Oh, Paris! This was my first time visiting and I have to say that I loved it. Our trip was about 3 weeks, but we only spent a few days in Paris. Although that’s not much, this time was more than enough to see this beautiful city. Read my first trip to Europe post to learn more about my whole trip and all the other places we visited in Europe.
But Paris definitely caught my eye. With its beautiful buildings, the people, THE FOOD! Oh My!! It was delicious. I loved everything about it. It was our first stop during our whole trip, and it was a great way to start it.
Now, you are more than welcome to follow the same itinerary we did, or you can adjust anything necessary. There are tons of places we didn’t visit, therefore you can swap a few of those. But I have to say, everything was beautiful. Also, keep in mind that you should go by the location where you decide to stay. So first look for the place you’ll be staying in, then create your itinerary based on this.
So, first things first, where should you stay? We decided to stay at an AirBnB. We were a big group, therefore we thought it would benefit us that way. We didn’t stay too close to the main locations, but we did stay near a metro station so it was easy to get to any place we wanted. Although Uber is also available anytime. Our place was great, very comfortable. Since they didn’t include breakfast, we bought a few items at a nearby market to prepare.
We arrived to Paris in the afternoon at around 3-4pm. We had ordered a company to pick us up from the airport, but you do have the option of taking a taxi, train, or ordering an Uber. Make sure you know ahead of time the type of transportation you want to take during your stay, so that you know their route. We used Google Maps a lot during our visit, so make sure you have a carrier that will allow you to have internet connection.
We got to our apartment and settled in. Since we got there a bit late during the day, we knew we weren’t going to have time to do much, so we decided to leave the itinerary open. We went to get dinner by the Montparnasse Tower, and after took an Uber to the Eiffel Tower. This was the perfect way to start our trip, seeing the Eiffel Tower at night. It was very romantic, as you could already imagine.
If you are getting to Paris at an earlier time, then I suggest you start your itinerary here, or leave this for a full day. But what better way to start than with some of Paris’ best known sights. For this day, we had bought the Big Bus passes, which takes you to most of these locations. It is also a great way to visit most of these known places without having to purchase your own transportation between each. You have the chance to get on and off as many times as you’d like. There are other companies too, but we chose this one. We started our tour at the Palais Garnier, which was close to the ticket pickup office. We didn’t have the chance to go in, but it was still beautiful to see from the outside.
The Big Bus has two different routes, Blue and Red. We decided to start with the Blue one since it was shorter. We got on and the first thing we passed was the Moulin Rouge and continued until arriving near La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, the highest part in Paris. Get ready to climb up lots of stairs to reach the Basilique and to enjoy a beautiful view of Paris. This was one of my favorite views while in Paris. You aren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but I still recommend going in.
After this, we went back down to the bus stop, this was around lunch time so we decided to grab a quick sandwich before heading back on our tour. From here we took the Bus back to the first stop to switch to the Red Line. We didn’t make any other stops on the Blue One, but if you have more time, you can definitely do so.
The first stop on the Red Line was the Notre-Dame. The bus passed by the Louvre but we didn’t make the stop on this day. For the Notre-Dame Cathedral it is free to go in, but it does have a charge if you want to go up. If you are going in the summer time, it may be a long line to get in. We were there in the fall, therefore it was super quick to get in. This place is definitely worth a visit in my opinion.
From there, we took the bus to the Arc of Triomphe. Lots of people decide to climb to the top here to get a great view of Paris, you can do the same, but we decided to skip it since we had previously done so at the Basilique.
Our next stop was the Trocadero. Wow, what an amazing place for even more views of Paris and a great place to take the iconic pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
We decided to leave this as our last stop from the bus, since we had purchased tickets for a boat ride along the Seine river. This is also a great alternative to see the city. I recommend doing it at sunset!
Since we had done a lot already, we decided to grab something quick to eat and head back to the apartment. If you do not purchase the Big Bus passes, or something similar, you may not be able to visit all of these places in one day, plus you may need to do lots of walking and may have to take lots of trains or Uber from one place to another. That is the main reason why we decided to purchase it. It saved us lots of time, and we got to rest a little in the bus. Plus, you get to learn more about the places you visit.
