Paris is an amazingly beautiful city. Full of life and so romantic. We loved every moment of our stay. There is nothing much which could be said about Paris which hasn’t been said before.
People say that you cannot explore any place completely even in a lifetime. This is especially true for most major cities around the world and Paris is no exception. Rather I would say Paris might be even more difficult to be taken in its entirety. But most of us including me want to experience much in our single lifetime and might not stay in Paris for more than few days or weeks. However, the more time you spend here the better. Even if you just want to skim the surface and just take in the highlights, we would suggest no less than 3 full days.
Building from our experiences, we have created 3 day outline packed with our favorites for Paris. Do keep in mind this is like a highlight of the highlight of city. So here goes Paris in 3 days.
Start you trip with my favorite spot in Paris the Notre Dame Cathedral. This gothic style cathedral is just so beautiful both from outside and from inside. You might have to wait in queue to go inside (which is free) and to go on the top of the cathedral (which has a fee). The view from the top is incredible as it also include the Eiffel tower. I always spend some time on the rear side of the cathedral. This side is not only gorgeous, but also include Pont de l’Archevêché which is covered in love padlocks and you may have the best ice cream in Paris nearby.
Paris has one of the largest offering of museums around the city. As you have limited time in 3 days, choose the museums based on your interest. We would suggest to spend this afternoon at Musee d’Orsay. In addition to holding a large collection of French art, the building itself is so unique. The erstwhile station converted to a museum presents one-of-a-kind proposition.
Finally this evening about an hour before sunset head to Eiffel tower. We found this to be the best time to visit the tower as we got an opportunity to have views of the city both during the daylight and in the dark of night with an amazing sunset separating the two. It would be crowded this time of the day, but it is always crowded at Eiffel. Only way to avoid the crowd is either take stairs or come here in early morning. But what is the fun in that, right?
The perfect way to start your second day is to visit the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. This Roman Catholic Church is set on top of a hill (highest point in Paris) and has amazing views of the city from the top. But more than the views from here, we loved the beautiful white church and the setting itself. To get to the top, we climbed the multiple flights of stairs rather than taking the funicular. Even in the morning we found some musicians playing wonderful tunes on the stairs. The atmosphere is so laid back here. May be something to do with the bohemian life around this area where artists like Salvador Dali thrived. You would still find many artists in the square right behind the church. Montmartre is right next to the red-light district of Pigalle, but that trip is for the evening some time.
Afternoon and evening:
If you are only visiting Paris in France, you cannot complete your trip without visiting one of the French palaces. And the palace of Versailles is perhaps the best option nearby. We took the RER service to reach the palace. Reminiscent of the grandeur of French royal life could be still felt even from the outside view of the palace. Go for the palace tour to experience the opulent lifestyles and the famous hall of mirrors. For us the gardens of the palace were more interesting than the palace itself. You wouldn’t find such finely manicured gardens at many places. The gardens are huge and extend as far as we could see. You could have a picnic here or just relax.
One of the nights in Paris, go for the river cruise over Seine. This very touristy hour long trip would give you a unique view of the city. We found the night cruise to be timed best as it gave us beautiful sights of the city of light. And if you get on the right cruise you would pass the Eiffel tour at the stroke of the hour when the tower sparkles with multitudes of lights creating an amazing spectacle.
Spend this morning admiring the beautiful stained glass work at Saint Chapelle. Again there might be long queues so brace for that. This chapel is close to Notre Dame so you may club these together if you have time on same day. Then you might go to Pantheon.
The afternoon is dedicated to the world of art at Louvre. Again this museum is enormous. Once I spend two complete days to cover the museum end-to-end and even then I believe I didn’t do justice to all the artifacts. So, best way is to prepare upfront and identify the collections you would enjoy most before heading out. We loved the French and Italian paintings, the Greek and Roman sculptures and the Egyptian collection. But each person has their own favorites. In addition to the vast collections, the building housing them is in itself a beautiful royal palace.
On any evening you find time, head to Marais and to Champ de Elysees for some high end shopping experience. Depending on the budget you may buy something or just enjoy the window shopping experience.
Spend your last night in Paris near Eiffel. Pack a picnic dinner, some sandwiches, French bread and bottle of wine. Head to Champ de Mars and have a picnic overlooking the Eiffel tower at night. What better way to create a memory? Do keep in mind depending on the time of the year you may have more company than you would like. Alternatively go for picnic at any one of the many beautiful gardens in Paris.
Do remember that the time and the day for these experiences is purely our choice but it would vary upon the individual tastes. And as with any schedule the weather and the particular time of the year play a major role in what you end up doing on those days. When we visited Paris last, we were greeted with overcast sky and light drizzle. All plans were changed but what can you do against nature than just to enjoy what comes.
Planning a trip to Paris and have questions regarding any of these destinations? Or need help building an itinerary? Contact us. We will assist you in creating your dream holidays.
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