Paris, ‘Se la vie’

January 2019 —

“Paris, that’s life” in French sums up my fairytale trip to Paris, France which was as sweet as could be. However, like most relationships it has bittersweet meaning. During my semester abroad I entered into a relationship with someone, and we went to Paris when I came to visit. What a wonderful time we had! It was a dream come true trip, but let’s just say that the relationship was short-lived, and thus I have many mixed emotions when it comes to Paris. 

I would absolutely recommend visiting Paris though! I am even thinking about returning someday because I felt like I only saw a small part of the city. The Louvre and the quaint little streets left me in awe! 

I booked a wondrous little hotel, just meters away from the Eiffel Tower for the 3 days I was there. It is across the street from the metro stop of Dupleix, and is about a 40 minute metro ride from Charles De Gaulle Airport. This hotel, Le Petit Louvre, has artistic renderings of the most well known works within the Louvre Museum all over the walls, hallways, and rooms. This hotel was not terribly expensive for its location given that I could see the Eiffel Tower from the lovely veranda in my room. I would recommend if you are looking for a decent hotel without denting your wallet. Though, to be honest when I go back someday, I will probably stay in a hostel because I prefer hostels to hotels most of the time.

 

Sights to See

Ultimately this was a fun filled historical trip which entailed visiting world famous sights such as the Louvre Museum, the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. I spent lots of time walking around on the streets taking in all the French glamour that I have heard so much about. I also visited the Sacré-Cœur which is also know as the Basilica Montmarte. This is the most amazing building on the inside and is actually quite deceiving in just how large it is in the interior.

For years I have dreamt of visiting the iconic glass pyramids outside of the Louvre Museum! My fascination all started with watching the Tom Hanks movie The Da Vinci Code. Pondering the idea of whether Mary Magdalene is in fact laid to rest underneath those glass pyramids is mind boggling, even for me as I am not religious. So when I finally got to visit these wonderful works of art, I was ecstatic! The inside of the Louvre is just enormous with hours upon hours of artwork, artifacts, sculptures, and archaeological discoveries to admire. And of course, the most famous work of art that is on display at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa. Lots and lots of people were waiting to get pictures and up close looks of the painting, and although it is a fascinating work of art, I am not sure it deserves as much hype as it has received. Also, it is not nearly as large as I thought it would be! Just outside there is a gorgeous sprawling garden, called Tuileries Garden, which used to be the royal garden back when the Louvre was the French Royal Palace.

Next on my list of sights to see was none other than the glorious Notre Dame Cathedral. I was afforded the unique opportunity of viewing all of the centuries old hand carved woodworkings inside of the cathedral just months before most of it was lost to a tragic fire in 2019. I believe that they did save some of the wooden pieces, but I feel very lucky to have seen it prior to this unfortunate event. The inside is as beautiful, if not more magnificent than one can can imagine. It is truly an impressive feat, and left me awe stricken at its sheer size and detail.

From there I headed over to the Arc de Triomphe, which is encircled with a cul-de-sac and some super divine restaurants. You are able to go inside and on top of the Arc I believe, but I chose to just take photos and take in the artistic designs covering the outside. I ended up walking from the Arc de Triomphe towards the Eiffel Tower, which gives you perhaps the best views of the tower and the River Seine for photo taking.

The most famous landmark and structure of Paris, the Eiffel Tower is without a doubt worth visiting! I paid to climb the stars to the first level, where there are a couple restaurants and awesome views! You can pay lots to head to the second and third floors, but I don’t think it is necessary unless you really want to see the whole of Paris from the tippy top section haha. To be honest the first floor is quite high already and I could see a solid portion of the city. I think the most frightening part was that they have section on this floor that are clear glass you can stand on, and I not not particularly bothered by heights, but I didn’t enjoy standing in those areas.

There are delightful little street markets that pop up on the weekends near busy intersections which are fairly similar to El Rastro of Madrid, but more food oriented. One of the more interesting and romantic sights I happened upon is a bridge just down from the Eiffel Tower that crosses the River Seine. The Debilly Footbridge is covered with the ‘Love locks,’ that lovers have left as a mark of their affections! Actually there are soo many, I am surprised that it has not weighed the bridge down.

One of the great positives about staying in Paris, is that there are lots of great place to take day trips to. I decided to visit the Palace of Versailles for a day trip because on the first Sunday of every month between the months of November to March there is free admission. And as it happened to be the first week of January when I went, it was also the first Sunday of the month. Thus, taking a 45 minute train from the city is really affordable and easy to do. When you land in the town of Versailles you can walk to the palace or chateau in about 10 minutes. This is an utterly stunning array of gilded buildings that take your breath away as you approach the golden gate entrance. The interior rooms and exterior roof line demonstrate just how much wealth and power the Colonial French empire acquired. I would say if you have the time and enjoy architecture, then this is a worthwhile sight to see!

 

Suggestions for the Optimal Trip

Eating out can be okay price wise, but was overall quite expensive! Especially near the tourist hotspots and city center it is more costly to eat so trying to eat in less busy or central cation will be cheaper. I would definitely go grocery shopping and/or stay at a hostel with a kitchen next time!

You can reasonably walk in between the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral all in the same day. However, if you want to visit the Basilica Montmarte you will definitely need to take a bus or the metro because it is just too far to walk.

It was January when I went, and let me tell you it was very cold, windy, and super damp! The semi insulated jacket I had been wearing in Madrid, a much warmer European city in the winter than Paris, was not enough by any means. As a result, I would suggest trying to pack a warm and longer coat if you are visiting in the winter time!

Be sure to check out my other posts for more amazing tips! Click below : )  

Without a doubt I will return to Paris someday! This is the city of love after all, but not necessarily the city to go to with your "love." I would say that this is an amazing place no matter the time of year, just dress accordingly, and explore the streets with open eyes for a terrific experience.  : )

You can reasonably walk in between the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame Cathedral all in the same day. However, if you want to visit the Sacré-Cœur also called the Basilica Montmarte, you will definitely need to take a bus or the metro because it is just too far to walk.
Looking out from inside the Eiffel Tower.
The Arc de Triomphe. Athough it may not look it, this is a very large structure, and inside each side there are stairs and rooms.
An ancient Egyptian casket on display inside the Louvre Museum.
The bottom of the largest glass pyramid inside the Louvre. This was said to be the exact resting place of Mary Magdelane in the movie The Da Vinci Code.
Myself standing outside of the Palace of Versailles.

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