Paris is one of those cities that everyone knows about. It’s been given names such as the City of Lights and City of Love. While I visited Paris with my friend and my sister, I had a fantastic time.
The great thing about going with a group of girls is all the fashion and girly things that Paris has to offer. Between all the shopping and the fashion museums, it’s a great girls’ trip as well.
I spent three days in Paris and of course, this wasn’t enough time. There was so much to see and do, you could easily spend weeks in this beautiful city.
While we tried to jam-packed as much as we could in three days, we spent a good amount of time drinking wine and hanging at cafes (as you should while in Paris!). Visiting cafes is a must while in Paris and you don’t have to get wine if that isn’t your style. However, for all the wine lovers out there, one benefit of France is that you can get quality wine for cheap.
So if you’re trying to decide what to do in Paris, here’s what we did over our three days in the City of Lights.
We stayed at Hotel Eiffel Saint Charles near the Eiffel Tower. Overall, the hotel was nice. It was clean, the staff was friendly, air conditioning (which can be challenging in Europe), wifi, and it was close to a metro station.
It was within walking distance of the Eiffel Tower which was convenient and we were able to pop over there a few times to see the iconic tower at different times of the day.
The only downfall was that room was pretty small. There were three of us traveling together and they put three twin beds in the room and basically nothing else fit. It was hard to find a spot for our luggage!
The first thing we did after settling into the hotel was that we headed over to the River Seine and the Eiffel Tower. People suggested that we do a river tour first to get acquainted with the city. I agree with this suggestion since we were able to see many of the iconic monuments from the river and it was more relaxing than walking around. Save our feet just a little especially with our very full itinerary. The river tour helped us create a game plan for our days in Paris.
Since we arrived in Paris late in the afternoon, I’m counting this as a bonus day. We didn’t do much more other than visiting a cafe and finding some dessert. This bonus day was one of the nicest days while we were in Paris so it also made the river tour that much better.
One of the top things on our list was naturally the Eiffel Tower. The first full day in Paris for us was a little rainy but that didn’t stop us! It didn’t rain all day but it was on and off for the majority of the day. Since we only had so much time in Paris, we went along with the original plan even though it involved us being outside.
We got breakfast at a place called Kozy before we went to the Eiffel Tower and got some quiches. The quiche I ordered was very meaty but it wasn’t bad. We arrived at the Eiffel Tower around 10 AM. They had a security line to get underneath the tower once you bought your ticket.
We were there early enough that the lines were not long at all. The longest line was to get underneath the Eiffel tower. We took the elevator to the first landing which had very nice views. Then we took the other elevator up to the top of the Eiffel tower, which is very high up. Since the weather was only alright, it was very windy at the top of the Eiffel Tower. They had countries’ flags that faced the direction of the country which I thought was pretty neat. So we took a picture of us facing towards New York and Washington DC since home is somewhere in the middle. The views were great and it was fun to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Even though the lines weren’t long to get in, sightseeing around the Eiffel Tower took all morning so we grabbed a quick lunch then headed to the meeting location for our tour to Versailles. We booked it with Viator. The tour was for the Palace of Versailles and Le Domaine de Marie-Antoinette.
The benefit of going on these tours is that they give you background information about what you are about to see on the ride there.
Le Domaine de Marie-Antoinette
The place of Versailles belonged to King Louis XIV. We started our tour with the Marie-Antoinette area. It was really pretty with a very large garden in the back. Apparently, Marie-Antoinette didn’t like living at the palace of Versailles and this was her getaway. Our tour guide said the gardens are so big since this was built during the period of enlightenment so they needed someplace to be able to think. In her garden, there were places to check out such as a grotto, a farm, and the Queen’s Hamlet with included her lady’s companions’ houses.
Unfortunately, the Queen’s Hamlet was being restored while we were there so we couldn’t see it. The farm was nice. They had roosters, hens, donkeys, sheep, goats, and cows.
Fun fact, apparently the King had to ask to come over to the Queen’s area for dinner. She was a diva, to say the least. The King gave her the land with a bunch of flowers on it and she got rid of them because she didn’t like the smell of the roses.
Their relationship sounded complicated, to say the least.
Palace of Versailles
After visiting Marie-Antoinette’s area, we headed over to the Palace of Versailles. Marie-Antoinette’s house and garden are on the palace’s property so it didn’t take long to get to our next destination.
The palace of Versailles is massive and beautiful.
So much gold and sooooo elaborate.
They had paintings on the ceilings, gold on the doors, chandeliers in every room. It was incredible to see. It is hard to explain the beauty without being there and taking in the scenery. Another reason to go visit Paris.
