Okay, my previous travel post talked about places to visit in France that aren’t Paris… But Paris is a gem in and of itself, if you’re up for the challenge!
Honestly, you could stay in Paris for two whole weeks and not see everything you want to see. I actually have an ongoing list of things I’d like to see, and every time I leave I think “Oh no! I didn’t stop by [insert cool spot]!… Next time.” There is just so much to see!
Arrondissements you don’t want to miss
Paris is divided up into 20 quarters (known in French as arrondissements) spread out between the right and left banks of the Seine. Here’s a great article that breaks down allll the cool things to see in each quarter! My favorite arrondissements are the 3rd (aka Le Marais), the 9th (good options for lodging/hotels), and the 18th (Montmartre). The 2nd is also super cool; it’s basically the SoHo of Paris so watch out, retail therapists… loooots of good but expensive shopping!
Instead of the Eiffel Tower, try…
Literally anything else… Just kidding (kind of).
The Eiffel Tower is cool for, like, five minutes. First time visitors should probably pay her a visit, but do not stay there all day! Plus, it really is a tourist trap; there are street vendors that crowd the area. (Kind of takes away the magic of it all…)
Pro tip: If you insist on having your Eiffel Tower photo for Insta, hop on the metro line 9 and get off at the Trocadéro stop. It will lead you right up to the most well-known view of the Eiffel Tower. You can also grab a panini from the food trucks and have a little lunch in the gardens facing the Eiffel Tower. There are also plenty of other small little roads/alleyways you can find in the 8th arrondissement that have La Tour Eiffel in the backdrop.
Instead of the Louvre, try….
The Musée d’Orsay (if you like impressionism) or the Musée de l’Orangerie or the Musée Rodin (or there are literally sooo many more). The Louvre is overwhelmingly huge, so if you are not an art buff, it honestly might not interest you all that much. Plus, I have to admit that I think the Mona Lisa is overrated.
Pro tip: If you do go to the Louvre, make sure you get tickets in advance. The line easily takes two to three hours alone, so do not skip out on reserving beforehand. Also, get a map of the Louvre and literally plan your time there. Even if you have four to five hours, you might be able to see one or two exhibits (no more than that, unless you’re running through it). I chose the Greek/Egyptian part of the museum, but there is soooo much more I have not seen! It’s literally a huge museum. Just trust me on this one.
Instead of the Notre Dame, try…
The Sacre Coeur. It’s another well known cathedral, so it is no less touristy. However, Montmartre is a completely different atmosphere in Paris. Located in the 18th arrondissement, it feels a little more edgy. Plus, it’s a nice little hike if you plan on walking. Get those steps in.
Pro tip: If you pay a visit to the Notre Dame, remember that it is closed and in repair due to the fire in 2019. You won’t be able to get very far, as there is scaffolding all around it. You can, however, get a nice view across the street while sipping a coffee at Shakespeare & Company.
I could go on and on about Paris and all the little things I’ve found during my voyages there. But I’m going to stop here and say that if you would like any more information or are planning a trip to Paris, feel free to get in contact with me for more specific suggestions! I have a couple favorite restaurants/cafés/stores that I can share. The beauty of traveling is that we each have our own way of doing it to maximize our experience, so I would love to help you make the most of your time in this gorgeous city. Bon voyage!