Paris. This city is destined to capture the hearts of anyone and everyone who sets foot in her world. Berty and I were extremely lucky to have the opportunity to stay in Europe, even for just a weekend! Berty was on an assignment here to shoot a beautiful elopement. When he wasn’t busy working, we madly ran around to as much of the city as we possibly could. Before we arrived, we purchased a pass called The Paris Pass, which allows you to enter most of Paris’ main attractions for free! To get our money’s worth, we spent from sun up to sundown seeing everything we could. I feel like we covered a lot of ground in our 72 hours in Paris. In this post, we’re sharing our top 10 favorite locations that everyone needs to see on their trip to Paris!
1. Eiffel Tower (at Palais De Chaillot)
In our three days here, we actually ended up seeing the Eiffel Tower three separate times! Each visit was a new experience, and our sunrise trip was one of our favorites. If you want a similar experience, we suggest seeing the tower from across the Seine River, on the stairs of the Jardins du Trocadéro, and GO EARLY! This shot was taken around 8am (but it was the middle of January) and we basically had the gardens to ourselves!
2. Musée d’Orsay Clock
First of all, this building is known for its impressionist painting collection, as well as famous artists like Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh. Regarding some snap-worthy pics, there are actually two gorgeous clocks at the Musée d’Orsay. The first sits at the front of the large main hall. The second acts as a window with a view directly out to the Sacré-Coeur on top of a hill! I didn’t get any pictures of the second because people kept walking in front of our picture (crowds, right?) but I’ve linked it here because it’s DEFINITELY worth seeing!
3. Notre Dame
This building is one of the (if not THE) best examples of French Gothic architecture today. It’s a stunner from all angles, day and night. We learned that Napoleon was coronated inside too! We suggest going in the evening when the crowds die down. Or in January when there’s hardly any crowd at all! 😉
4. The Louvre
The Louvre Museum is a must-see on any Paris visit. Its perfect blend of modern prisms on the exterior and gold-plated walls on the interior show the harmony of history coming together with the modern day. Make sure to get photos next to the outside central pyramid, as well as next to your favorite artifacts inside. (Favorites: Mona Lisa, Egyptian artifacts, and countless marble statues)
5. Stained-Glass Windows of Saint Chapelle
This really blew our minds. Saint Chapelle might seem like just another French church, especially with its big brother Notre Dame being only a few blocks away. However, when Berty and I learned the significance of Saint Chapelle’s stained-glass windows, it put this church in a whole other category of awesome. Fifteen floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows each tell a separate story within the pictures they display. Best time to go: when the daylight is shining through the glass!
6. Inside of a Macaron Shop
You won’t have to look far to find a macaron or pastry shop. The most well-known patisserie would be Ladurée but the city is overflowing with buttery pastries and sweet treats. Make sure to grab a few and eat them under the Eiffel Tower or along the Seine River! The one shown above was a place called Monsieur Benjamin in the Les Halles neighborhood.
7. Palais Garnier
The whole way through Palais Garnier I was channeling my inner Christine Daaé in hopes that I would see the Phantom. This opera house inspired the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber in creating the Phantom of the Opera, all inclusive with a free-falling chandelier. (Which actually happened here!!) If you are into opera music, I would recommend taking a guided tour to get the most out of this historic building. Make sure to take a picture of the fabulous ballroom and grand staircase too!
8. Down Any Narrow Street
One of the first things Berty and I did when arriving in Paris was stroll up and down the city streets. You will see sidewalk cafes with colorful rattan bistro chairs out front. Cute storefronts will be baking bread or selling artisan trinkets. We arrived in late January, but I expect that in the summertime there would be flowers blooming on windowsills and colors everywhere. There is no such thing as an ugly street in Paris (at least from what we saw!) so get walking!
9. Arc De Triomphe (Below and up top)
The Arc de Triomphe sits in the middle of a 12 intersection roundabout. Because the street is super busy, you can only access the monument through an underground tunnel. Once you emerge from below, you are up close and personal with the stunning detail and architecture. If you choose to climb up the 15-story winding staircase, you are able to see the whole city with a 360 degree view. We loved coming here; it’s a must-see!
10. Bridges over the River Seine
Our last evening in Paris consisted of taking a boat tour up and down the River Seine. Most of Paris’ iconic locations can be seen from this river, and it was a good way to get a good idea of where everything was in location to one another. As we cruised, we went under several bridges – Pont Alexandre III being the most ornate and expensive of them all. Make a point to stop and visit your favorite, and get a good view of the sunset!
What are some of your favorite destinations in Paris?
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Thanks for reading!
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