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Paris

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting around

Metro

Very easy; there are different types of passes you can purchase. I would recommend purchasing the 10 ride pass if you plan to use it a lot. The city is huge so if you are in a time crunch, this helps you get around quickly and still see a lot!

Foot

We walked almost everywhere in Paris. However, this meant a TON of walking and a lot of planning to make sure we saw the key sights in the key areas. I love getting to know cities by foot and we had 4 full days to see just the city of Paris (7 days/8 nights total with 3 day trips)

Uber

Accommodation

Paris is HUGE. It is broken up into 20 arrondissements. Thus, I would recommend staying relatively central. We stayed in 7, which was great. If I come again, I’d probably stay even closer to the Latin Quarter, found in the 6th We found this to be a great area for meals as it has lots of restaurants, bars, wine bars, etc.

Things to do and see

Eiffel Tower

Visiting the Eiffel Tower – There are three different levels on the Eiffel Tower. There’s the first level (which most people do not stop at when visiting), the second level (a good view point) and the summit. You can buy different types of tickets (providing access to different levels). We had to purchase our summit tickets on the second level because sometimes in the summer the summit closes when it gets too crowded at the top. Then it reopens again when the area is less busy.

If you’re going during busy season, BOOK TICKETS IN ADVANCE. We waited too long so we had to book ours with a tour group. This worked okay, but then we had to wait to purchased tickets on the second floor to reach the summit.

There are two sets of security and the waiting is largely dictated by security and also by the elevators. You CAN climb to the second level if you’d like. However, we decided to take the elevator up and walk down.

Parc du Champs de Mars

Park at bottom of Eiffel Tower

Arc de Triomphe

Climbing to the top: Go underground to access the Arc de Triomphe. This is where you buy tickets to climb to the top and it brings you above ground to the center of the round about. There are just under 300 steps to get to the top and it has a nice view! I’ve been to the top during the day and at night. If you go at night, be sure to catch the Eiffel Tower sparkling for 5 minutes on the hour after sunset.

Rue Cler

Market street in wealthy district near Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame de Paris
The Louvre/Louvre Pyramid

Largest museum in the world

Giant pyramid outside!

There’s more than one entrance to the art museum. The main one most visitors go to is the pyramid. However, this will almost always have a line. Thus, I’d recommend getting your pictures here, and then going to the Carrousel entrance. When facing the large pyramid, this is just past the mini arch on both the left and right side. There are stairs that go underground. Take these stairs and then follow signs to the museum. You’ll skip most of the line. For us there was also a line inside to get through security, but saved us time!

Check museum hours! Sometimes it is weird (i.e. I believe Wednesday and Fridays it is open late, while it is completely closed on Tuesdays).

Download the app! We got so lost without it and the map was not that helpful for us.

Some of the most famous pieces there include:

Mona Lisa: Leonardo da Vinci

The Wedding at Cana: Paolo Veronese [right across from the Mona Lisa and it’s giant]

Venus de Milo

The Winged Victory of Samothrace [found in staircase not far from the Mona Lisa]

The Coronation of Napoleon: Jacques-Louis David

Liberty Leading the People: Eugene Delacroix

Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love: Antonio Canova

Le Couronnement de la Vierge: Fra Angelico

The Raft and the Medus

Two of Michelangelo’s Dying Slaves

Jardin de Tuileries

Park near the Louvre

Champs-Elysess

Famous and large shopping street; leads up to Arc de Triomphe

Montmarte

Top of the hill is Sacre-Coeur (second most visited church in Paris behind Notre Dame)

Place du Tertre

Square near Sacre-Coeur. I loved this square and the whole area over here as there were tons of artists and it had a nice vibe!

Jardin du Luxembourg and Luxembourg Palace
Sainte Chapelle

Gothic cathedral with beautiful stained glass windows

La Conciergerie
Pantheon
Saint-Etienne du Mont

Church near Pantheon

Hotel des Invalides
Latin Quarter

Very fun area to walk around in. We found it AWESOME for dinner and drinks. Lots of restaurants around here. We stayed about 20 minutes from here and I wish we had stayed closer because most nights we ate here.