King Louis XIV loved the attention and winning. He had one room dedicated to where he could brag about his winnings. It was obvious he liked attention by how elaborate and fancy this palace is. Most rooms also had somewhere where his people could watch him or adore him. So the palace had his royal seal all over the place.
On the back of the palace is an even bigger garden than on Marie-Antoinette’s garden. It had flowers, sculptures, and vases. Half of it was on a big deck so you overlooked even more of the garden. It was really beautiful.
On the way back from Versailles, we saw the Statue of Liberty look alike. It is in such an unimportant place in Paris on a bridge. It is also a lot smaller than the one in New York. Someone on the tour bus claims that this one is looking directly at the Statue of Liberty but I don’t know if that is true.
On the second day, we did a lot of walking around. We went all around Paris. Good thing we saved our feet some steps on the bonus day with the river tour.
We decided to start our day at the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart). It looks like it is a lot farther away from the city center than it is. Once you get off the subway, it is all uphill and up a fair amount of steps. It is definitely a good way to add some cardio to your day!
However, it is definitely worth it because Sacre Coeur is beautiful. It is all white and has beautiful domes. It also overlooks the city and we were able to identify major monuments, which was cool. The church also had a lot of stained glass windows which are always beautiful.
Arc de Triomphe
After the Sacre Coeur, we went back into the city center and to the Arc de Triomphe. From being one of the must-see places in Paris, it is in an interesting spot. The arc is in the center of a really big roundabout. Maybe one of the biggest in Europe. The biggest I’ve seen at least. I definitely would not want to drive around it.
But to get to the arc, you have to go underground to avoid the roundabout of cars. It is at the beginning of the famous Champs-Elysees shopping section so you can knock those two places off your to-do list pretty easily.
After we took our pictures, we walked down the Champs-Elysees. It had all the famous fashion stores and other stores as well (including shops such as the Disney Store). The avenue was very nice and it was nice to just walk and take in the Parisian streets.
Palaces, Port Alexander III, and the Flame of Liberty
At the end of the Champs-Elysees, there are two palaces. The Petit Palace and the Grand Palace. Right before the palaces is where the French president lives. But back to the palaces, the palaces were very nice. It is funny that they are right across the street from each other. The palaces lead right to the Pont Alexander III which is a very beautiful bridge. It has gold sculptures and nice lamp posts. It also had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower which was a good picture opportunity.
The other side of the building is called Invalides. It was a nice building with a gold dome-like top. Then we walked over to the Flame of Liberty. This was given to France from the United States after they helped restore the Statue of Liberty. It was the exact replica of the flame of the Statue of Liberty. It looked smaller than the one in New York. I guess because a massive green woman isn’t holding it up high in the sky. This flame also acts as a memorial for Princess Diana since the car crash that killed her happened in the tunnel right below the flame of liberty.
Annnnddddd….. this was our plan for the entire day but we finished at 1ish. It sounded like a lot but all these things are really close to each other.
So naturally, we went to lunch and got some drinks to kill some time. The restaurant we went to was right next to the offices of some fashion stores (like Givenchy) so everyone was really fashionable. I’m assuming they worked in the fashion industry.
Le Marais district
Afterward, we decided to go to the Le Marais district. This district is a shopping district so we were hoping to find some souvenirs but we didn’t but it was nice to walk around the area and see the old buildings in all their French glory.
After walking around the Le Marais district, we walked right by the area where Notre Dame of Paris is which was originally on the plan for tomorrow.
However, since we had time and it was right there, we decided to go in. There was a line outside the cathedral that wrapped around the front. It looked really long. However, it moved really fast. I think we only waited in line for 20 minutes.
Notre Dame is beautiful and huge. They have a big organ in the back like many other churches. I really like the gothic style so I enjoyed walking around Notre Dame and just observing the architecture. The doors and the doorways getting into Notre Dame is extremely fancy.
I basically just thought about The Hunchback of Notre Dame the whole time. The Disney fan in me. The altar was really long and they also had stained glass windows. Notre Dame also had a lot of sculptures of saints and of course, Mary and Jesus.
After that, we were done sightseeing for the day so we went to dinner. I guess that is not completely accurate since we did swing back by the Eiffel Tower to see it at night.
I heard that the best times to go to the Louvre is either at opening or at night. Basically, any popular attraction is like this, am I right? Since we get up so early and ran all over the city the past few days, we decided that it would be best to try to get to the Louvre right when it opened.
