Tips and Tricks to Tackle the Best Sights in this Paris Travel Guide
Believe it or not, I spent a summer in Europe 3 years ago! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Thankfully, I wrote down all my experiences in a travel journal. Thank goodness that the one time I journaled it was for something good and not just about whatever boy I liked that week. I’m gathering all the details of my trip together and writing a Paris travel guide for your reference. I visited Paris twice that summer and had the best trip of my life! The first time, I went with my art study abroad and second, I backpacked with two girls from my classes. Paris was by far one of my favorite places to go because of the amazing things to do, places to see and food to eat. I’m hugging my past self for documenting all of these experiences that I get to share with you. Here’s my ultimate Paris travel guide! (Keep in mind these pictures are pre-blog days so be kind 🙂 )
Things to Do
The first day I was in Paris, we went to see Bastille. It is the remaining piece of the prison during the times of the French Revolution. Sadly, no one was singing from Les Miserables, but it still was a cool monument to see.
This is by far the best thing I did in Paris and the #1 best thing to do in this Paris travel guide! I climbed all the way to the top and if you want to do the same, please do not skip leg day. It has some of the steepest stairs I’ve ever seen, but the view is totally worth it.
Musee D’ Orsay
The Orsay is my favorite museum I’ve ever been to and the best museum in this Paris travel guide. (Even better than the Louvre!) It’s an old train depot that is filled with sculptures, paintings and other pieces from artists like Monet and Van Gogh. But, my favorite parts weren’t anything in the museum. In one corner, they have a reception hall that is something out of Beauty and the Beast. They decorated the hall with so much gold and ornate details that I secretly wish I could have hosted my wedding reception there. Along another part of the museum is a giant clock! It was so magical and definitely insta-worthy!
The Palace of Versailles is amazing! Sadly, I wasn’t able to go through the gardens when I went, but seeing the sheer mass of everything took my breath away. It’s definitely a day trip so make sure you budget enough time for traveling and anything else you want to do in that part of the city.
You can’t go to Paris without going up in the Eiffel Tower! I took the elevator to the main base and then climbed stairs the rest of the way up. It’s a magical place to be especially once it starts twinkling at night. Take a picnic and sit on the lawn during the day, but don’t forget to see it at night at least once.
The Arc D’ Triumphe
This is an awesome place to go, but taking pictures there is difficult. Under the arch, there’s the tomb of the unknown soldier. When I went, they were having a ceremony celebrating the tomb so I wasn’t able to go underneath, but I did go climb to the top!
If you are a fan of modern art, go to the Pompidou. The entire plumbing system is actually on the outside of the building so it looks super cool. However, even though I went on an art study abroad, I’m not a fan of modern art and didn’t appreciate it fully compared to other people.
The Louvre is definitely a place to go to. If you want to see the whole thing, I would designate an entire day. I only had a few hours so I made sure to see Winged Victory and the Mona Lisa along with the crown jewels of Europe. Pick and choose the things you want to see before going if you can’t spend the entire day there.
This is the place that the plot of Phantom of the Opera takes place. It was unreal! The halls are exquisite and when we got into the auditorium, they lit up the chandelier which usually never happens! We were super lucky to see it.
Mont Saint Michel
If you have a chance to make a day trip to Mont Saint Michel, do it! It’s an old abbey that monks used to live in hundreds of years ago. Depending on the time of year, it’s completely surrounded by water, and it’s the inspiration behind the castle in Tangled. It was by far one of my favorite places on this trip and I hope to bring my husband there with me someday.
Food to Eat
Sadly, I wasn’t as good about writing what restaurants and shops I went to as I was about sight seeing. I know what I did like there so maybe that will help. Sorry for the lack of specifics!
I went to a tiny hole in the wall shop near Notre Dame and got pizza. They folded it into a cone so it was easier to eat. I don’t know if it was good because I hadn’t eaten in 16 hours or what, but it was delicious!
You can find crepes just about anywhere and it’s the best thing ever! The nutella ones are the best, but that’s when I found out I can’t eat hazelnuts. You win some you lose some.
I found macarons everywhere too! When I was in Paris, my favorite ones were amache and passion. I wish I could try every flavor because I still dream about them!
Every morning, I bought a baguette and the fixings for a sandwich so I could bring it with me for lunch. It’s a lot cheaper to go get food at the grocery stores around there so if you want to save money on your trip, make your own breakfast and lunch.
There’s croissants EVERYWHERE! No matter where you go, you can find deliciousness.
Chocolate Stuffed Beignet
I’m kicking myself for not writing this place down, but behind the Eiffel Tower and down an alley to the left, there’s a hole in the wall bakery. I got a chocolate-stuffed beignet and it was by far the best thing I ate the entire time I was in Paris! When I can bring Taz back there, it’s where I am going first! If you try anything from my Paris travel guide, try this.
When I went to the Eiffel Tower, I got a basket of frites by the carousel, because I couldn’t go to France without getting french fries (even though I know french fries didn’t come from France.) They’re fried in butter and absolutely heavenly!
You can find gelato on every corner in every street. Apparently, there’s a shop that cuts gelato into the shape of a rose, but I couldn’t find it! If you go and know where it’s at, let me know in the comments.
Places to Stay
This is the hotel I stayed at with my study abroad and it was adorable! They have continental breakfast which is a plus and I don’t think we were very far from the city center. I would definitely recommend staying there.
The second time I went, I stayed at an Air BnB. I’ll have to find the name so you DON”T stay there haha. The hostel/hotel split us girls up into two rooms so I was in a room by myself. Each room had their own sink, but there was a communal toilet and shower AND no AC. Majority of places in Europe don’t have AC, but this place was exceptionally hot. Oh I almost forgot…blood covered an entire wall in the elevator when we got back on night. It look like someone was stabbed. Yikes! My family is going to an Air BnB there this summer and there’s looks very safe and clean. Just make sure you read reviews before renting.
Take money out before hand
When I went to Europe, the United States didn’t come out with credit cards with chips in them. Thankfully, I got a reloadable debit card that worked without any foreign fees, but majority of companies won’t charge you now as long as you let them know ahead of time. Always take some money out in case of emergencies, because that happened to me a lot.
Be wary on the metro
The Paris metro is the worst train in all of Europe. It’s absolutely disgusting. A man was PEEING in a corner of a car I was in and I thought I was going to be sick. Be really careful about your bags too, because people will try to unzip your bag without you knowing.
I’ll be honest: I didn’t pack light and I instantly regretted it. Almost none of the places I stayed in Europe had an elevator and it was miserable to lug bags up and down the stairs. Pack light! You’ll thank me later.
Invest in a waterproof raincoat NOT water resistant
I don’t know what time of year you plan on going, but if you go during the busy season, it will rain. I packed an umbrella too, but that’s not fun to drag around. Investing in a waterproof raincoat will change your life for the better. If you take any advice from this Paris travel guide, please do this. I sized up in mine so I could hide my bag underneath and avoid getting soaked.
Whew! I’m sorry this Paris Travel Guide was veryyyyy long, but I get questions about my time in Europe constantly. I didn’t want to leave anything out that would be important to know. I guarantee I forgot to add something, because I’m a human. If you have any questions about my time in Paris, feel free to ask in the comments below. Good luck and happy travels!