A few weeks ago I went back to one of my favorite cities in the world: Paris! As a New Yorker, I’ve always been drawn to Paris because I think Paris and NYC have a lot in common. Both cities are very large and spread out, offering many different neighborhoods, each with their own charm and attractions. Both cities pride themselves in fine dining, entertainment, and some of the best shopping districts in the world. That being said, Paris offers incredible architecture and history that you can only get there. All in all, it’s truly just a beautiful city.
I thought about writing a travel guide for our 4 days in Paris, but honestly, I knew I would have too much trouble editing it down and the post would end up being way too long. So instead, I decided to narrow down my top 5 moments from our trip (which was SUPER hard by the way). So if you’re planning a trip to Paris soon, make sure to add these 5 things to your to-do list for an unforgettable experience.
1. Visiting the Louvre
When Jeff and I landed on Friday afternoon, we were pretty tired after our flight from Italy, so we didn’t really have anything planned for our first night there. We were staying within walking distance of the Louvre, so we decided to walk over and see the glass pyramids. I had already been to the museum before, but Jeff hadn’t, so we headed down the escalator to see how much tickets cost. When we went up to the ticket booth, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that if you’re under 26, you get in for free on Friday nights after 6PM! I guess they try to use this as an incentive since not many people are going to the museum on a Friday night, but when you’re traveling you lose track of days anyway. Plus, the museum wasn’t crowded at all and we were able to see all the pieces we wanted to (including the Mona Lisa!) without having to fight crowds. So for any of you under-26-year-olds out there, definitely make sure to use this tip if you’re planning a trip! But for everyone, I would argue the money for a ticket is absolutely worth it to see some of the most incredible art in the world.
2. Climbing the Eiffel Tower
Ok yes this might seem like a cliché, but I have to say this experience far exceeded my expectations. First of all, I have a terrible fear of heights (which is why I look so uncomfortable in this picture lol). I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it up the tower (and to be honest we didn’t make it all the way to the top level) but even climbing up to the second level offered incredible views of the city and an absolutely surreal feeling that I was standing on one of the most famous monuments in the world. I was also surprised at how spacious the tower felt once we were on it. Many people were just lounging out in chairs, drinking beer or a glass of wine and enjoying their afternoon.
For those thinking of visiting, you can choose to walk up and down the tower or take the elevator. We opted to take the stairs as the elevator line looked pretty intimidating, plus we could call it our exercise for the day! For anyone who is uncomfortable with heights, the stairs are a little scary because they’re out in open air, but as long as I gripped the railing tight and didn’t look straight down I was fine. Once we made it back to the bottom, We walked through the surrounding neighborhoods for some photo opps.
3. Seeing the sunset in Montmartre
Montmartre is on most lists for neighborhoods to explore while in Paris, and for good reason. It’s known for having a lot of character, with trendy shops and delicious restaurants. It’s also known for the Sacre Coeur which is at the top of a large hill, and once you climb up to see it, you’re able to look out at an incredible view of the city. Montmartre can seem far away depending on where you’re staying, but it is absolutely worth the trip. After a busy day of exploring the city, we decided to stop at a grocery story and make an impromptu picnic to bring up the hill with us. We got a fresh baguette with a few types of cheese & olives, and a bottle of wine. Then we climbed up to the top and found a spot to sit and relax while we snacked and enjoyed the view.
4. Renting A Golf Cart in Versailles
Four years ago when I went to Versailles, it started downpouring as soon as we arrived at the Palace, which meant we weren’t able to explore any of the outdoor areas. I was so disappointed on missing out, that this trip I knew I wanted to go back for my redemption visit. Let me tell you, my first trip and my second were like night and day. This time, we were so fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather, which made such a difference in getting to enjoy all that this experience has to offer. For anyone who hasn’t been to Versailles, the amount of land on the grounds can be a bit overwhelming, and it would be pretty impossible to see it all on foot. We had just about settled on only being able to skim the surface, when we saw a few people ride by on a golf cart. We immediately looked at each other and knew we had to rent one.
As we climbed in the golf cart, classical music started playing, and a tour guide started talking through the radio to tell us about the sights we were seeing. We had so much fun riding around the grounds and getting to see parts that we definitely wouldn’t have been able to walk to. We even stopped at a cafe where I picked up a mini bottle of wine to sip on while Jeff drove us around to see the views. I would definitely recommend for anyone going to Paris to pick a day to go see Versailles as it’s less than an hour from the city. Just make sure to check the weather first!
5. French Dinner
On our last night in Paris, Jeff and I wanted to get dressed up and go out for a nice dinner to end our vacation. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in Paris (and many require reservations) so we decided to just head out and hope to stumble upon something that caught our eye. We were staying near the Latin Quarter, so we made our way there since we knew there would be plenty of restaurants to choose from. On the way, we caught a beautiful sunset over the Seine and snapped a few pics.
After exploring a few different streets and reading many different menus, we decided to eat at Relais Odeon. Authentic French restaurants are not always the most vegetarian-friendly (and are especially hard to navigate when you don’t speak French) so when I saw a few vegetarian items that I recognized on this menu, I thought it was a good sign. It was a beautiful night so many people were outside sipping on wine and nibbling on cheese, but the waiter escorted us inside the restaurant and brought us to a table by the window. The service was great, the wine was delicious, and as each course came out, it was confirmed that we had chosen a great spot. We started with burrata over zucchini noodles which was absolutely heavenly. Then for the entree I got a vegetable risotto and Jeff ordered salmon. For dessert, we split a creme brulee. All in all, the meal was very reasonably priced for everything we got (under $100) so it was overall a great experience.
So those are the highlights of my trip, but if you have any more specific questions about how we got around, restaurant recommendation, how much things cost, etc. feel free to ask in the comments! Bon voyage!