Last week, I had the pleasure of spending 10 glorious days in the City of Lights. It wasn't my first time to Paris but it was the first time that I actually had time to spend ALL DAY in the Louvre, walk around the Latin Quarter, and just go for walks with no destination in mind. First time I was able to take in all Paris had to offer. Trust me, Paris has A LOT to offer!
How I Got There
No different from my last international trip, made the 3.5 hour drive to Toronto ( I'm such a sucker for cheap flights ). Had a layover in Iceland ( Travel Tip: IcelandAir offers up to a 7 day layover in Iceland at no extra cost!! I'm definitely going to take advantage of this soon!).
view landing into Iceland
Where I Stayed
Staying 10 days in Paris, I definitely knew a hotel was out of the question. I wanted to stay somewhere I could be comfortable and roomy. I'm so thankful I found the perfect Airbnb! It was located in 7ème, which is the arrondissement home to the Eiffel Tower. The walks to the Metro, local restaurants, and markets were always my fave! Having the Eiffel Tower as a walking buddy, especially at night ( THE LIGHTS!! ) was an extreme plus. If you're interested in where I stayed, here's the link to it : Paris Airbnb.
Things I Needed
- TEP Wireless pocket hotspot .... this item is seriously becoming a necessity for me on international trips! I love that I don't have to wait to find a place with free wifi nor use the sluggish 3G internet my service offers while abroad.
-Paris Pass ...we brought the 4 day pass only due the fact we arrived during the 1st Sunday of the month ( all museums are free on this day!!!)
-Paris Metro App ...GET THIS! NOW! Such a life saver. Especially when Google Maps wants to take you the scenic route.
What I Did
So having over a week to explore, I wanted a mix of touristy and overlooked sights. I also, wanted days where there was nothing planned and could aimlessly walk around, truly taking in the city. However, Mother Nature had completely other plans for me. It rained. A LOT. After the 3rd day of rain in a row, I took happiness knowing that I was getting rained on Paris. LOL. Below are the places visited and some of the places had so many pictures and information, they deserved their own post! Enjoy!
This catherdal is lesser known to tourists, mostly because Notre Dame gets all the attention. What hurts even more, Saint Chapelle is actually on the way to Notre Dame! I ran across a blog post years ago, that featured a lot of overlooked places in Paris and this was on of them. As soon as my eyes locked on the picture of the inside, I knew I had to go! Talk about a whimsical sight!!! When I walked into the catherdal, I was a bit underwhelmed and thought I was at the wrong place, UNTIL I walked upstairs and MY JAW DROPPED! Beauty, light,delicate, peace...all things that describe my time here.
Situtated right by Notre Dame, this area definitely became my food haven!! Blocks and blocks, lined with restaurants, shops, bars, food stands, crepe stands, etc. You can wander around aimlessly and find any type of cuisine!
No trip to Paris is complete without getting lost in The Louvre. There's so much too see and cover! I highly recommend dedicated 1 day just for the Louvre. Sure, you won't probably spend ALL day here but you don't want to rush thru here either.
Where else can you let your inner child loose and have no cares!? Getting here is a breeze, just take the RER C train toward Disneyland Paris and a little bit under an hour, you're in the happiest place in the world. Since we went during the off season, we were able to get a special deal on park tickets ( $53 for BOTH parks) so I highly advise checking online for specials/deals before going. We did both parks in one day but if you have the time, spreading the parks over 2 days would be ideal.
Probably the most known cathedral in Paris, I recommend going here to anyone if it's their first time in Paris. Amazing architecture,incredible history, and if you're up walking up 422 steps, amazing views. I'm gladly to announce I've joined that club of poor souls who climbed the steps to reach the perfect Instagram picture LOL. There are no elevators and how they trick you into climb into the top is quite genius. How they tricked us: The lobby to buy tickets is halfway up, so out of breath and the lack of oxygen to my brain, I thought since I'm halfway up, might as well keep going -_-. After reaching the top or what I thought was the top ( you can go up even more for a better view, my lungs and I decided not to go up lol ) you kind of forget that you can't breathe because the views of the Seine and Paris are AMAZING. After climbing back down, we headed to the Crypt. The Crypt showcases the ruins and objects that were found underneath.
I knew as soon as I was walking up to this majestic palace, TONS of pictures where going to be taken and a post dedicated to this place was gonna happen. I completely underestimated how much land we were going to cover here. THE CHATEAU IS HUUUUGGGGEEEEE!!! Head to my Chateau Versailles travel guide for a more in depth post about Versailles.
Champs- Élysées / Arc de Triomphe
Champs-Élysées is a shoppers dream. High end boutiques line the avenue for blocks. I personally like to go to the McDonalds on this avenue LOL, it's super spacious and great place to indulge on carbs you need to climb Arc de Triomphe ( thats the lie I told myself LOLOL). Champs-Élysées leads straight to the Arc de Triomphe. We just couldn't stay away from stairs on this trip! We went to the top of the monument and unlike Notre Dame, there's an elevator but you guessed right...IT WAS BROKEN WHEN WE WENT. So we unhappily climbed 200-something stairs but of course the views payed off big time!!
Eiffel Tower / Trocadéro
I'm probably going to crush a lot of hearts when I say I didn't go up the Eiffel Tower!! Having done it before, I didn't see the need. However, I did want to find this hidden Eiffel Tower grotto/pond located in the park, this time. As we were walking thru Parc du Champ de Mars, I happened to run into the pond! The area is somewhat secluded, there's benches to sit and admire the view, and is right by/under some what by the Tower. I'm still kinda kicking myself for not coming to the park with a bottle of wine and snacks because The hidden grotto/pond is a perfect spot to chill and sip.
After the peacefulness of the grotto/pond, we headed to Trocadéro for our obligatory pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. We were here around sunset, so we waited for Tower to light up and honestly Trocadéro has the PERFECT view.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica/ Montmare
Located at the highest point in Paris, I continuously saw the basilica when I went up Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame. Located in the Montmare area, I would advise that you wait to buy gifts and souvenirs until get the Montmare area. This is area is an artisty neighborhood and I can assure you will find cool little trickets here you wouldn't be able to find in the other parts of Paris ( I personally fell in love with 4 works of art that I brought home and can't wait to hang up). After wandering around the many art shops, we headed to Sacré-Cœur. The basilica itself is gorgeous and pictures does it no justice, however, I wasn't prepared for the stairs. Yes, there's plenty of stairs to get to the basilica but I mean I wasn't prepared for the vibe and atmosphere of the basilica steps. I thought it would be just a bunch of people taking selfies, don't get me wrong, there was tons of people taking selfies, I just wasn't expecting people selling beer, tons of laughter, people having mini picnics ( us included LOL ). It was a melting pot of tourists and all you hear is laughter and talking. I definitely recommend coming here around sunset, finding a step, and watch Paris light up at night!