Saturday, April 11, 2020

48 Hours in Paris



On my recent blog post about staying busy at home, I mentioned that I was planning my next getaway. When my city went under a stay-at-home order, I wondered if this was a good time to share more travel posts. Hopefully you can find some inspiration for a future trip or enjoy a virtual tour of some of these destinations!

My family spent a few weeks in Europe last summer and for reasons I’m still unsure of, I was put in charge of planning the days we were in Paris. We got there on a Sunday morning and were headed to Amsterdam by Tuesday morning so I had to pack a lot into a short trip.  My biggest challenge in planning these two days was seeing that not everything is open all week. We actually adjusted our trip and flipped when we were originally supposed to be in Amsterdam and Paris because so much was closed in Paris on Mondays or Tuesdays.

Here’s the itinerary we followed with my thoughts on some of the biggest attractions in Paris. 

Day One


9:30 AM: Arrive & Check in

We got to Paris from London around 9:30 AM. After looking into different travel options, we decided to fly because we could leave earlier and arrive in France earlier. However, we also spent hours getting through customs at the Paris airport, which left us wondering if the train would have been an easier journey. We bought train passes and checked into our hotel before heading out.

     

12:00 PM: Versailles Palace

The train ride from Paris to Versailles takes about an hour. We bought tickets online to avoid the lines and entered the Palace around noon. After exploring most of the palace, the courtyard and part of the garden, we had spent a good four hours at the Chateau. Even though we definitely didn’t see absolutely everything, I probably won’t make the trip out to Versailles if I am ever in Paris again. However, I think it is absolutely worth doing once. The entire place is so over the top and so old. You also learn amount of information about French history throughout the estate.



6:00 PM: Catacombs of Paris
The underground labyrinth filled with bones was equally spooky and exciting. It was really interesting to learn about a unique part of the history of Paris. Basically, in the late 1700s, the city’s cemeteries were linked to a lot of major public health problems. Authorities decided to move all contents to an underground site, now known as the catacombs. Bring a sweater for your descent into the catacombs. You're going pretty far underground and the temperature drops significantly.

Day Two


     


9:00 AM: Louvre Museum
We bought advance tickets to avoid the wait and arrived when the museum opened. Of course, by the time we made our way to the Mona Lisa, it was pretty crowded. The museum is huge (literally the biggest art museum in the world) and there’s no way to see it all. I chose a few areas that were most interesting and we spent a couple hours wandering the museum.


11:00 AM: Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries Garden is located between The Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. It’s a public garden so it’s totally free to walk through and see fountains and statues. We also stopped to rest and enjoy gelato. I don’t think we even saw half of the gardens but it was a scenic walk.


12:45 PM: River Seine Cruise
If there is one thing you have to do while in Paris, it would definitely be a river cruise. It was recommended to me by a friend and I would pass that on a million times. You get a unique view of about a dozen iconic landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame from the river. The cruise itself lasts about an hour so it’s definitely worth it. There are options for lunch and dinner cruises but we picked the most basic package.

Between our river cruise and heading up to Montemarte, we bought some snacks from a store near our hotel and rested. It had rained lightly all morning but the skies cleared for the late afternoon and evening.

     

6:00 PM: Montemarte & the Sacré-Coeur Basilica
This was already on my list but one of our uber drivers said it was his top recommendation of things to see while in Paris for a short time. From the steps of the Sacre Coeur basilica, you get an incredible view of the city. Montemarte is an art district and you’ll find local artists, music and plenty of souvenirs.


     

8:00 PM: Eiffel Tower
The sun doesn’t set until after 9pm during the summer in Paris. We headed to the Eiffel Tower early enough to see it in the light and then enjoy the light show after dusk. We opted not to go up the tower but we did enjoy a bottle of wine with bread and cheese on one of the lawns under it. 

Overall, I enjoyed visiting Paris but I don’t know if I would spend more than a few days in the city. It certainly felt more touristy than either London or Amsterdam. Our trip was packed but I would recommend everything we were able to do to future visitors. Like I mentioned in my London blog, you should definitely pack good walking shoes and get acquainted with public transport. I liked being able to walk between places in Paris because the streets and buildings are so old, there is always something to see.


xo,

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