Ah Paris. I recently visited Paris for my second time. Both of my trips were quite the contrast. The first was a romantic break many years ago where I was thrilled to be exploring the city of love with my partner at the time. More recently I found myself in Paris on an extended work trip. With only a couple of days in Paris I set about seeing as much as possible in one weekend. You might recall my Paris trip got off to a rocky start when I was pick-pocketed, if not read about in this post where I share 5 tips to avoid awkward travel situations.
Now if you are in Paris for only one weekend I advise you plan exactly you want to do and see. You won’t want to be wasting time staring aimlessly at a map when you could be exploring one of the world’s prettiest cities. We had a plan. On the first day we booked a hop-on, hop-off style tour bus which allowed us to see a lot in the central Paris district. The next day we took things a little slower. Shopping fitted in naturally around the different attractions we visited.
We first went to see the Eiffel Tower on the Saturday, day 1. Arriving at the Trocadero was literally one of the most breathtaking moments of the trip as I caught my first sight of the Eiffel Tower. This is an area built on a hill opposite the Eiffel Tower with fantastic city views and lots of street entertainers. After a couple of tourist-style photographs and of course a Periscope broadcast (follow me Boop.live) we made our way down to the base of the tower.
Of course being a Saturday it was absolutely packed and we decided to head off on one of the tour buses for the rest of the day and instead arrive back early the following day to go up the tower.
This is something I would definitely recommend. There will be minimal waiting time if you arrive before the ticket offices open and then it’s just through security and up you go. The view up there is incredible. We went to the 2nd floor and you don’t need to go quite to the top if it’s just a great view you’re after. I adore the shot I captured below of the shadow of the Eiffel Tower set out against the amazing view. It’s a real once in a lifetime experience for those of us not lucky enough to live in Paris.
Notre Dame de Paris
We made a couple of stops on the tour bus that allowed us to also see the Louvre, Opera de Paris and some more sights on our way to Notre Dame cathedral. This is really quite impressive and of course we took some more obligatory selfies and had a little look around. There was quite a big line to wait to go up to the viewing point so we decided to skip that this time. After that we took a fabulous walk along the river and took in the sights of the boats that went by.
Champs-Elysees and Arc de Troimphe
Champs-Elysees is the famous shopping street in Paris which is host to many designer stores. I, of course, could not wait to make my way into Sephora where I spent up to 45 minutes browsing the huge store! You can see what I picked up in my Sephora Paris haul blog post. You are bound to see some impressive cars driving by while you shop. Next we took some more photos in front of Arc de Troimphe but again, decided against going up to the viewing point since it was starting to get late.
Sacre-Coeur & Montmartre
After taking in the view at the top of the Eiffel Tower very early on our 2nd day we made our way towards Montmartre to visit the historic Basilica de Sacre-Coeur. Sacre-Coeur basilica contrasts greatly with the structure of the Notre Dame which we visited the previous day. This landmark basilica situated up many steps at the top of a hill is another sight to behold. I really enjoyed this area of Paris and was glad we took time to stop off here during our trip. There will usually be a lot going on around the steps and entrance to the Sacre-Coeur including street performers and musicians. We went inside the cathedral and I picked up some souvenir holy gifts for family from the store inside.
After that we decided to go up to the dome at the top of the white basilica. Take heed, this is tough! There are many steps to climb in what some may find to be a claustrophobic environment. For me, it was worth every step. The panoramic views from the top of the dome were incredible and I loved being able to see the Eiffel Tower as earlier that morning I had spotted the basilica from the top of the tower.
After our adventure at the top of the dome we spent some time wandering the pretty streets of Montmartre. This is something I would definitely recommend if you are in the area. There are many cute boutiques, restaurants and street fairs and I truly enjoyed it.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you been to Paris? What is your favourite thing to do there?
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