What to do and see on a short trip to Paris
- The Louvre
- The Eiffel Tower
- Wander the streets of Paris – take in the views
Recently we went to Paris for my son’s birthday and a kind of full circle celebration of six years of marriage. My husband and I spent some of our first dates in Paris, so returning for both events was a good enough reason to justify the cost.
Also, we wanted to visit Euro Disney while our son is still young enough to enjoy the wonder and magic.
We spent three days, three nights in Paris and then headed off to Euro Disney for two nights. We packed a lot into a short time so I will definitely do a few posts about it.
Aside from seeing the most iconic sites it would be really difficult to see Paris in one trip…unless your holiday is a few weeks. The city is so big.
For this post, I will share our experience in Paris. The sites, and where we stayed. Please see my Top 5 places to Eat in Paris post for cuisine inspiration.
We bought tickets to the Louvre a few weeks before we left. Although the line seemed daunting when we arrived, it moved very quickly and we were in the doors at 11:02 – our ticket time was 11:00 am.
Paris has for a long time been one of the most visited cities in the world so they are experts of crowd control. I noticed this at Euro Disney as well. The line ups were long but fast.
The Louvre is an amazing place and I have to say I’m guilty of not enjoying it to its fullest potential. I have been twice, once with my husband and this time with my husband and son. I think I’ll have to go back one day on my own and take hours to slowly walk and view more of the artistic treasures.
If you are an art lover or want to be, I would suggest doing some research on the Louvre website before you visit. That way you can find your favorite or lesser known works of art.
I think the Mona Lisa is a wonderful ambassador to the art world. Encouraging otherwise uninterested people through the doors to the Louvre. But, there are other works of art that deserve some attention and have historically significant stories to tell.
The Eiffel Tower
I had no idea how much there was to see and do at the Eiffel tower. I guess six years ago my husband and I dropped by for some photos and later at night to see the twinkling lights.
It turns out there is a huge park with a horseriding school, children’s playground, dog park, some kind of event center and artisan stalls as well as plenty of grassy areas to lounge with a good book or picnic with friends.
As well, there are tons of people selling souvenirs including light up Eiffel towers and key chains. There is also a hop on hop off bus stop to continue your site-seeing.
Wandering the Streets of Paris
We had a wonderful time in Paris. Traveling by metro train and walking the streets was just as entertaining as any attraction. It really is a city to get lost and found in.
The architecture, the cafes with flowers overflowing from the roofs, the energy is like non other.
Although visiting Paris in the winter is very different than any other kind of year I felt like it summarized the true vibe of the city and it’s people.
Paris to me is many shades of blue, grey and black with the occasional burst of color. A city filled with incredibly educated brilliant minds that need to work harder than most in some cases for less.
Unlike Toulouse or the seaside town of Gruissan or nearby Narbonne in the South of France, Paris seems like a tough place to get ahead. Even though Toulouse is a major city, it still feels possible to find a nice apartment in a decent area and pay a reasonable rate.
Like Barcelona or most large cities the real estate prices are through the roof. It seems that unless you inherit property or a hefty sum of money an average three or four bedroom family flat is almost out of reach even with two professional-level working parents.
Observations and Tips
- There are no bars on the residential building windows. Even a house with a garden right in the middle of the city didn’t have bars on the windows. This is fascinating to me as in Spain it’s almost unheard of not to. Some houses even have bars on attic windows if there are any terraces or landing spots where potential thieves could climb up.
- Train etiquette is quite good in Paris. People actually wait until passengers get off the train first before boarding. It’s wonderful and civilized.
- The people of Paris are not very friendly. For some reason the French me like me so aside from some rude people in the buffet line at Disney, I am treated very well. However, don’t be offended or shocked if locals or staff are not as polite and warm as they are where you’re from.
- Sometimes the ticket machine for the train to Euro Disney doesn’t work but there are still trains. Take a photo of the ticket screen rejecting your request and buy another equally priced ticket and get on the train. When you get to Euro Disney you will either have to go through the gates behind someone else or ask for help to exit. It’s not ideal but there were many of us trying desperately to buy a ticket with no luck and no train staff to help us.
- This city is home to some hilarious characters. We saw a guy on a train dance Rihanna’s entire superbowl set list and another man wash his feet in an ancient train water fountain and then run barefoot to jump on a train – what is happening?
- This city is massive! Figure out what kind of holiday you want to have and what you must see and do. If you only have 5-7 days you may want to consider taking the Hop on Hop off bus and some guided tours. Or if you’re interested in shopping or art plan your days around store and museum times. We spent quite a bit of time on the trains just getting from place to place. So, don’t feel bad if you’re not able to complete lengthy must-see wish lists.
- Strikes and protests are why we love the French. So, be flexible. On our first attempt to visit the Eiffel tower there was a protest and the train did not stop at any stations near the tower. So, we ended up in a random part of town and had to find something else to do.
The Novotel Parc De Bercy
We really enjoyed our stay in this hotel. Less than half the price of the other hotels we looked at but with just as much if not more value. The hotel is quite new and very clean. The staff were friendly, attentive and many spoke quite a few languages.
The location was exceptional. Right next to Bercy park and the Accor Arena event centre, the hotel was also just a short walk to Gare de Lyon train station. This station is a major connection hub and will take you anywhere you want to go including out to Disneyland, Paris.
So I hope this post inspired you to visit one of the most magical cities in the world! If you have any questions comment below.
Are you planning a trip to Paris this year? Have you been to Paris and have some stories, tips or advice you’d like to share – comment!
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