It’s amazing what you can fit into 24 hours. That’s exactly how long we had to experience Paris in celebration of Renaissance Hotel’s Global Day of Discovery. Just wait til you see everything we managed to squeeze in!
The day was jam packed full of sightseeing, fantastic food, fashion, dancing, limousines and experiencing a uniquely different side of Paris (no tourist traps on this itinerary). I don’t want to give away all the surprises just yet though.
Waking up bright and early, I reluctantly crawled out from under the covers and left the cosiness of my ridiculously comfy bed. Not having peeked the night before, I drew back the curtains to see what views were waiting behind my bedroom windows.
One side overlooked the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant where we had eaten the night before. I watched for a couple of minutes as a few early breakfast go-ers went about their leisurely morning routine.
The other window looked out over St. Pancras station towards Paul Day’s well known sculpture, The Meeting Place. I enjoyed observing the peacefulness of the station – I’ve never seen it so quiet.
If you are catching a train into, or out of St. Pancras station, you certainly can’t get a more convenient hotel! The trains literally pull up to the door.
With our takeaway breakfasts in hand, the hotel’s VIP transfer service took our luggage through to customs for us where we boarded our early morning Eurostar bound for Paris.
Before we knew it, we arrived at Gare du Nord station to a hot summer’s morning, ready for our Day of Discovery in Paris to officially begin.
There were a few giggles and squeals as we laid eyes on our transport parked across the street. A row of brightly coloured convertible Citroën 2CV’s awaited to take us on a tour of the city.
Surprisingly, these little gems fit three passengers, plus a driver, so we divided ourselves among the cars and buckled up. Lucy and Charly opted for the bright orange number, while Angie, Danielle and I went for the racing red model.
Our driver zipped around and weaved in and out of the midday traffic, which is no easy feat in Paris. The beauty of being in a 2CV was being able to dart around and sneak into small spaces (the traffic in Paris is CRAZY). There were a lot of laughs and the driver only gave us one rule: to smile.
These cars attract a lot of attention, so there is always someone taking a photo.
We made our way towards the cobbled streets of one of Paris’ most historic neighbourhoods, Montmartre. I would highly recommend adding it to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful area to explore with gorgeous buildings and cafes lining the narrow streets.
Many famous artists used to once live and work here; Picasso, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Vlamenck, Derain and Soutine to name a few.
As our convoy climbed to the highest point of the city in Montmare, we were dwarfed by the dominant landmark of Basilique Sacré-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) perched above us.
This large Roman Catholic church certainly has the best views sweeping across the almost flat cityscape of Paris. Fantastic photo spot!
Moving on and winding our way down, our tour guide pointed out a few buildings of note before letting us get a quick snap outside the well-known cabaret, Moulin Rouge.
At the end of the Champs-Elysées we had another pit stop in one of the major squares, Place de la Concorde for a few snaps (and selfies).
One of the perks about a city tour in a 2CV with Paris Authentic – the cars are extremely photogenic!
Even though we were experiencing a lesser-known side of Paris, I still got rather excited catching sight of the infamous Eiffel Tower as we whizzed past.
Parked at the lights, I very nearly missed seeing it altogether as I was looking down distracted by my phone. Just goes to show how important it is to look up and take in your surroundings as you might just miss something spectacular!
For lunch, it was time to escape to a tranquil garden setting in the heart of the city at the Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero.
It was a welcome oasis nestled in-between buildings of the hotel, you wouldn’t have a clue of the outside bustle beyond the grounds, or that tourist hotspots Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower were so near. Even the local French bloggers didn’t know this spot existed.
We lounged in the speckled sun on bean bags and outdoor chairs, dining al fresco sampling a selection of local flavours.
There were delicious pots of creamy avocado mousse mixed with herbs and topped with salmon and bean sprouts.
Refreshing cold gazpacho (used to the cold-pressed juice craze here in the UK, I naively thought it was ginger and carrot juice and sucked up a large mouthful).
Still tasty nonetheless!
Open sandwiches on toasted bread were topped with cured meat and fresh seasoned vegetables.
Olivia and I soaked up the warmth in the garden and toasted to the day with a glass of chilled champagne.
Everyone’s eyes lit up as shortbread biscuit bases topped with fresh berries and an outdoor frozen yoghurt machine were brought out for dessert. Very welcomed in the summer heat.
Finished eating, Charlie, Angie and I escaped the heat and had a quick nosy inside before being whisked off for the next of the day’s activities.
There’s still an afternoon and evening of action to come. Told you we managed to squeeze a lot in!
I was a guest of Renaissance Hotels, experiencing Paris for their annual Global Day of Discovery. All excursions were planned by the hotels’ Navigators who are experts in suggesting different local activities and booking exclusive events for guests.
Explore and discover,