On our last day in Paris, we took our bags to the train station, where they were able to hold them for us for a low-cost, so that we could continue enjoying the city. Since we were taking a late train to Venice, we decided to leave them there, but if you are taking a flight, you can find out if your hotel is able to hold them for you.
From there, we took the train to the Louvre. Some people may recommend to skip this location if you do not have a lot of time, but I say to at least visit the location to see from the outside. Fortunately, we had a few extra hours so we decided to go in. It does have an additional cost. If you go during peak season, you may find a long line to get in. Thankfully there was no line during the time we went. The Pyramid is a must see. We didn’t spend too much time inside the museum, we went to see the Mona Lisa of course, and walked around a few of the rooms. But again, if you have more time, you can take your time walking around the museum. There is A LOT to see here, the museum is HUGE.
We then stopped by a close restaurant and had a quick lunch and of course, Macarons. You can’t leave Paris without having one of these.
Lastly, we took the train back to the station to head to our next stop, Venice.
However, if you have more time, or during one of your nights in Paris, you have to sit at the Parc du Champ-de-Mars, in front of the Eiffel Tower, eating and drinking with friends, watching as the Tower lights up. Since we visited the tower our first night, we decided to skip it this time around. But I would definitely love to come back and have either a day or night picnic here.
If you have more than three days in Paris, there are still plenty of other things to see and do. Just do your research and see what you would be interested in visiting.
Watch this video of my trip, it includes a few more clips from the visit.
What you should know about your visit to Paris:
Tip # 1: Visit during slow season. We were able to enjoy a lot because we didn’t have to wait in long lines to go into these places. We visited in November, which was a bit colder than expected, but I hear that late September/October, or late March/April are great times to visit as well, less traffic and good weather. Also, keep in mind that things may cost you more when you go during summer time.
Tip # 2: Do not squeeze too many things in. If you have the time, great. Do it! But if you are going during peak season, or won’t be purchasing any tours, then try to schedule your time for transportation. Also, leave some space for spontaneous things.
Tip # 3: Prepare. We had to buy tons of coffee and hot chocolate during our walks because it was super cold, but they were so delicious that we didn’t mind the extra expenses. However, do prepare some snacks and water for when you are out. Try to purchase them at markets near your hotel. This will save you tons because it will help you avoid buying something to eat in every corner. But do enjoy the local food, of course. We tried to always get a hotel that included breakfast, and prepared something for lunch, so that all we had to really sit down for was dinner. We were able to save money and time this way. We also waited to ask the locals what they recommended for us to eat, instead of looking for restaurants online.
Tip # 4: Like I mentioned at the beginning, look for a place to stay that is close to the train station (if you are going from city to city), or local metro for easier transportation and less walking. Get familiar with the map of the area you’ll be staying in and places you’ll be visiting. Get familiar with the metro routes.
Tip # 5: It is also recommended that you contact your Bank before leaving, to let them know that you will be making purchases in a different country so that they don’t block your card. Also, ask if they charge you for using your card, if they have any fees, to see if its more convenient to only use cash. You should still carry a certain amount in cash.
Tip # 6: Try to purchase your tickets early, and when I say early, I really mean early. We bought our plane tickets almost a year ahead of time, and the train tickets (trains from city to city, not the local trains) we purchased months in advanced. Same with the place you’ll be staying and any tours that you will be doing. Trust me, this will help you save A LOT. We all know that the prices go up as you get closer to the time of the trip. There are also tickets in each country which allow you to skip the lines at most of the museums.
Tip # 7: The TripAdviror app was a big help before and during our trip. In finding where to stay, where to eat, and even the places to visit. Also, we purchased a lot of the things we needed for our trip, like our Travel Power Adapter, through Amazon.
Tip # 8: Lastly, be aware of pickpockets, or people asking you to sign anything, to look at something. Keep your bags tight while walking or taking the train or escalators.
Well, I hope that this itinerary and tips for Paris help you during your next visit. And if you do follow it, or take any tips from here, please write me. I want to know how it went for you. Don’t forget to read my Europe Trip post to read more about my whole trip and the other places we visited in Europe. Who knows, maybe you follow our same 3 week route.
Get ready for lots of walking, lots of eating delicious food, and lots of WOW moments. Have fun!!
Here are the recommended Itineraries for my trip: