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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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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London. A city with a million opportunities, things to do, people to meet and places to see.

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All of the above are expectations andluckily – the reality of London. However, this amazing city isn’t always what you expect it to be.

Don’t get me wrong: London is still my favourite city in the world. Although I am yet to visit some other cities, and despite living here for well over a year, I have a deep feeling that it will always remain my favourite. It is home to me, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

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But here are a list of things that I expected to happen when I made that big move to the city… But maybe didn’t quite pan out as easily as I thought.

 

  1. BEING GOOD WITH MONEY

There really is a cost to living in an exciting place like London *no pun intended*… it is pretty god darn expensive here. You need to take time find out where to shop, how to travel around, and where to eat inexpensively. If you were to go on an exciting-very-english pub crawl, for example, I would save that for a country village or town outside of London. It is easy to spend way too much money on food or drinks in the city.

 

2. I’M GOING TO CYCLE EVERYWHERE

This is actually something I originally wanted to do when I arrived here. There are so many cyclists around London, it must save a bucket load of cash just riding everywhere rather than using the bus or tube. It is also much greener. I’m still undecided on what made me change my mind. Maybe it is because I remembered how cold England is for most of the year. But the more likely reason is that most of us would rather pay for a tube than put our lives in the hands of London’s loony drivers.

 

3. I WILL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL FOR THE TUBE

Coming from a small town near the countryside, I know exactly what it is like to miss a bus and have to wait another hour in the freezing cold for the next one.  “I will always be grateful for efficient London transport” I said… then only a few months in and I find myself cursing when I have to wait 6 minutes for the next bus. I am now part of the blood-thirsty-London-mob-crowd that you will find standing on the yellow line, whining about a technical error leading to a 5 minute tube delay. Impatience in London is contagious.

 

4. RENT CAN’T BE THAT BAD IN LONDON

It is true what people say about living here: for the price of a cosy flat here, no matter how swish it may look on the inside, you can probably get a castle for the same amount elsewhere. It is ridiculous really. This aside, however, I do personally feel that the quality of life is better here – especially if you are a young adult. If I had the choice of a huge house back in my small hometown, or a cosy apartment in London, I would still choose the latter. Every time.

 

5. MY LIFE WILL BASICALLY BE THE LONDON VERSION OF SITC

(Sex in the City – FYI)

This is probably the most laughable of them all, isn’t it? Alright so I never thought it would actually be like this really, but I did think it would consist of cocktail nights every single weekend and constant dinners in central London with my girlies. But it turns out that we all have budgets and most people opt for the cheaper student nights (understandable). Nonetheless, I do lurrrrve my cocktails and when we all get the chance to, it is the perfect way to spend a night out in the city. Just try to visit on happy hours if you are on a budget and want to keep your bank account happy.

 

Despite all of the above, I absolutely adore London. The past year and a half has probably been the most fun of my life and I have made friends for life.

I won’t be leaving anytime soon.

 

 

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