I had high expectations for Paris, France while planning this portion of my Europe Trip of 2014. Everyone speaks so highly of the food, the sights, the vibe, etc., and I have to say, I didn’t give Paris enough credit until I recently looked back on my time there. (Please excuse the iPhone pictures that are less than stellar quality! – Real camera pictures are missing)
Kelsey and I experienced a series of unfortunate events when we arrived. First, Kelsey was putting her ticket into the turnstile at the Metro Station and a vagrant woman pushed Kelsey out of the way and stole her ticket. After we finally made it on the correct Metro, a group of 5-7 girls around the ages of 11-13 years old were in the same cabin as us and jumped out seconds before the doors closed. As we were pulling away, they laughed and waved at everyone as we took off. It wasn’t long after a few tourists noticed they had been ripped off by the group of girls.
WELCOME TO PARIS!
Our quick stop ended up being non-stop movement. I don’t think we ate during one full day because we were moving so quickly. I do not recommend this kind of traveling, especially in a city as large and rich in culture/history as Paris. We missed out on a lot of things but somehow fit in the major sights on our list.
The first day was more or less considered a half-day. We checked into our hostel around 3pm and set out to catch the lighting of the Eiffel Tower. We froze our butts off and ate one too many crepes while ooh’ing and aah’ing at the beauty of this breathtaking structure.
Day two is still mind-blowing to me. How we were able to see and do as much as we did is unbelievable. But, as my Mama always tells me, “whatever you put your mind to, you can do!”
1. The Palace of Versailles
Just a quick train ride outside of Paris you’ll find the jaw dropping Palace of Versailles. A MUST SEE. Get there early and pay the extra money to see Marie Antoinette’s Summer House. I recommend bringing (or buying there) a bottle of wine and snacks. You can sit on the steps and enjoy the view of the famous gardens.
2. The Arc de Triomphe
Whether you’re a fan of the tour de France, or you have absolutely no idea how iconic the Champs Elysées is, the view from the top of The Arc de Triomphe is one in a million. That’s right! You can climb to the top! Surprisingly, not many people knew this when asked about my time in Paris. You’ll climb a narrow spiral staircase and eventually break through to the observation deck overlooking Paris with a direct view of the Eiffel Tower.
3. Top of the Eiffel Tower
Unless you physically CANNOT take the stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower, there’s no excuse. The line for the elevator is ridiculously long and it’s a few euros cheaper to walk to the top. Earn that view!
4. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Although we arrived 5 minutes after they stopped letting people in the doors, the architecture and design on the outside were more than I expected in person. I mean, growing up watching Disney’s, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I felt like I already knew what to expect but Disney really dropped the ball here! 😉 There’s always next time to see inside those doors.
HOW DID WE ACCOMPLISH ALL OF THAT IN ONE DAY?!?
Day three was much slower – can you blame us?! I’m surprised our legs worked after all the stairs we climbed.
1.The Palais Garnier (The Opera House)
The Opera House was under construction when we were visiting but still worth the quick look. Once you exit the metro, directly in front of you is the magnificent Opera House. As an obsessive fan of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s, The Phantom of the Opera, this was a must-see for me. I hummed ‘Masquerade’ in my head the entire way there.
2. The Louvre
Originally a royal palace, The Louvre is one of the world’s largest museums and home to The Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, among thousands of other historical art pieces from around the world. I recommend using a map if you want to see specific styles, and if you don’t, go get lost in this massive museum! We started in Egyptian Antiquities and somehow ended up in Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities where we stumbled upon the Venus de Milo (and hundreds of people crowding around it). You can spend a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days here and remain in awe of this world famous collection.
It wasn’t long after we ate our lunch (more crepes) when we needed to catch our train to Brussels, Belgium.
Next time I’m in Paris, I NEED to see/do the following: Sacre-Coeur Basilica and the surrounding area of Montmartre, see an opera, Musée d’Orsay, Jardin de Luxembourg, and people watch in the Latin Quarter.
What else should I see and do when I go back?