Many of my international friends will be visiting Paris and have asked for my personal recommendations of things to do and see in a short amount of time while in the city of love.
Here are 10 recommendations I would suggest for people to make time to visit and experience; most of which are free, or in this case, the price of a 1,70 euro metro ticket to get there. If you will be using the metro during the time you are in Paris to get around (instead of walking), I would advise travellers to save money by purchasing 10 pack of tickets for 12.70€ (trust me, this is the best way to save about 5,00€)
Personally, the Eiffel Tower is one of my favourite places (and probably the most visited place in Paris) along with establishing itself as the most symbolic and global icon of Paris. Standing at 320 metres tall, the Eiffel Tower is absolutely stunning to witness in person; a night or during the day.
After taking a vast amount of photos in front the tower, I highly recommend climbing the horrendous amount of stairs to the very top. Climbing the Eiffel Tower was on my bucket list, and for those who are able to do so, I recommend it. Also, it’s cheaper to climb at a ticket price of 3,50€ compared to the higher price (and lengthy wait) of taking the escalator.
2) Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile)
One of the most famous monuments in Paris, the Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars. While the Arc de Triomphe is one of those historical monuments that is a MUST SEE, you can walk along the Champs-Elysées, which is filled with ritzy stores like Mercedes-Benz and Louis Vuitton.
The street is absolutely beautiful at night, especially around Christmas, with all the lights lit up for the season. Take the metro to Charles de Gaulle étoile.
Located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most visited gardens in Paris; this is for many reasons, but one reason is that it is absolutely alluring. Take a walk through the gardens either on your way to the Eiffel Tower or after you visited La musée de Louvre.
There are two museums that I strongly recommend visiting and the Musée du Louvre is one of them. Not only is Louvre a historic monument, it is also one of the world’s largest museums.
You could literally spend a whole day in there; it’s that large. Not only does it contain interesting and unique exhibitions, but it also holds one of the most famous paintings: The Mona Lisa.
Beware of pick-pocketers, and the massive amount of people surrounding specific paintings, especially the miniature-sized painting of Mona. Also, if you are an EU student (this excludes exchange students from outside the EU) then you get free admission. Just bring your passport and student card.
My second recommendation for museums (if you’re interested in going to them) would be the Musée d’Orsay. This museum is located opposite of the Musée du Louvre just over the Seine River. This museum is cheaper than Musée du Louvre, but a lot smaller, and more specific with the art that is showcased.
At the time that I went, they had an amazing exhibition on Impressionism and Fashion which was well worth seeing. Check the website to see upcoming exhibitions at the time that you plan to visit. Again, admission is free if you are an EU student.
Take the metro to Anvers (near funiculaire de montmartre) to see the beautiful Basilica Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre.
There are lots of souvenir shops in this area as you walk towards the hill where the basilica resides. You will have to walk the many steps to get to the top, but it’s worth it once you see the view of Paris from the top of the stairs.
The view of Paris is the main reason to come here, but also, the Basilica is incredibly well-designed and beautiful. Beware of men trying to stop you and asking you to hold out your hands. They will begin to make a bracelet for you and will ask you to make two payments for the bracelet; one to them, and one to their boss. Just another sketchy travel experience to add to my book.
7) Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris
No there is no hunchback that lives in the Notre Dame (as Disney has made us believe). The Cathédrale, however, is absolutely awe-inspiring and massive; a must-see for all tourists.
The architecture and style of this structure is phenomenal, inside and out. It is free to visit, although highly suggested that you make a contribution through a purchase of a tea-lite candle that you can light and place among the many that are in memory of individuals or general blessings.
8) Père Lachaise Cemetery
If you a fan of literature or have a love for famous writers, poets, philosophers, artists or other historical individuals, then look no farther and visit the grave sites of many famous individuals at Père Lachaise Cemetery.
It is the largest cemetery I have ever seen and walked through and is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris. From Eugène Delacroix to Oscar Wilde, Père Lachaise Cemetery contains many graves of famous and historical individuals and is a non-touristy place to visit.
To save on meals and general food while in Paris, avoid the costly restaurants and cafe’s, and look to buy fresh food from markets or food stores.
Even though I’m a traveller on a budget, I like to splurge on experiences in each city. On the last day in Paris, I wanted to experience a really nice French cafe. I was recommended by a friend to visit Angelina’s cafe on Rue de Rivoli, and after a visit there, I must say, it was an overall great experience.
The food was great (and fancy) and the hot chocolate was to die for. If you’re a fan of chocolate (like pure liquid chocolate), then look no farther than the most chocolate hot chocolate you will ever have.
Although the price of Angelina’s famous ‘African’ hot chocolate could give you a heart attack (with all the rich chocolate, it just might), the price was worth trying it and relaxing in an exquisitely furnished and classy french atmosphere.
10) The Love Bridge of Paris
Walking along the Seine River, you will find various bridges flourishing with multi-coloured & multi-purpose “love” locks detailing a couple, a friendship, or relationships.
For 3 euros, you can buy a lock from a man who makes his income of the purchase of the locks, and write down your name, and that of a lover. By writing your names and anniversary date, you can lock the love lock on the bridge, throw away the key into the river, and have the lock symbolize each others’ enduring passion for one another. It’s quite romantic, in a way.
TO AND FROM PARIS (AIRPORT & METRO INFO)
If you are travelling to the Charles De Gaulle airport (Easyjet), take the metro (RER A) into Paris at a ticket price of 9,25€. If you are travelling to the Paris Beauvais Tille Airport (Ryanair), there is a shuttle bus that will take you to Neuilly-Porte Maillot (metro stop) and from there you will need to find the metro and take it into the city of Paris for usual metro ticket price for 1,70€
In this case, it’s more expensive flying with Ryanair at the added price of 16,70€, compared with Easyjet (9,25€)
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Any comments or questions, please leave a message above! If you have any other suggestions of places you highly recommend in Paris, then leave a comment below!