Sorry for taking so long to get this post up! After spending several days sifting through all of the files and then searching for the lost SD card with the majority of my Paris shots, I realized that I am doing something wrong here! I need to learn how to compress my photos so they don’t take FOREVER to upload and they don’t take up as much space. How do you do this?!
I was only in Paris for a short time so I really tried my best to pack everything in. I skipped lines and saved time by using the Paris Pass. I also walked so much that I had five blisters by the time I moved on to my next city.
I arrived mid morning in Paris after sharing a row of seats with two French Canadians who were very friendly, but who made it very difficult for me to sleep on the plane. I was really tired, but I knew that I just wanted to go to my hostel to drop my bag and then start exploring the Montmartre area.
I took the TGV into town from the airport (for 10E). It took about 40 minutes and I just chatted with this older woman who was traveling from the US to meet her son in Paris for her fourth or fifth time. She shared with me that the Montmartre area is her favorite part of Paris which got me excited.
I had previously pinned the location of my hostel to a google map which I used offline to point me in the right direction of my hostel. I stored my backpack in their luggage area, they pointed me toward the Sacred Heart Basilica, and off I went in that direction.
Despite having a free map in my pocket I took the time to just wander in the area. I eventually climbed up the 222 steps (there is a funicular available too) and reached the basilica just as the sky started dumping rain!
Note: watch out for the men standing around with “friendship bracelets”. They will try to grab your wrist and tie the bracelet and then demand money. I kept my hands in my coat pockets and watched them do it to other tourists.
From there I tried to make reservations at this fancy french restaurant that I had read about on Trip Advisor but it was so small that the owner told me it was booked for the next six weeks, and no he couldn’t even squeeze even one person in. 😦 I think I had some Indian food instead.
I then wandered down the hill into the Pigalle neighborhood. It was full of sex shops, shows, and cheap souvenirs for sale. I wandered until I reached the Moulin Rouge.
After that I wandered back toward my hostel, grabbed some bread from the bakery a block down, some gooey cheese and prosciutto from the corner store, and had an early night.
Day 2: Museum Day
I started super early at the Louvre. The Paris Museum pass meant I already had my ticket so I was in the short line for about ten minutes before it opened. Then I followed the mad rush of people who were making a bee line for the Mona Lisa. I saw it, but I was most impressed with the fact that it is valued to be one of the most expensive paintings in the world so instead of insuring it, the Louvre spends most of their time protecting it physically. I used the Rick Steve’s app to guide me through the high points of the museum collection. My feet were so tired after being there for a couple of hours that I went in to a Starbucks just outside of the exit to get a large iced coffee and rest my feet!
From there I caught the Hop on Hop Off Buss (included with my Paris Pass) and headed to the Musee d’Orsay to see some Van Gogh pieces. I loved how there was no wait for me to get in, very little crowding around the artwork, and it just seemed so much easier to manage than the Louvre.
I hopped a bridge to wander over to La Orangerie and stopped to see some love locks that seemed to be on every bridge.
I went to the Musee de l’Orangerie because I used to love gazing at this journal I had as a child covered with a painting of Monet’s Water Lilies and it was included in my Museum Pass. Once I got there I encountered a class or two of school children and just didn’t fall in love.
I walked to O Chateau for a wine tasting which was included with my Paris Pass but because it took me so long to find it I ended up purchasing a meat and cheese plate to go with it as my lunch. It was delicious and I was full at the end, but I didn’t want the wine to stop either!
I hopped back on the hop on/off bus to make my way up to the Arc de Triomphe. It was included in my pass so thankfully I was able to pass the longest line I had seen all day! I climbed the 284 steps to the top to enjoy lovely views of Paris.
After all the walking and climbing I did on this day I was ready for the day to end. But my first day in Paris wouldn’t have been complete without an hour wait in the line to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I went all the way to the top to see lovely views, but I prefer the view from the Arc instead (I didn’t climb the stairs as I had planned because I was just too tired at this point).
Day 3: Versailles
This day will get a post of its own since is not really IN Paris. Fantastic day trip from Paris though.
Day 4: A Little Bit of Everything
I got to the Notre Dame Cathedral an hour before opening so that I wouldn’t have a huge line ahead of me. While there were only ten people ahead of me, I was so cold in the misty rain that would occasionally fall while I waited that I wish I had just gone later. The views after the 387 steps to the top were worth it though.
From there I walked to Shakespeare and Company Bookstore. I’m a huge book nerd so I wanted to browse the many English titles and see if any books popped out at me as the perfect souvenir. I didn’t find any books but I loved hanging out in this artistic space (especially upstairs with the cat and the comfy reading areas). I love the history of the place with the original store being frequented by authors such as Hemingway and Fitzgerald!
Then I hopped over a couple of blocks to take a quick peak at the beautiful stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle.
Then on the same block I visited the Conciergerie. Marie-Antoinette was held there so it was a quiet place to ponder the history of Paris. It was also a good place to use the Museum Pass and take advantage of a clean bathroom.
After the Conciergerie I hightailed it over to the Montparnasse Tower (included in the Paris Pass). I had a lovely lunch here despite the rain and clouds. The views were not the best though. Then I took the metro over to the Rodin Museum. I loved hanging out here and just wandering around his sculpture garden, journaling while enjoying a coffee, and just taking it all in.
There was a break in the drizzle so I raced from the Rodin Museum to the banks of the Seine (a UNESCO site) to catch the river cruise which was included in my Paris Pass. The cruise was a simple up and down the Seine, but it might have been my favorite part of Paris!
I ended my last day in Paris with a walk up the Champs Elysees. I stopped in at Sephora and bought some La Vie Est Belle parfum and a lipstick. Then I headed over to Laduree for a fancy macaron and wine snack. I had the pistachio and salted caramel macarons which I highly recommend. I did a taste test of a couple other macron places and Laduree wins hands down!
It was the perfect way to end my time in Paris! I can’t wait to go back!
Next up is a (hopefully much shorter) post on Versailles and then Bruges.
Did I visit any of your favorite places in Paris? Did I miss something that I really ought to go to next time?