Two incredible days in Paris was a perfect ending for our long Europe trip, but definitely left me with the desire to go back and experience more. Initially, I got mixed reviews from friends when planning. Some said Paris was overrated and crowded; others said it was beautiful, just as the movies described it.
I went in not knowing what to expect, but I was instantly smitten by every inch of this amazing city.
We first got out eyes on the entire city by climbing up La tour Montparnasse, a fantastic overlook of the city with panoramic views. I would highly recommend doing this when you first arrive to get a “lay of the land” and figure out where everything is. And then, of course, we hit all the classic spots – the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, the Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower.
One of my favorite afternoons was walking the Champs-Élysées, the famous walk leading from the Lourve to the Arc de Triomphe. Along this famed walk are many high-end shops and restaurants, many with lines wrapped around the block.
If you have time, walk through the inside of the Notre Dame. The detail on the outside of this cathedral is exquisite, and the inside feels unbelievably serene. Though the line to get in is always long, it doesn’t take too long to filter in, so don’t be turned off by the potential wait. And if you have even more time, spend a day or two exploring the inside of the Lourve. While we didn’t get to on this trip, I’ve heard it takes days and days to see the entire museum.
We were more than fortunate to have our own personal tour guide, our old friend Sebastien who lives in Paris. He took us to so many spots that I wouldn’t have thought to plan:
- Palais Garnier – the Paris Opera House is so beautiful. We loved grabbing dessert at Cafe de la Paix, right across the street, and watching this block transition from light to dusk.
- Luxembourg Palace and Gardens – the Luxembourg Gardens were a nice escape from the city and in a fantastic location.
- Montmartre/Sacré-Cœur – on top of a hill in Paris sits the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. What a beautiful climb and view! I’m so happy we took the time to see this.
- We didn’t make it to Versailles, which I hope to put on my list for next time. Sebastien expressed how amazing this is and a must-do on your trip!
Food, of course, did not disappoint. The bread and pastries were unbelievable. The weather treated us well, so we loved sitting outdoors at cafes sipping espresso and eating delicious food. I would highly recommend finding a variety of cuisines and trying some non-touristy spots. Sebastien’s rule of thumb was to walk until you found a restaurant that looked busy – that’s how you know it’s good.
The Eiffel Tower is big, bold and stunning, though some say it stands out against the beautiful Parisian architecture that was designed for the city. We were giddy seeing it peek through our photos while we were wandering. On our very last night, we went to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle as it does once an hour. It was one of the most magical experiences – and a perfect farewell to the trip.
Paris, you will forever be one of my favorite cities! I could feel the love and energy and warmth around every corner. It was an ideal ending to an awesome trip, and I can’t wait to go back and experience more Paris!
Don’t Miss: The Eiffel Tower (during the day and at night), Notre Dame, the Lourve, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Élysées, Montmartre/Sacré-Cœur, just walking the streets and EAT EAT EAT!
If You Have Time: Palais Garnier, Luxemborg Gardens, Moulin Rouge, Versailles.
Skip: Climbing up the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or Arc de Triomphe (we much prefer La tour Montparnasse so you can see all of these landmarks from above – way cooler).
P.s. All my photos from the trip can be viewed on my Facebook album!