Tourist Guide: Paris Must See List
Since I was little I had always dreamed of going to Paris, France. I had Effile Tower décor and posters hung around my room constantly reminding me of how badly I wanted to see the Eiffel Tower in person. My Aunt Jo had inspired me after hearing all about her trip and I knew one day my dream would come true. NEVER in a million years would I think I would be able go at 20 years old while still in college. The entire trip was a real life fantasy with everything being more perfect than I could have ever imagined. When I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time I realized my passion for traveling and how big the world truly is. Since this trip was very special to me I wanted it to be one of the first trips I break down on my blog. My mom is the best planner and helped us see everything we wanted in a short amount of time. The best part about visiting in the summer is the sun doesn’t set until around 10pm so you have so much extra daylight to cram everything in, plus it helps in tricking your body to keep moving. Im not gonna lie, we did a lot of touristy things but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I wanted to highlight some of the best parts because these memories are so special to me.
1. Palace of Versailles:
One thing that is very important to me when traveling is knowing the culture and history before hand. I had taken an AP European History Class in high school and fell in love with the subject. When I went to the Palace of Versailles I was truly blown away. It felt unreal walking into each room that I had learned about in class. Nothing prepared me for the absolute awe I would feel when I walked into the garden.
The garden truly speaks for itself. Stunning. It was breathtaking walking around and taking it all in. It was so vast that it would take hours to see it all. We were on a tight time schedule that day so we were not able to rent bikes which would have really helped in covering the whole grounds in a shorter amount of time. That has been added to my bucket list because the garden was too beautiful not to visit again.
Funny story, Ellie and I had taken so many film pictures while in Paris. When we got home it was nowhere to be found and we were devastated. Over a year later we found a random roll of film in my closet, we got it developed and all of our Paris pictures surprised us! This was so amazing seeing them over a year later, especially after thinking they were gone forever.
Advice: When we went to the Palace of Versailles it was absolutely packed. Obviously with the pandemic there are different safety precautions in place but make sure to research days that are less busy. I did begin to feel claustrophobic in some of the rooms. We had a tour guide which helped highlight the importance of each room and the rich history behind it. Tour guides always make the experience better as they share details quickly and easily and are a wealth of information.
Visiting Montmartre was one of my favorite days in Paris. It was cloudy and the weather was amazing. We started at the top of the hill where the Sacre Coeur Basilica is and admired the breathtaking view. We felt like exploring with no set plan so we walked down the hill and into town.
On our walk we found so many hidden gems. Walking through the streets felt straight out of a fairytale. The buildings were stunning with vines growing on them and they covered both sides of the streets. It’s known to be an area where artists hang out and there were so many cute shops featuring the artwork. Ellie and I each bought pictures to frame for our rooms.
We found a park with the carousal where we sat for a break trying to believe we were actually there.
Shortly after our adventurous walk we called a taxi and went to my absolute favorite restaurant!! I will give more details in my next Paris Blog post. My favorite restaurant of all time!!
3. Arc de Triomphe:
The mixed emotions I have about the Arc de Triomphe are real. On this particular day we had walked around 10 miles exploring. The Arc de Triomphe is at the end of the Champs-Elysees, which is a 2 mile stretch of high end designer stores. Think Rodeo drive on steroids! We had prepurchased tickets to go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe later that day. I’m not going to lie the stairs going up to the top were brutal, especially since we were expecting an elevator, lol. You figure it was built in the early 1800’s and was a very condensed spiral staircase with 284 steps. You had to literally keep putting one foot in front of the other as there were people behind you and nowhere to move to the side to take a break. We were all completely sore and exhausted by the time we got to the top but it was on 1000% worth it. As I was walking up the stairs I truly thought it was going to never end. Being able to see Paris from that viewpoint was completely surreal. The urban landscape is so unique and seeing the different arrondissements from birds eye view was INSANE.
However I do have a deathly fear of heights so I could not get too close to the edge without having a panic attack.
4. Eiffel Tower DUHH:
When we first got to our hotel we walked immediately to the Eiffel tower. We had traveled by plane to London, by cab to the train staion, by train to Paris, and then by cab to our hotel. We were jet lagged and starving but seeing it in person was absolutely the best feeling EVER. It was stunning but I had no idea how much prettier it could be at night.
We had prepurchased tickets to go to the top which I was already very nervous about. It has been on my bucket list to go to the top but I was scared to ride the elevator and be looking down at such a high elevation. It’s actually really funny. We got in a line for prepurchased tickets and waited quite some time only to realize at the security checkpoint that we were in the wrong spot. Our actual tour guide had already taken our group up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and he had our tickets. There was nothing they could do for us. At first we were disappointed but I felt relieved knowing I would not have to confront my fear of heights again. We ended up sitting on a bench under the Eiffel Tower to watch the sunset. When the lights started flickering on the Eiffel Tower my mom, sister and I got teary-eyed watching how beautiful it was. We realized we were not meant to see it from the top but from the perfect bench spot right at the base. We stayed there for over an hour gazing up at the glowing Tower embracing how fortunate we felt. The memories we made at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower were more special than what would’ve happened at the top and I’m very grateful for that!
5. Louvre Museum:
On one of our last days we had a short amount of time but knew we had to complete our tourist bucket list. The Louvre Museum was closed that day so traffic was minimal outside. It began to rain as we got there but instead of being upset that it was raining we danced around with our umbrellas admiring how gorgeous the buildings were. If I go back to Paris I will definitely want to go inside but our time was cut too short. Even if you don’t have a chance to go inside I think visiting the outside is so important and so fun!!