If anyone knows me personally, they know how crazy I am about Paris. Paris has been my dream since middle school. The first time I visited the beautiful city, I was 16 and I knew I wanted to come back and explore more. So when the opportunity came knocking my door, I did visit it again and I can’t wait to go back already. With so much to see, eat and explore, it’s difficult to narrow down on what one should actually do. So, I compiled one of the best things to do, in this magical city.
Firstly, the most obvious thing to see is the Eiffel Tower. You knew that, didn’t you? But what you might not know is that Hitler had ordered to demolish the Eiffel Tower. Thanks to Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor who disobeyed the order and surrendered instead, we are able to marvel at the beautiful creation, today.
When I first visited Paris, I wanted to go on top of it and see the view because I had heard so much about it. In case you want to do the same, you better have your tickets in advance or else you are stuck in long hours of ques. The price varies with age but for an adult it should cost somewhere between 16 euros to 25 euros. I wouldn’t say one shouldn’t go, but if it’s not your top priority, I would suggest to gaze at it from below cause when you go till the top and you see the view and you look at it, you ask yourself, what is missing? The Eiffel Tower! Since you are on it! The next time I visited Paris, I sat with my friend Coralie, just in front of it and enjoyed the sunset. We stayed till the last sparkle since its beautiful, when it lights up. Make sure to see the illumination of the Eiffel Tower, you CANNOT miss it.
Explore the Café Culture
The café culture of Paris is something that has always amused me especially because before the French Revolution, none of it existed. Come to think of it, we should actually pay our gratitude to history for the culinary revolution that took place in Paris.
Within 30 years, there were 3000 restaurants in the city. Today Paris is home to numerous fine dining restaurants, cafes and Michelin star restaurants. In all, it’s a paradise for food lovers. Terres de Café, FTG, Holybelly and Ten Belles are some of my favourite’s cafes to head to. Paris is famous for its tea rooms as well! My personal favourite is Angelina. It is known for its rich hot chocolate and exquisite Mont Blanc, the signature pastry. Dry French meringue nestled beneath a silky cloud of light whipped cream, crowned with chestnut vermicelli, mmm…. say no more, this is what heaven sounds like!
The Neighbourhood – Montmartre
This is the one thing you will regret not seeing, so don’t miss your chance. Montmartre is one of the most romantic neighbourhoods in Paris. With artists at work, along with the fresh waft of bakeries and numerous cafes to grab a bite at, Montmartre is the epitome of Paris. Head over to my a morning in montmartre blog post to discover this hidden gem.
Arc de Triomphe
Champs-Elysees is a highlight of Paris itself, but above it, is the Arc de Triomphe. It’s a monument which has history and culture behind it. The breath-taking views from above are worth the long queues. The entry fees for an adult is 9.50 euros.
Eat Your Way Through the Latin Quarter
This is the perfect way to end your day, eating dinner alongside the beautiful cobbled streets. Latin Quarter is famous for the numerous restaurants and cafes. We were on a hunt for something filling because the roadside crepes stall didn’t fill our bellies. Unexpectedly, we saw Safran, a restaurant serving Indian cuisine and I took my friend Coralie to try it. I always used to tell her how she being a Greek, would love Indian food and she was amused by it, when she ate at Safran. Apart from Safran, Latin Quarter has many treats. Take your pick from the litter!
Go for a Stroll
Nothing beats a stroll in Paris, it is a city made for walking literally! And while you are at, stop by Pont Alexandre III for the most magical view of the sunset. As the sun goes down, the bridge lights up and takes you in a world of theater.
Stop by a Boulangerie
From croissants, pain au chocolat, baguettes to pain au raisin, Paris is synonymous with breads. While all of these breads speak ‘France’ to everyone, baguettes is what symbolizes the wondrous country.
We have seen in movies and comics how much the French love their baguettes but, when you visit France, you actually see people holding a baguette or a person riding his bike with a baguette in his backpack. There is a boulangerie on every street, that’s how much French love their bread. No, this is not a misconception. I lived in France for two months and I can assure you, it’s true. Le Grenier à Pain, Eric Kayser, La Flûte Gana are some of the best boulangeries in Paris for baguettes.
Indulge in Macaroons
Macaroons are the supreme luxury of Paris. The most obvious choices are Pierre Hermé and Ladurée. I tried both and Pierre Hermé is the one for me. However, there are many other places like Fauchon, Sadaharu Aoki, Alban Guilmet, Carette for you to try.
There’s a beautiful quote by George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing” and whenever I read this, it takes me Walt Disney and the whole idea of Disneyland because you are never too old to play.
Going to Disneyland when in Paris should be one of the things you should definitely do, if your budget allows.
With the crowds so big, after the corona virus one may rethink of visiting it, but they do have social distancing norms in place and other safety measures.
The Louvre is the world’s biggest museum so don’t think you will be able to see everything! They say it takes 100 days to see all the art. So, focus on what you really want to see and then enter. Preferably, buy your ticket online since the queue is really long. It can be anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours! Children under the age of 18 and EU nationals between 18-25 years tend to get in for free or at discounted rates, if one has ID proof.
Palace of Versailles
If you have an extra day at hand, you could plan a day trip to Versailles, the former royal residence. Due to its lush green gardens, the best time to visit is spring. Its 22 kilometres from Paris. You could hire a cab (which would be expensive) or hop on a train which is the cheapest option. It is one of the most popular day trips from Paris.