The City of Love! Paris captured my heart within the first few hours that I was there and my love affair with the City of Lights continued until I left. You can do Paris in a shorter amount of time, but if you have the days, I would really recommend spreading out the sights and just walking around the city because it is absolutely worth it.
NOTE: You can walk Paris, but the Paris subway is really extensive and easy to understand and only costs 1.40 euros a ticket. REMEMBER! Always have your ticket metered and keep it with you. I got caught my first day without it metered and had to pay 35 euros for a fine.
Day 1 – Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower. Is there really anything else that you would do on the first day you are there. The tower is still something magical to see with the beautiful architecture and grandeur. So grab a baguette and have yourself a little picnic.
After you’re done checking out the tower, you can wander a little bit to the Arch de Triumph. The Arch is only a mile or so away and you can enjoy the beautiful Parisian streets while you wander. It does cost 12 euros to go to the top of the Arch, but the view is amazing.
To finish off your day, you can take your time walking down the Champs-Elysees checking out all of the stores and shops. The Champs-Elysees a boulevard that stretches from the Arch to the Place de Concord. You can also pick up a nice little snack at Laduree, where the macaroon was first created.
Day 2 – Notre Dame and the Catacombs
Head out early and feast your eyes on one of the best representations of gothic architecture, Notre Dame Cathedral. You want to get there before noon because the line can really back up.
It is free to enter the cathedral and I would recommend at least spending a good 45 minutes in there. The two massive stainless windows are worth the time.
After leaving Notre Dame, stroll around the neighborhood. The area around Notre Dame was one of my favorites and you can make your way up to the Catacombs from there.
The Catacombs are an underground cave system housing hundreds of thousands of skeletons that were moved from other tombs or buried during the Middle Ages. Just make sure you bring something with you in case it rains, there is no covering above the line to get in.
Day 3 – Louvre
Put your walking shoes on and go to the Louvre. You could honestly spend two days in the Louvre, but if you only have (or want) one day, I would recommend not rushing it and allow at least 5-7 hours to get through the entire museum.
I would also recommend just getting the Mona Lisa done and out of the way. The painting is actually quite small and there is always huge crowds around the picture trying to get their shot. The crowds are so big and the painting is worth that much, that they have three guards around the painting.
The museum has multiple levels and pieces for everybody. But do try to keep to the map, I got lost at least four times while I was in there. For some fresh air after, the gardens by the Louvre are also quite beautiful.
Day 4 – Versailles
Time to leave Paris! Just kidding, you’re just heading to a suburb. Versailles is worth a solid day trip, especially if it is nice outside. From the center of Paris you have to take two trains to get to Versailles. It takes roughly an hour to get there. You can buy your tickets online or there are many stores leading up to it that sell the tickets.
Once inside, you will enjoy the magnitude and ostentatiousness that Louis XIV wanted when he created this palace. There is gold everywhere, paintings in honor of the greek gods (which he wanted to reference himself), and some of the most beautiful furniture. If you don’t know much about Versailles, the audioguide is very helpful.
After enjoying some lunch or a snack, you can peruse the expansive Versailles gardens. I wasn’t able to because it being November, it decided to downpour on me, but during the spring and summer the gardens would be lovely. I was told it takes an hour to walk the full garden.
Day 5 – Montmartre
Quite possibly one of my favorite neighborhoods I have ever been in. Montmartre is Paris’s cultural and artsy neighborhood. Artisans, jewelers, and painters all showcase their work in the little squares.
You can also take a stroll between Sacre Coeur which has the best view of all of Paris and Moulin Rouge. I didn’t have another day in Paris, but if I did I would have liked to have seen a show at Moulin Rouge. Make sure to check out the Wall of Love too!
To wrap up your day and stay in Paris, head down to the Eiffel Tower again at nighttime. The tower lights up and does a little sparkly show every hour. You can also enjoy a lovely glass of champagne at the tower’s restaurant.