Wow, Paris is literally everything I dreamed it would be and so much more! We fell in love with this magical city during our visit. After a few days in London, we jumped on the Eurostar down to Paris for the second half of our Europe trip. We wanted to spend equal time in both major cities, so we became well acquainted with this city and finding our way around. Here are some of my tips/favorite places to visit in Paris.
Where we Stayed
We stayed in the Residence Du Palais which is across the street from Jardin de Luxemburg. Breakfast is available for a fee, but we ventured up our street to a little pastry shop every morning. The owner was so sweet, I would love to go back and visit her someday! There’s also a delicious gelato shop on the same street.
We purchased the 2-day Paris Pass and I HIGHLY recommend it. The pass included all of the sites that we wanted to see, plus a huge list of places that we never would have visited had we not had our passes. We love seeing a few famous paintings, but we are not the type of travelers to stay in an art museum all day, even if it is the Louvre! We were able to pop in and out of a few of the art museums, again without having to wait in line (we actually took a 20 minute nap in the Van Gough exhibit in the Muse De Orsay!). We purchased our tickets in Paris, there are several locations listed on the website, or you can buy them online.
The Eiffel Tower is not included in the Paris Pass and we opted to pay a little less to climb the stairs. I have never been afraid of heights, but this was a little scary for me! You cannot go all the way to the very top via the stairs, you have to take the elevator. We didn’t know that until we got up. I was secretly a little relieved since I was so scared! We also took the metro out to the Sacre Coeur, the surrounding area is a little sketchy, but it is one of my favorite churches in Europe.
We also loved touring the Catacombes under the city. It’s so creepy, but really cool! Get there early because they don’t sell tickets in advance. We got there 30 minutes before tours started to get in line.
We felt pretty safe while walking around, but you do have to watch out for gypsies and pick pocketers. When we first got to the Eiffel Tower, we were approached by some girls who shoved clip boards in our hands. We had read that this was a scam to distract you while the other girls clear your pockets. My husband has a hard time being rude, so I took the clip board and handed it back to them (somewhat forcefully since she wouldn’t take it) and kept walking. I also had someone try to grab my wrist to put a string bracelet on. You can’t get them off and they try to make you buy them. Just be smart and very aware of where your money and passports are, especially in crowded tourist areas or on the metro.
Day trip to Versailles
We took the train for a day trip to the Palace of Versailles. The train ride was only 30 minutes and we got to Versailles right at opening. I loved the palace, it’s HUGE and since we were some of the first people in, we had parts of it to ourselves. By the time we made it to the famous hall of mirrors, it was a little more crowded. Still beautiful though! The grounds were not in full bloom yet, but it was still fun to walk them. You can rent boats and take them out on the water, or rent bikes and ride around. Lots of fun, highly recommend!
Aww the food, I am still having dreams about baguettes and macaroons from Laudree. We loved picking up fresh crepes at the carts. Our favorite cart was by the eiffel tower and had the best ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette, toasted. We went back twice! Some of the crepe carts make them fresh, so make sure to go to those! We also went to Angelina to try the famous hot chocolate and we had some chocolate mousse, amazing! I love that people just walk around with fresh baguettes, there are tons of grocery stores where you can stop for fresh fruit or baguettes. That’s one of the things I loved about Paris, the street food is just as memorable as the food in the restaurants. Fill up on pastries too, everything is delicious!
Take some time to relax in some of the parks, or have a picnic in front of the Louvre. Enjoy the bells on top of Notre Dame and take in beautiful views from places like the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triumphe. Visit some of your favorite sites at night. Brush up on some French phrases, as they really do appreciate the effort, but English is spoken in all of the main tourist areas. And PLEASE take dozens of pictures!