Europe,  France,  Paris,  Travels

Paris, France – what to visit

Hey Hey! 2019 has started and I couldn’t wait to travel again! My first trip of the year was to Paris, France and I would like to tell you more about what to visit there. It was not my first time in the French capital. I visited it 5 years ago when one of my best friends moved there. Now, 5 years later I visited her again and I could say that I enjoyed the city even more. In my opinion people appreciate things differently with age. This was exactly the way I felt this time – a grown up girl in the city of love.

Paris is a contradictory city – you either love it or hate it. I am definitely one of those who adore the city, it is just so romantic and magical… You will say: but it is overcrowded, dirty, smelly, etc. Yes, it might be or it is, but there is something about that place that attracts me a lot. Love doesn’t need explanations, right? 🙂

Here are some tips before you go:
  • Paris is relatively big city, it is easy to walk by foot in the city center where many of the attractions are concentrated, but if you want to reach other interesting places you must use the public transport. The metro ticket costs 1.90. If you buy 10, the price for all is 14.90 euros.
  • French people don’t really like foreign languages, your English might not help you that much there. But don’t worry, in the restaurants they do understand more.
  • Paris is a quite expensive town. Make sure you have money in your bank account.
  • They have huuuge rats there! Yes, they are everywhere.
  • French people love cheese. And they have amazing cheese there, make sure to taste them!

Last time I visited Paris it was in the end of the spring so the weather was sunny and hot. This time was during the winter and I could see Paris in a different light. I visited many new places and I could enjoy more as I had more days in the city. When you organize your agenda take in consideration the season. Some of the things you want to do might not be the best idea in case you go during the winter. I was lucky, the weather was not that cold, but normally in the winter the temperature is -5 to -15 and the wind from the river makes it even worse.

I spent in Paris four days in total. As my friend was working during the week, I had some time to walk alone around the city and see the typical touristic attractions. During the weekend we had more typical local Parisian experience when she brought me to more authentic areas of Paris.

Here is my list of 20 must visit touristic places in Paris that are worth seeing in my opinion (Paris has thousands of museums as well, but you know me, I cannot recommend many or any, to be honest 😀 ):
  1. Trocadero

It is an area in Paris that occupies the Palace of Chaillot and the Eiffel tower across Seine river. It is a popular spot to take pictures of the tower, because the view is stunning. This is the place where PSG celebrated its victories as well.

  • Eiffel tower

The most emblematic French monument I would say. And to be honest the tower is quite impressive, especially when you look it from distance. For a long time it was the most visited attraction in Europe.

View from the Eiffel tower

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second levels. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the climb from the first level to the second. Although there is a staircase to the top level, it is usually accessible only by lift. I visited it the first time I was in Paris, because as you can imagine, during the winter it is terribly cold up there. The queue for the lift was enormously long this is why we used the stairs. It is not an easy task to go up by foot, but the view is worth it. It is the tallest Parisian building after all. Because of the hundreds of tourists I couldn’t reach the top of the tower.

During the night, when it is dark there is a light show on the tower. Every hour the lights of the tower start blinking, it is so beautiful to see it!

Eiffel tower at night
  • Arc de triomphe
Arc de Triomphe

The arch is standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. Starting from the arch you can also walk through the most famous boulevard in Paris – Champs-Elysees. There are many expensive and not that expensive stores.

  • Place de la Concorde
Place de Concorde

This square is one of the major public squares in Paris and the largest in the French capital. It is located at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. It was the site of many notable public executions during the French Revolution. The center of the Place is occupied by a giant Egyptian obelisk. It is one of two the Egyptian government gave to the French in the 19th century. There are two beautiful fountains in the square as well.

  • Grand and Petit Palais
Grand Palais

Both palaces are used as museums nowadays. As you can imagine, I haven’t been inside, but the architecture of the buildings is pretty impressive.

Petit Palais
  • Pont Alexandre III
Pont Alexandre III

Maybe the most beautiful bridge in Paris, really extravagantly decorated. Crossing the bridge you observe beautiful views – towards Grand Palais from one side and the Invalides to the other.

  • Les Invalides
Les Invalides

It is a large complex that includes museums, churches and other buildings all related to the military history of France, as well a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, which was the original purpose of the complex. Les Invalides houses the tomb of Napoleon and other known and unknown soldiers. It is a really nice area to walk around.

Les Invalides
  • Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries

The garden is a beautiful public park located between Place de Concorde and the Louvre.

  • Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

This arch is located in the end of the Jargin des Tuileries, right next to the Louvre. It was built to commemorate Napoleon’s victories of the year.

  • Musee de Louvre
Musee de Louvre

It is the world’s largest art museum and the most visited one for the last year. It contains hundreds of thousands objects from all around the world. The most famous painting there is probably Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. The queue is usually huge, but if you are an art fan I guess it is definitely once of a lifetime experience!

  • Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Notre Dame

“Our lady of Paris” is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité. The cathedral became even more popular after Victor Hugo’s book was published. Nowadays it attracts thousands of tourists which makes it one of the most popular monuments of Paris.

Last time I visited Paris, the bridge behind the cathedral was full of love padlocks, but few years ago the walls of one of these bridges (because most of the bridges in Paris were used to “lock” your love forever) fell down and now you cannot see almost any, it might be forbidden, I am not sure.

  •  Seine river boat trip

It might be too touristic for your taste, but it is actually a nice experience. It is definitely needed to be done during a warm season, because it is quite windy and cold in the water. I would recommend to do it around sunset time, the colors are amazing! Our trip was around 1hour and you can see many of the attractions from the water, because most of them are located on both sides of the river. It is truly romantic.