Centre Pompidou

Modern art museum

Grand Palais
Pont des Art

Former love lock bridge

Pont Alexandre III

Bridge between Grand Palais and Hotel des Invalides

Place de la Bastille
Place de la Concorde

Largest square in Paris

Musee d’orsay
L’orangerie

Art gallery/museum

Pont Neuf
Promenade Plantee

Paris’ version of the highline (city garden on old train tracks); there’s an entrance near the Opera Bastille

Rue Cremieux

Some colorful houses on this street (but far away from most touristy sights aside from Place de la Bastille and one end of Promenade Plantee)

Tons of DAY TRIPS
Versailles

Getting there

Take the RER C to Versailles stop (last stop). Then walk about 10 minutes to reach Versailles.

Visiting

IF visiting in the summer, GET THERE EARLY, or expect long lines. We had tickets already and had to wait 1.5 hours to get into the palace because the line was so long just to enter the palace. We first did the palace and then the gardens (gardens are free some days and you have to pay other days – days that there is a fountain and music show you pay). When we left, the line was shorter for entering the palace (probably about a 45-minute wait). Thus, had we known this, we should’ve gone straight to the gardens and spent some time there, and then gone back to enter the palace when the line was shorter.

Main things to see: Palace with the Hall of Mirrors and the Gardens

Loire Valley

We did this with a guided tour (Paris City Vision) and visited three castles. This was a long day as it started around 7:15 am and we got back around 7:45 pm. We did not have a ton of time at each castle, but we never felt too rushed as we did not want to spend a significant amount of time at the castles.

Chambord

Chenonceau

Cheverny

Reims – Champagne Region

Reims – capital of the region

Epernay – town with lots of Champagne company hubs

Champagne cellar and tasting tours: we did this with an organized group so these were already set. We visited Mumm and also Mercier. Both were very nice!

Our group was rather large, and if I were to do it again, I would recommend booking a small group tour. You get more time and can visit more places. It would also be a more personalized experience. Nonetheless, I definitely recommend doing a day trip to this area!

Normandy
Bourdeaux
Giverny – Monet’s gardens are here
Mont Saint Michel
Other small towns!

Food and Drink Recommendations

L’Entrecote

Very typical French. Two locations, but go to the one in the Latin Quarter if you can. There are no menus, no reservations, and often lines outside. You are served a small salad first. Then you get some steak with a sauce and skinny fries, and then the waitress comes around again and gives you more of both. There’s only a menu for dessert!

Little Breizh

GREAT crepe place in Latin Quarter. Small and often lines later so get there early or plan to wait.

Margherita

Cute Italian place (but more options than just Italian) set up like a house. Many people like just coming here for drinks too. Fun area as it’s in the Latin Quarter

Rise e Bisi

Italian restaurant near 8th and 9th arrondissement; delicious!

Angelina’s

Macaroon place! Also heard it’s fun to grab tea here

Amorino

Gelato place!

Laduree

Desserts and macaroons

Pierre Herme

Macaroons (often more exotic flavors)

Tavolino

Cute little Italian place that wasn’t far from where we were staying

La Citroulle

Variety of food options, located in Latin Quarter

Picnic near the Eiffel Tower and watch it glitter!

French foods to try: Croissants, Crepes, Baguettes, Duck, Macaroons, Champagne, French wine

Creperie Suzette
Ristorante Al Caratello
Fish (La Boissonnerie) Paris
La Jacobine Salon de The
Le Petit Marche
Chez Janou
Chez Julien
Café Marly
13 – A Bakers Dozen

Other Notes

Consider buying the Museum Pass if you plan to hit a bunch of the major sights in Paris! It can help you skip lines and save money

Also, IF you are an EU citizen, you can get into most Paris sights for free! Just bring your passport with you.

Lots of food places, we found, to be closed on Sundays and/or Mondays

Paris is HUGE. You could spend 3 days trying to pack everything in, or you could stay for a week and still have plenty to do. We stayed for 8 nights, 7 days, something I feared might be too long because some people LOVE Paris and some people HATE However, we had 3 day trips planned (Reims, Loire Valley, and Versailles). Versailles is a must when you come to Paris, the others were extra! We looked into also doing Normandy, but it was a bit further away (3.5 hours outside the city) so we decided to save that for another trip.