Well, we weren’t there right at opening but we were there within the first hour. There is an entrance near the exit to the metro so we got in line there. There was a sign that said the wait to get in would be 30 minutes but it didn’t take that long so that was good. The first line was to check bags and there wasn’t a line at the ticket counter so that was good.
In order to get the best view of the Mona Lisa, we ran to that first. So did everyone else that got there that early. The Mona Lisa was on the complete opposite side of the Louvre than the front door so it was a long journey there.
There were probably only three rows of people trying to take a picture of the Mona Lisa when we made it to the exhibit. We were able to squeeze up to the front fairly easily. The Mona Lisa is so tiny. We have bigger paintings at our house than the size of the Mona Lisa.
It was an experience to see the Mona Lisa close up since it is talked about so much in school growing up. It was a very detailed painting from what I could tell. They don’t let you get very close to it and it is in a big glass to protect it.
Once we were done looking at the Mona Lisa, we decided to check out the other paintings, sculptures, and exhibits. Some of the paintings by the Mona Lisa are so old that they are painted on wood which is cool (I think they were painted in the 1400s). We also saw the Egyptian exhibit which had mummies, hieroglyphics, and sarcophagus. We also saw Greek vases/pots, sculptures, and other artifacts.
The bottom of the Louvre had you walk in what appeared to be a dungeon. We aren’t entirely sure but it was all brick. It kind of looked like you were walking around a castle. They had an area for Mesopotamia and the Ancient Middle East.
That’s everything we saw. Which was a lot. I got museum-ed out by this point. The Louvre has many other areas full of things than just what we saw. You could easily spend the whole day there and still probably wouldn’t have seen everything. However, we were ready to move on.
The Louvre is a massive museum. Probably the biggest one I’ve ever been in. It used to be a castle so the ceilings and the building itself were really beautiful. We got lost a few times that’s how massive it is.
The map in our opinion takes a little getting used to. I think I figured it out by the time we were ready to leave.
Insider’s tip, at the entrance of every room, is a color and a number. This lets you know which section you are in and what room of the section.
That is very helpful. Otherwise, you would definitely be lost.
When we left the Louvre, it was raining but we still got some pictures in front of it and the iconic glass pyramids. We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries (which is the gardens right behind the Louvre). It had flowers and lots of sculptures. On the side, they had a little festival with rides and everything.
Cheesecake at Hotel Costes
The whole reason we were heading this way was because my sister watched an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashian months ago and Kim Kardashian flew all the way to Paris to have cheesecake from Hotel Costes.
But before this, she led us to a restaurant that got good reviews online but unfortunately, they were away on holiday and the restaurant was closed.
Good thing she had a backup restaurant.
Oh wait, they were also closed and away on holiday. You win some, you lose some.
Don’t worry though, we didn’t starve and actually really enjoyed where we ended up for lunch. This part of town was very ritzy. The street that Hotel Costes was located had all the expensive stores and you could tell everyone walking around had money.
When we walked into the hotel to the restaurant, we felt so out of place. It wasn’t a good day to leave my designer clothes at home. Kidding, however, the awkwardness that we felt subsided and we tried this cheesecake that my sister had been talking about for months.
Honestly, it was alright, I’ve had better cheesecake. I wouldn’t fly all the way to Paris for it. I guess that is what we get for living so close to New York City. Don’t get me wrong, it was good cheesecake but that is a really long flight for it. Since this was such a nice hotel, it was the most expensive meal we’ve had all trip and all we got was tea and cheesecake.
Love Lock Bridge
After that, we walked over to Pont des Arts which use to be Love Lock Bridge. Now they have glass on the sidings so no one can place a lock there. So it wasn’t that great since now it looks like a normal old bridge. The other side of the bridge is where the Latin Quarters are, so we took a stroll on that side of the river.
Once we did that, we headed over to the Palais Galleria, which is a fashion museum. It was small but had some interesting clothing. They had clothes that Napoleon wore and Audrey Hepburn. Some people in the museum were really into fashion. They just stood there and admired the clothing. I think more people in that museum were admiring what they were looking at more than I have ever seen at an art museum. Normally it is one or two people. When in Paris, right?
And there you have it! I know this sounds like a lot! We actually didn’t have all this planned originally but most things were within walking distance of each other which was a plus.
It would have been nice to spend a few more days there to spread out the activities and we weren’t able to do everything on our list. Oh well, just give me an excuse to plan another trip to Paris.
I enjoyed walking around the city between activities as well, experiencing the city itself. I love exploring cities and see what they are like on the streets. You can stumble upon some pretty cool places or experiences.
Until next time,