Seeing Paris’ glorious architecture and immense history in Autumn’s golden light is simply jaw-dropping.

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Aside from all of the usual things I choose to do on city breaks (eat… drink… eat…etc, etc…) I love to explore on foot. And of course, whether you like it or not, it’s only necessary to visit a few tourist spots to get them ticked off the list.

I’m not always the biggest fan of tourist-y things (cue long queues, overpriced tickets, and big crowds…), however going up the Sacre Coeur was my favourite. Yup, even more so than the Eiffel Tower.

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We were lucky that our boutique hotel was located nearby the walk to the very quirky MonteMarte, and therefore also Sacre Coeur. So we set off out of our gorgeous room off to explore…

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It is a long walk up to the Sacre Coeur, so there are lifts for those less able to walk very far – but I highly recommend walking it if you can. We set off at golden hour, and the views on the way up are magical; those golden rooftops underneath dusty pink skies just get me every time.

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In between each set of steep steps were authentic cafes and bars, that I was just dying to try…

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But with the sun setting slowly but surely, and knowing the views from the top are well worth it, we saved them for another time! Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church that boasts breath-taking 360 panoramic views of the city, offering sights of the romantic cobbled Parisian streets and its iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower.

 

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Tickets are almost half the price of many other viewing points in Paris, and they don’t let you down. So it’s good for those of us on a budget, yet who still want to make the most out of our travels.

After a long wander around Sacre Couer, our hunger took over. We’d passed Montemarte on our walk up, and since walking down is a little more pleasurable, we couldn’t wait to head back and try some French cuisine.

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This busy part of Paris is a beautiful little square, full of artists, restaurants, and bustling with energy. Not to mention the extremely tempting patisseries…
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We settled on a little restaurant outside in the square, and although the food and service did slightly disappoint, the atmosphere made up for it. The wine was good, too…

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Things you may spot during an early morning in Paris:
A local patisserie overflowing with Parisians, fresh baguettes tucked under one arm; early risers on their usual commute to work, some taking the Metro, some cycling outside in the fresh air; couples and friends perched on wicker chairs outside of gloriously red cafes, sipping on strong espresso before beginning their day.

 

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And if you were about last weekend, you could have spotted me and my other half, wandering around at the crack of dawn trying to find petit dejeuner… (or brekkie as we know it here)

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We were staying in the gorgeous & theatrical Sasha Hotel near Pigalle. Early Sunday morning we scoured the streets for breakfast, passing the warming patisseries, tempting us in with the aromas of fresh pastries flowing out onto the pavement.

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Despite briefly living in France during my younger school years, this was actually my first time staying in Paris – and I loved everything about it. The city scene is both busy and beautiful, with incredibly old buildings and sights around every corner; yet never overwhelming. It is somewhat calmer, and has a much slower pace than London (certainly more so than New York) and so it still holds familiar traits of the small town France that I know so well.

And on that Sunday morning, after much indecisiveness, we settled on Cafe Indiana, falling in love with its iconic Parisian style; the royal red decor and wicker seating.

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French breakfast anyone? I’m a sucker for freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly baked bread.

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…But we couldn’t leave it at that. Eggs, bacon and sausages on the side will also do just fine, thank you…

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It’s important to have a big breakfast if you plan on walking a lot. We used public transport twice over 3 days, and realised that you see more of the city if you walk rather than traipse underground on the metro.  Download Google Maps to your phone and it will be your new best friend (and some comfy shoes)

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Of course, whilst in Paris, one must go up the Tour de Eiffel. Not exactly Parisian, but a tourist must do!

The views are breathtaking and well worth the wait. However, the queues are often long so buy a ticket in advance if this is something you really wish to do.

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And after too much tourist-ing, I think a glass of champers is in order.

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Luckily, the Hotel Sasha offers champagne every night for all guests… *fistpumps*

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I’m not talking about the Empire State Building.

I’m a strong believer that, although yes, it is great to go up iconic buildings (for example, the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye…) but it is never the best view of the city.

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If you’re looking for that picture perfect moment in that iconic city, then what’s the point if you can’t see the most iconic building in view?SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThat’s why, during my long visit to the bustling city of New York, we went to the Rockefeller Centre (aka Top of the Rock) for one of the best views in the world.

Not only can you view the Empire State Building towering over the other skyscrapers, but you get the perfect view of Central Park…

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There are numerous viewing points/floors, too, so you get the best experience.

My highlight was climbing right to the top and getting an open air view of the entire, spectacular  city, without any glass hindering the scenery.

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So sure, head up to the Empire State Building for the experience. But head up to the Rockefeller Centre for the best view of all.

 

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You don’t always need to venture down south to have a beach day.

Maine isn’t known for being the beach destination, but it sure is ‘Vacationland’.

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During my time in Maine, me and three of my girls that were amazing enough to take the British tourist around, spent spent a day exploring beaches and towns.

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Hills Beach in Biddeford Maine is a long stretch of sandy beach. Follow the grassy sand dunes down to the coast and take in the quietness of the coastline and the pine tree views from a distance.

Not only did we sunbathe, but I had the real USA experience with a fire on the beach and had my first ever s’more…

The beach and a bestie can’t get much better!

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When the sand and sun gets too much, perhaps take the short drive towards gorgeous Kennebunkport for the cutest shops and bars.

Kennebunkport is a town in in York County, Maine, and is perfect for a little gift shopping and strolling around the port. See masted ships and boats line the panelled – and surprisingly for the USA – quite old buildings. Unsurprisingly though, the town is as charming and gorge as the rest of Maine!

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Driving to the top of the Griffiths Observatory, the starry view became more clear on the climb.

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Approaching the giant, iconic building, you notice that the view is almost more magnificent than the building itself.

See every angle of Los Angeles, from the city, the Hollywood sign and the hills that surround the twinkling lights.

It really is beautiful up here, and we were so lucky that we decided to go last minute, as it was one of the highlights of my trip.

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Los Angeles from above is even more beautiful than from down below, in the middle of it all, and the view from Griffith Observatory is amazing.

Most surprisingly, it’s also free – so you can hike, drive or ride up without any cost to you at all!

Could you ask for anything more?

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