When I took a trip to Europe, Paris was the second city to visit. I had never been before and was dying to feel that quaint, romantic charm. With a list of things to do and sights to see, we set out to experience the city.
My trip to Paris was in early May. The weather was VERY cold and rainy. Nighttime you definitely need to wear a sweater and scarf as the temperatures somehow seem to drop drastically.
Also, I recommend being in Paris for at least two days. I don’t believe you need a week there though. Below you’ll see a list of places to visit while in Paris and what to know prior to getting here.
Eiffel Tower at Night
This is the iconic element of Paris. It’s what most visitors have marked down on their list to visit. You’ll definitely want to get up close to this incredible architecture.
For me, going up close wasn’t as great as viewing the Eiffel Tower from a distance, especially at night. Seeing it in the distance just makes it feel magical. The light show begins at the top of each hour for five minutes. I was told that posting photos of the tower at night is illegal, so do so with caution! Also, be prepared with a coat and scarf (as seen very mismatched above) because it gets very chilly at night.
Seine River Cruise
I recommend you do this at night to see the beautiful lights showcasing the amazing architecture throughout the city. Be prepared with a sweater and a scarf that was suggested above. I have never been more thankful for the layers.
This was where we saw the Eiffel Tower light show. I feel like seeing the Eiffel Tower at night is much more magical. The twinkling lights have that romantic charm to them that would be ideal with a glass of wine.
If you’re able to catch this cruise at night, I’d highly recommend it. If not, there are also bus tours at night that will take you closer to it so you can get a great view.
Champs-Élysées – The Arc de Triomphe
This is the place to go shopping. Here you’ll find all the luxury brands and high-end fashion. I went to see The Arc de Triomphe which sits at the end of the street. I heard that going to the top offers the best views of Paris because the Eiffel Tower can be seen in the distance.
Gothic Notre Dame de Paris
In late spring of this year, 2019, the Notre Dame caught fire destroying the iconic spire. Although the destruction is devastating, it is still a sight to see. There is a long history to this cathedral and there are aspects to it that are truly one of a kind.
Macaroons are something I feel like I’d never be able to get as good as I can in Paris. We tried pistachio, salted caramel, rose, chocolate, lemon, hazelnut and a fruity one I can’t remember! The pistachio was definitely my favorite.
After going to Pierre Herme, we walked over to the garden. Once in the center, there are countless kids playing with their sailboats. There are tons of sites to take a seat at and watch the activities taking place or take in the view of the well-manicured flowers.
When searching for the quaint streets with that European vibe, Montmartre was the area to visit. This is how I envisioned Paris to feel, with that quaint, storybook street vibe.
Sacré-Cœur Basilica. You have to climb up a lot of stairs to get here, but it is worth it for the view of the city. You can see so much from here and even buy tickets to go to the top.
Being in Paris, we wanted to try some crepes. This place was packed, but we luckily didn’t have to wait long to be seated.
We decided to try one gallete, which is known to be the savory dish, and a crepe. The gallete was served with an egg in the center, asparagus, peas, chorizo and loaded with flavor. We didn’t want the crepe to be too sweet, so we went with the simple chocolate crepe.
I’d highly recommend this spot for the savory galletes and a fancier dessert crepe than what we got. The chocolate was good, but I had Nutella crepes along the streets that came very close at a fraction of the price!
What to Know Before You Go
There are a few things to keep in mind when booking a trip to Paris.
Weather: It can be all over the place. Make sure to check the weather a couple of weeks in advance to see how it’s been. However, it’s safe to pack a sweater and a scarf even in the summer as the nights can be chilly.
Getting Around the City: Although much of the city is walkable, get the book of 10 Metro tickets if you’re there for three days. Be careful though because the tickets are very small so you’ll need somewhere to store them.
Currency: Euros – plan on having a little bit of cash with you just in case. I also recommend that you bring a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. I used my United Mileage Plus card with Chase and inform them before a trip just to be safe.
Tipping: We started by tipping a lot in London and then realized that countries all have different methods. A lot of the menus indicate that prices shown include taxes and the service charge. If you’d like to tip though, most say 10% is common.
Dress: I’d say to pack neutrals that are key piece basics – be casual without wearing workout clothes (something I struggle with daily.)
Language: In Paris, people speak French. Although many people do speak English, it helps to know a few common words when navigating or out at a restaurant.
Although Paris wasn’t my favorite place, it could be yours! There are so many things to do in Paris, experiences to try, coffee and wine to drink, and sights to see. It’s a great place to visit, especially to be immersed in a different culture.
If you’re booking a trip, make sure to look into the best times to go for the weather. However, there are also many benefits to going at different times of the year so keep that in mind when planning your trip.
Have you been to Paris? What are some other places you’d recommend?