Audrey Hepburn knew exactly what she was talking about when she said “Paris is always a good idea.”
If romance could be described by a city it would be Paris. It is truly breathtaking, And at night with all the lights on it’s magical. It’s like being in a movie. I am obsessed with everything this wonderful city has to offer.
I first fell in love with Paris in 2009 on a high school 10 day trip to Italy and France. This was my first time travelling to Europe so I had high expectations – and they were all met.
I was taking a history class where we learned a lot about Paris which really took the experience of the trip to a whole new level. Being there was like living history. So I recommend you learn a little about every place you visit in Europe because there is so much history it will shock you – and make your experience 100 times better.
Going up the Eiffel tower is a must. I have only gone up at dusk and it is beautiful to see the city all lit up from up there. I have been both to the first level and the highest point of the tower. If you are tight on money you will have the same experience on the first level as on the top.
Another must is going up the Arc de Triomphe. What I love about this monument is the engraved names of generals and wars. The detailing is indescribable. It was built in the early 1800s to honour those who fought for France and in the centre of the arc is buried the Unknown Soldier from World War I. From the top of the arc you can see how all the streets radiate outwards from the monument. It is amazing to see. Important note: DO NOT cross the roundabout to get to the arc, you will get hit by a car. There is an underground passage that leads you right to the middle from the Champs Elysee sidewalk.
If you have plans to go to the Louvre, buy your tickets in advance. It is a long wait to buy tickets on the spot. Once you get in grab a map and figure out the main sculptures, paintings, and areas you want to see. The place is huge and unless you have the whole day scheduled to be in the museum then you need to figure out what you want to see. I spent two hours there; I was able to see the Mona Lisa (which is quite small and you have to squeeze your way through a crowd to see it), I also saw the Egyptian exhibit, some other fantastic paintings (like Liberty Leading the People), and Napoleon III’s apartments which have been kept as close to the original as possible. The decor of the walls, painting and furniture is breathtaking.
Everything that has history in Europe is extremely detailed. It’s amazing the things they were able to create. The Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier) is no exception. The main highlights are the marble staircase which look like they are out of a Disney movie, the bronze and crystal seven ton chandelier, and the grand foyer which features a Paul Baudry’s fresco across the ceiling.
If you are only in Paris for a Day, you can do this walking tour created by my tour guide Lisa.
You can start by visiting the Arc the Triumph, followed by a stop at the famous macaroon shop Laduree, then grab a hot chocolate at Angelina; take your French snack to the garden of the Louvre to enjoy some people watching. You can then see Notre Dame, and if you have time L’Hôtel National des Invalides where Napoleon is buried.
The Palace of Versailles and the catacombs are next on my list.