old-school (but actually pretty great) guidebook mum bought a couple of days before we set off, we managed to plan and get to see everything we wanted to in just 48 (very busy) hours. If you are looking for a whistle stop tour of the world’s most romantic city, then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out how to best utilise your time – and squeeze in most of the sights – in under 48 hours.

We arrived in Paris at around 10.30am, and as soon as we hopped off the Eurostar, we headed north to Montmartre, as we were staying in Le Marais and knew we wouldn’t get the chance to head up there again. The area is most famous for the grandiose Sacre Coeur and, of course, the Moulin Rouge, but is now a haven for hipsters; sex shops selling toys in the shape of the Eiffel Tower (for those who love it more than others, I guess!) and enough graffiti to rival Shoreditch. Although we didn’t find any absinthe or spot Satine, it was nice to be hit in the face by two iconic buildings as soon as we arrived.

Mum’s friend had given her some newspaper clippings about Paris ahead of our trip, and within these, she found an article written by Florence Welch (mum’s ultimate woman crush) who recommended visiting Le Rue des Martyrs, an avenue close to Montmartre, so we just had to go. There are tons of gorgeous eateries to choose from along the route, as well as lots of really cool shops. We decided on a breakfast of coffee and warm breads with condiments at MARLETTE (would highly recommend) before heading to the Metro to check into our hotel, Le Chambre du Marais.

Once we had unpacked our things and put our feet up for half a second, we set out on our self-made walking tour of the city. Le Marais is quite a cool part of Paris and is quite close to the epic Centre Pompidou, so we walked via there, just so mum could see it. If you have time, definitely head up to Restaurant Cafe Georges at the top where you can enjoy a drink, a snack or some lunch while taking in impressive views of the whole of the city.

From the Pompidou, we simply followed The Seine and allowed it to guide us. It was a gorgeous day, so we just sort of wandered, trying to catch our first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower en route and listening to the sounds of accordion players and watching the happy sunbathers relax along the banks of the Seine.

As mum’s a huge Dan Brown fan, she was really keen to get to The Louvre, so we stomped it to there. We stopped off for a gelato in the sun and spotted these chaps in front of a church. We thought they were quite a nice contrast to the romantic architecture of Paris, so I took a snap of them. Do make sure to constantly look around as you wander; Paris is beautiful and is filled with hidden highlights.

By the time we got to the museum, it was actually closed for the day and was also closed the following day (always closed on Tuesdays), so we didn’t manage to get inside at all, but would definitely suggest heading in if you can. It’s free (which I didn’t realise until I went in December). If you get time, definitely explore Jardin des Tuileries that are situated in front of the pyramid. On a summer’s day, it’s such a nice place to just hang out and soak up the busy atmosphere. Plus, this woman who you might have seen on my Instagram is #assgoals.

We wandered back towards our hotel from The Louvre, popping into shops and having a nosey along the way, laughing at how all coffee shops place their tables in such a way that customers can just sit and stare at passersby. We hopped across the river to try and peek into the Musee D’Orsay but the queues were huge and we were in need of a rest, so we walked on home. We did come across this street, the Rue St Sauveu, though, which was filled with really gorgeous bars, eateries, shops and intimate galleries and is definitely worth a mooch if you’re in the area.

Once we had chilled out, showered and changed back at the hotel, we headed out for dinner on the recommendation of the lovely Lou. She had given us the most amazing Google map of recommendations for places to eat and drink and we decided on Biglove Caffe, which you’ll find on Rue Debelleyme, just around the corner from our hotel. It serves fresh pasta dishes and doughy pizzas, as well as antipasti and a gorgeous selection of wines and I cannot recommend it enough – we had a really good time with food on this trip, thanks to Lou, so thank you, lady!

Of course, we had to walk off our carb-heavy dinner, so what better excuse than to head to the Eiffel Tower for the hourly nighttime light show the residents despise? I, of course, loved the flashing lights and mum enjoyed the novelty of it all as it was her first time in the city. We walked around the tower and along the banks of the river onto the other side, passing by the amazing Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Flamme de la Liberte before hopping onto the Metro for one of the most comfortable night’s sleep back at our hotel.

Stay tuned for what we got up to on day 2 of our 48 hours in Paris…

THE BILL

Is it just me or is expecting the guy to pay for dinner on a first date a little… outdated?

I watch Channel 4’s First Dates religiously and can’t help but have noticed that so many of the women who appear on the show expect the guy to foot the whole bill. They get turned off when they don’t automatically jump to it or insist on paying. Twitter goes into meltdown, condemning him to eternal singlehood for treating her as an equal, and it really frustrates me because, at a time where we are fighting for – and actually getting somewhere with – women’s rights, we are undermining our entire cause by picking and choosing when to enforce the rules. Equality shouldn’t only be something we fight for in the workplace or in the House of Commons, it should be something we pay attention to in our personal relationships with the opposite sex, too.

I, for one, would not be caused offence if someone I was dating didn’t pay for my meal. If, since the day we met, we split what we ate, drank or did together, equally. Because after all, we are equal and should behave as such. Granted, it would make it a little easier on the old purse strings if women were being paid the same wages as men, but you can’t blame the guy sitting opposite you for that (unless he’s your boss, of course).

There are obviously instances where I’m not averse to letting him pay. If it’s a birthday treat or a congratulatory cocktail for bagging that dream job, then sure. But for the love of god, I don’t expect it.

Before you even think it, you should know that chivalry, to me, is as outdated as your nan’s curtains, so don’t even bother flying in with that one as an excuse. I like to be wooed as much as the next girl, but the best sort of wooing comes in the form of good manners, making me laugh and wearing an excellent pair of shoes, not someone’s wallet.

From what I know, same-sex couples have it down. Whenever they appear on the show, they split the bill without question and, to me, it just makes perfect sense. You both applied for the show, you are both there because you want to be, so pay your way.

The truth is, if we want men to understand feminism, we need to make it clear for them. So ladies, if you call yourself a feminist and want to be treated equally, then behave as such and pay your way or alternate who picks up the bill each time. Don’t just pick and choose when the rules suit and when they don’t.

My boyfriend and I take it in turns to pay for meals, which works for us, so to the waiter who handed my boyfriend the card reader at brunch on Sunday with such certainty: it’s not your fault, and sorry for snatching it back, but please don’t assume in future; we’re feminists.