Contrary to popular belief, Autumn is still here.

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November may have begun, and the Christmas light switch-ons are well underway, but I personally can’t let go of Autumn until it is officially Winter.

Autumn is a very special time of year for all, and I was lucky to spend some of Autumn in Paris this year. The perfect time to go and sip Chocolat Chaud and eat cake.

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But, if my “go to drink hot chocolate” didn’t sell it for you, then here are 3 legit reasons to actually visit Paris in Fall:

  1. Experience Paris’ Fall Foliage

Autumn in Paris means gloriously crisp days, and beautiful colours around every corner. These cooler days are the perfect time to see Paris, since it is still mild enough to walk everywhere, yet crisp enough to see Paris’ foliage in its autumnal glory. Walk the Champs de Elyees or the Louvre Palace to capture some incredibly vibrant fall shots. Faithful to true Parisian style, many of these trees are arranged in elegant lines, and the tree-hedges are in a gorgeous orderly arrangement like nowhere else.

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2. Feel like a Parisian

School has started again, and tourists have began to leave the city before Christmas season begins. Although still a busy city, Autumn is the quietest time to visit. How does exploring the streets of Paris alongside the locals sound? And not fighting tourists for table views on the terrace? It’s mostly just you and the locals, generally. Sure, there are tourists around, but it’s half the amount compared to July. Sounds perfect to me.

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3. It’s a cheaper time to visit Paris

From airfare to hotel costs, it is much less expensive to visit than Christmas, Spring, Summer or even February (Valentines Season: when prices increase incredibly – those on a budget should avoid like the plague). In summer, demand pushes the prices back up, so by Fall, everything is falling straight back down. *kerching*

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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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Almost everyone living in London has been on a Thames Boat Cruise. However, my night spent on the “Symphony” cruise boat at the Bateaux London Dinner cruise on Sunday was a unique experience I probably won’t forget.  It was such a nice evening, and I think I might have had one of the loveliest meals of my life so far on that boat.

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Aside from the dinner, the views are obviously spectacular (London at night – you can’t beat it!) and the live music on board was pretty damn good.

An elite 5-course ‘a la carte’ meal, champagne, and as much wine as we liked per person from an ‘Elite Wine List’… Pretty much my perfect night.

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There are a number of options to choose from when buying a ticket for the Bateaux dinner cruise – all ranging from £79 per person to £155 per person. My boyfriend chose for us, since we were going on my birthday, and our experience is based on the “Signature Thames Dinner Cruise on board the Symphony”. This guaranteed us  a window seat, champagne on arrival, complimentary wine on the Elite wine list, after dinner liqueurs and of course everything else that comes with the basic packages (5 course meal etc).

Our meal began with a beetroot “shot” and bread, then for our next starter we chose the smoked salmon, the main meal was lamb rump, a cheese platter for the first dessert, finishing off with a chocolate fondue and coffee/tea and liqueurs.

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A bottle each – don’t mind if we do

I had the best time here and so I hardly have any complaints at all. The organisation of the event was fine, although one thing I will mention is that at the beginning we were given wine instead of champagne on arrival so we had to ask for our champagne after about 5 or 10 minutes into the experience but I really wasn’t that fussed about that at all.

Overall I was so happy with the evening and would definitely give it a very high rating.

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The dress code is “strictly formal and evening wear” which everyone adhered to (one old man had a proper tuxedo on and was up dancing all night which was quite funny) – although one or two people were let in wearing shirts and jeans.

Bethany x

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My last few days living outside of London this summer have been nice and well-spent. This time next week I will be living in London again and I can’t wait to be back in my favourite city!

Until then, I thought I would write up a short-but-sweet post on a different favourite city of mine in England: Canterbury. Although in comparison to London this city is much smaller, I love it because I spent three years of my life studying at College there, and although I was ready to move away from this place it is always nice to go back and appreciate its beauty.

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It is always a tourist hotspot, and there are many reasons as to why so many people go.

Most of the international tourists here always visit the Cathedral which is stunning.

Despite the many modern shops and stores, such as Topshop and French Connection, the streets still have not lost their old traditional charms. Many of the buildings are a little older than you’d think, my favourite building is a restaurant on by the river – it has been there since the 1500’s. You can also take a river boat tour here too which although I am yet to try, I have heard its definitely worthwhile!

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With cobbled streets, old fashioned sweet shops and ice cream carts, the city really does take tradition seriously!

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There are more pubs than bars or clubs in Canterbury, so its the perfect place for a proper pub crawl! When we visited the other day we went to the Foundry Brew Pub for their craft beer festival.

I always love to go to small festivals like these; they’re inexpensive, have great live music and you can always find yourself meeting new people. We found ourselves chatting to some guys and girls from South Africa and Canada at this one.

They had travelled in from London that day too, so that’s just proof that it doesn’t take long to reach these other cute places and how worthwhile it can be.

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Bethany x

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