Picture this: A classic French morning, accompanied by a leisurely stroll through the Parisian avenues, munching on a croissant, grasping at the monumental beauty of the city that is Paris. Essentially the ‘City of Love’, Paris is strongly associated with elegance, grace, and the ability to make anyone fall in love! Let’s dive into the magical city’s various attractions; we’ve got a lot to see!
Places to see:
Starting with the iconic monument of love, there is no better way to kickstart your trip than visiting the Eiffel tower. The Iron Lady stands majestic on the Champ De Mars, and is surrounded by a million spots for major photo opportunities!
Apart from its sheer beauty on the outside, the tower offers a breathtaking view of the entire city from the top. Take a tour of the Eiffel- visit the top, pop some champagne, and enjoy the brilliant treat that is Paris!
Tip: Visit the Eiffel tower both during the day and after dark. It has quite different views to offer during both times!
The largest art museum in the world, the Louvre houses the iconic Mona Lisa, amongst other historic pieces of art. The museum is also surrounded by the Louvre palace, and a glass pyramid in the center courtyard.
Though extremely crowded, the tickets are easily available at the museum itself. Entries for European students are free.
Check ahead for hours and days here.
Arc de triomphe
As the name suggests, the Arc de Triomphe is a monumental arch dedicated as a symbol to the Napoleonic wars. The triumphal arch is located just at the end of Champs-Elysees, and can be climbed up through its 284 stairs. You can walk around the base for free, or buy a ticket to visit the top. The Arch is a wise choice and escape from the humongous crowds at the Eiffel Tower!
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
The Basilica, or Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic Church, built in Byzantine architecture style. The Basilica is the second highest point in the city, and offers a free entry. You can also go to the top of the Basilica for about 5 Euros.
The Catacombs are a 1.7km long labyrinth of tunnels, containing six million bones from various Parisian cemeteries. The tourist attraction is a tad bit different from the usual fashionable, romantic, and cultural vibe of Paris. The place, however, can be met by huge crowds, and waiting times can exceed to about three hours. I would recommend buying tickets in advance.
For more information and tickets, see here.
A Gothic-style chapel, the Sainte-Chapelle is located in the Palais de la Cite. It is an ancient symbol of world history, with stained glass panes arranged across 15 windows, each 15 metres high, depicting 1,113 scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Visit the Chapel for a peaceful time in the bustling city.
Pont des arts bridge
This iconic pedestrian bridge connects the Institut de France and the central square of the Palais du Louvre. Formerly also called the ‘Love-lock bridge’, there are various padlocks attached to the walkway by tourists, as a symbol of love and commitment. Attach one, or just enjoy the magnificence of the bridge and its uniqueness.
Situated close to Montmarte, the Moulin Rouge is a cabaret, and the birthplace of the Can-Can dance. As testified by a movie of the same name, the Moulin Rouge is an epitome of grace and feistiness, complete with dinners, dancing in elaborate costumes, and lots of champagne.
The rates may keep varying, so checking the website for details is a wise thing to do before visiting.
Café des 2 Moulins
Also located in Montmarte is Cafe des 2 Moulins, famous for featuring in the French film ‘Amelie’. The interiors, as advertised in the film, consist of a bar area and small tables. Order the Creme Brulee, and experience the complete Parisian vibe!
Place de la Concorde
The Place de la Concorde is a major public square in Paris, located at the eastern end of Champs Elysees. The square has two beautiful, monumental fountains and is surrounded by small cafes and tasty food. Enjoy the view of the gigantic giant wheel, whilst you sit and munch around.
Shakespeare and Company
Better identified as ‘Literary paradise’, Shakespeare and Co. are two legendary bookstores, encompassing paradise for literature lovers from all over the world. The bookstores are home to generations of writers—Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, William Styron, Martin Amis, among others. Beautifully located at a short distance from the river near the Notre Dame, it is perfect for an exploratory trip, even if you’re not looking to buy anything. Visit it for the archaic vibe and the smell of new books!
Walk around Champs-Elysees
The avenue that goes from Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees is lined with a plethora of gardens, museums, luxury shops, restaurants, etc. During the winter, there are beautiful christmas markets along the path as well, that you can enjoy!
A signature Parisian delicacy, you can find crepes literally everywhere around Paris. Made like thin pancakes, Crepes are usually served with a variety of fillings, that can be sweet or savoury. Have one for breakfast in classic French style.
Baguettes, essentially, are long loaves of French bread made out of lean dough. Indulge in readily available bread, or variations like Baguette sandwiches.
When all else fails, resort to desserts! The french offer some amazing desserts, one of which are Macarons. They’re sweet, meringue-based and can be found practically everywhere!
Hit up a variety of restaurants and cafes near Trocadero station or Montemarte, you won’t be disappointed!
I readily enjoyed my stay at St Christopher’s Inn, a busy, high-rated hostel situated near Gare Du Nord. If you’re looking to stay for cheap and make some friends from around the world. Choose from a number of hostels!
Paris also offers apartments that you can rent out if you’re staying for longer. They’re safe and provide a good environment.
TIP: Try to stay near Montmarte or Gare Du Nord, to be able to reach major attractions on foot or easily access the train.
- Beware of pickpockets. The city isn’t totally unsafe, but it would be wise to take special care of belongings.
- Walk as much as possible! Again, the city has a lot to offer, and exploring it on foot might be your best bet.
- For places that are far from each other, make good use of the metro trains. Paris is very well-connected by trains.
- Be prepared for big crowds everywhere. Especially at the Eiffel, you can expect a number of tourists at all times of the day.
Also check out my blog on ROME, Italy!