Seine boat trip
  • Opera de Paris
The Opera

The opera building is really beautiful and I’ve heard that it is even more impressive from the inside. You can book a guided tour for 18 euros.

The Opera
  • Galleries Lafayette

One of the most emblematic mall chain in Paris. Most of the expensive brands have stores inside. It is rich decorated from the inside and has stunning view on the top. I’ve been to the one located behind the opera and I recommend climbing to the 7th floor. The panoramic view over Paris is breathtaking.

Rooftop view from Gallerie Lafayette
  • Pantheon

It is a building located in the Latin Quarter in Paris. The façade reminds the one of the Pantheon in Rome surrounded by a dome. Nowadays it serves as a mausoleum for designated Parisian citizens. If you have time walk around the Latin district, it is a really beautiful area with narrow streets.

The Pantheon
  •  Le Jardin du Luxembourg
Jardin du Luxembourg

Another amazing garden. Before visiting it check the working hours, because they change during different season. It is a popular location for picnic when it is warm outside, it actually becomes super crowded and it is hard to find a spot. Interesting spot is the Medici’s fountain. One of my favorite places in Paris.

  •  Moulin Rouge

The most famous cabaret in the world. Moulin rouge is the birthplace of the can-can dance.

Moulin Rouge
  •  Montmartre

It is a large hill in Paris which also gives the name of the surrounding district. It is one of the most expensive quarters in the French capital and the most beautiful in my opinion. It is famous for its artistic history and the beautiful basilica of Sacre Coeur. Nowadays it is also a popular spot for nightlife. There is also a small wine yard that produces the famous Parisian wine.

  • Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur

The highest spot in Paris. The basilica is dedicated to the heart of Jesus. It is one of the most visited places in the French capital. Sacré-Cœur is open from 06:00 to 22:30 every day. The dome is accessible from 09:00 to 19:00 in the summer and to 18:00 in the winter. The view that the hill reveals is also quite impressive.

  • Versailles palace

The palace is located outside of Paris, but if you have time it is worth visiting. I went during my first visit in Paris, but unfortunately I couldn’t go inside as the queue was terribly long and I didn’t purchase my ticket online – big mistake! It was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is richly decorated with gold and marble, has amazing halls and statues and the gardens are truly magical.

I didn’t go this time, because the weather was not the most convenient one. But I will fix this mistake during my next visit.

And few additional “not that touristic” things to do that might be interesting to those who want to experience real Paris:
  • Visit Bastille neighborhood

The quarter where the former Bastille fortress was located. It is one of the most beautiful districts in Paris. Narrow cobbled streets, many nice bars and restaurants, picturesque youthful atmosphere, good French stores, etc.

  • Eat a falafel in the Jewish quarter

The Jewish quarter is part of the Marais district. It is a nice area to walk around. Don’t miss the falafel! There are some places that are known as the best ones, but as I’ve heard, the falafel is pretty much the same, don’t wait in the long queue, just pick another place!

  • Walk around Chatelet

Another beautiful district. There are located some interesting monuments, such as City Theatre and Saint Jacques Tower. Another important building is the Pompidou center.

  • Admire the architecture craziness of Le Centre Pompidou

The Centre Pompidou is a building that you can’t miss. Its modern and original architecture consists of a façade covered by multicolored hoses that intertwine with each other. In the 1970’s, the project was the hobbyhorse of the President of the Republic, Georges Pompidou that wanted to make modern art more important.

Centre Pompidou
  • Have a drink around Place de la Republique

You can find many interesting bars and restaurants in the area

  • Visit the City Hall – Hotel de ville
City hall

The city hall turned to be my favorite building in Paris! It is the building housing the city’s local administration, but its architecture is spectacular!

  • Feel goousebumps while walking in the Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise

Visiting a cementery might not be the perfect tourist activity, but this one is quite impressive. I went there before sunset and I will admit that it was quite scary to walk around when the sun goes down. It was late and I didn’t check the open hours so at some point I almost got locked in the cementery. I was on my way out and I heard some bells. I didn’t realize that it was a lady who was informing the visitors that they are about to close it. Thanks God I managed to go out..Being locked in a cementery is not the best experience in the world I guess!

  • Visit Place Vendome

This is the most expensive square in Paris. The place Vendôme has been renowned for its fashionable and deluxe hotels such as the Ritz. Many famous dress designers have had their salons in the square.

Place Vendome

I mentioned above that Paris is quite expensive, especially around the tourist attractions.

I visited just few places for drinks and food while being there, but I could strongly recommend them:
  • Lavomatic – this bar is 2 in 1 – a bar and a laundry. The entrance is quite impressive, the door is hidden behind big laundry machines and it is hard to guess how to open it if you don’t know it. The bar is cozy, the staff is friendly and they make excellent cocktails
  • Croco du Marais – it is a nice restaurant close to Place de la Republique. The food is delicious and it is not expensive for Paris. I recommend ordering a platter of French cheese, paté, sausages and more, it was super nice and extremely delicious!
  • Yellow Mad Monkey – a nice club with an interesting decoration inside. It gives you the impression that you walk in a forest as there are trees inside. It is located at Rue de la Lappe, which is a famous nightlife street in the Bastille district.
  • Le grill pain – a non-pretentious bar/restaurant in the 18th district. You must try the sea food platter, it was super delicious and very cheap!

People say that Paris is always a good idea and I totally agree on that. I love traveling when the weather is warm, but I must say that this time I enjoyed Paris even more. Just because there were not so many tourists and I was able to see empty Paris, to have it for myself. I kind of liked that.

So, this is Paris as I saw it, if you want to share your experience with me – leave a comment! More European destinations you can find in my travel section!

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