It’s 7am, we’ve just landed in Paris and the only thing on our minds is “taxi take me to the Eiffel Tower”. I half expected to be handed a glass of champagne, chocolate croissant and glitter thrown over us getting off the plane but none the less the excitement was still coursing through my veins. On our way to the hotel (we knew almost nothing about), we caught a glimpse between the buildings of the monumental beauty, the Eiffel Tower. My travel partner and friend Jenn actually burst into tears. I don’t know if it was out of amazement, beauty or how much I loved how much she loved Paris that I too shed a tear. It was like Europe’s emotional welcoming of us for the next 12days. Truly a moment I will never forget. When you don’t have long to spend in such a beautiful city, you want to be sure you plan out your days to fit in every little thing you came to see and do. Here is how my friend and I squeezed everything we wanted to see in just three days.
Day 1: Essential Sites
We arrived much to early for our hotel check in so we locked up our belongings in their storage and set out into the city. First stop, a view of the Eiffel Tower from the bottom up. It started raining as soon as we got there but I swear it only made the city sparkle more. As the clouds opened up we dashed for a nearby corner cafè, the Brasserie, where we enjoyed a warming glass of wine and waited for the rain to subside. This is a walking city. Make sure to take the time to sit at a cafe and watch the city go by. A quick check in and much needed 45minute nap (after being awake for 48 hours) then we were out again and onto the metro toward The Pont Alexandre III deck arch bridge spanning the Seine, The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, and few little art galleries. Tip: Always pop your head into a place that looks interesting, you never know what you’re going to see!
We stopped by the Hôtel Plaza Athénée for photos and had a delicious smoked duck salad for lunch at Café Mode. We spent the remainder of the daytime wandering the city, photographing every little corner and side street. For dinner we headed to the restaurant Les Ombres located on the rooftop of Musee Bantly. The panoramic view is absolutely breathtaking and the desert and wine was just as phenomenal. I couldn’t believe this was just our first day on our Europe trip.
Day 2: Essential Sites and Wandering
After espresso and shoving extra croissants in our clutches, we headed out on the metro toward Musee D’Orsay. Tip: You must climb to the top floor and check out the city view through the floor to ceiling clock. The metro btw was very easy to become familiar with but it definitely helped that we looked up the station closest to us and planned where to get on and off prior to our trip. It saved a lot of time and we even had other tourists ask us for directions!
A mid day street side café salmon sandwich and beer was a quick pick me up before heading to sample macaroons at the famous Ladurée. I tried the lemon, pistachio and rose, all amazing. P.S. this was my first macaroon! I held out until 26 for Paris.
On our walk there we passed a bizarre looking book store called Librairie Alain Brieux. An odd place full of ancient books on science and medicine and a collection of engravings and scientific and medical devices. Remember earlier when I said pop your head into random little places? It’s because it’s the places like this that you happen upon on your walks that end up being some of the coolest discoveries.
We spent the second half of the day walking around and taking photos at beautiful places including Le Bon Marche mall and the Luxembourg Gardens. Leisurely spending your day in a park is about as Parisian as you can get. If you have the time, relax away any tension you may have with some rosé and a few hours in the gardens. Immerse yourself among the locals, you’d be surprised how such an unfamiliar place can feel like home. Then what better way to end a day than a photoshoot on Paris’ most colorful street Rue Crémieux; located in the 12th arrondissement, between Rue de Lyon and Rue de Bercy. Be respectful and quiet here, for all of these beautiful places have inhabitants.
DAY 3: The Art Scene and Lingering Lunches
Our third day started with death. Okay that was dramatic but it did. Most people look forward to the Eiffel Tower or champagne in Paris; but we had been counting down the days to see the Catacombs. An underground ossuary holding the remains of more than six million people. Personally this is a must see while you’re there. Make sure you buy your tickets prior to going, the line was almost 4hours long to buy tickets and we walked right in. After a trip through Notre Dame and around the St. Michael fountain we enjoyed what I would consider one of the best lunches I’ve had in my life. We accidentally ordered a bottle of wine each instead of a small carafe and while I’m sure it was mostly the wine, we laughed and cried over our delicious pizza for the next two hours. It’s the moments like this traveling that you’ll never forget.
Warmed up, rested and pretty tipsy we headed for the iconic Louve Museum. I don’t care if it’s touristy, we got our miniature sized Lourve photo. Don’t judge. Back on the metro to the artist town of Mont Marte for a panoramic view of the city. Like I always say, take time to wander around up here. Grab a crepe from one of the open food windows and go see the floral doorways and pink corner La Maison Rose Café. We lingered outside on the steps of Sacré-Cœur Basilica until sunset to watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle. Like a magical fairy watching over it’s city. To bed and off the Barcelona in the morning!
Can you really smile in a picture with this many bones?
As a food lover I really don’t remember any of our meals being that stellar. In fact, I only photographed two things we ate. Which if you know me, I’m that super annoying friend that photographs the entire tables dishes prior to eating. I’d really love to come back one day and focus more on the foodie bits of Paris. In the meantime, I’ll claim it as the city where magic and sparkle has come to live. Paris is the city of views.
- You’ll think you’re lost on your way to Rue Crémieux, just keep walking
- Buy tickets for the Catacombs ahead of time
- The metro is super easy, buy the T+ individual tickets for a couple days of travel
- Rental bikes are all over the city for another way around
- Get lost on side streets
- Talk to the locals
- Wine is water here…enjoy it everywhere
What are your favorite spots in Paris?