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I decided to create this blog just after my trip to Paris, so I think this is a great way to start. This was my third time in Paris, but it was Ruben’s first visit, so my goal was to show him everything I saw on my prior trips in just two days!
We stayed in the Beauvoir Hotel (we found it using booking.com – check out more about our Traveling Tips). The hotel has a perfect location: in front of the RER B and just a couple of minutes from the Luxembourg Gardens. It was nice and clean, very basic and perfect for a weekend trip or if you plan to stay out all day! We arrived Friday night and we were exhausted, so we decided to sleep and wake up early next morning.
We woke up really early and started our day by watching the sunrise at the Luxembourg Gardens. We walked along the park and enjoyed looking at the Queens of France statues. On our way there, we had breakfast at the famous Café de Flore (click here to see the Tripadvisor reviews), which I had read about in many blogs. The story is fascinating: famous artists and writers used to love this establishment. It is a beautiful place located in a building corner. This traditional Parisian bistro ended up being a little out of our budget!
We continued our day heading to the Hôtel des Invalids also known as Musée de L’Armée. Here you can visit the Liberation Museum, which is home to Napoleon’s tomb. Very close to here is the Rodin Museum. The gardens are totally worth it, and you can see the famous Rodin’s Thinker.
We enjoy walking on our trips, so after Rodin’s Museum we went straight to the Eiffel Tower, but decided not to go up. We saved the big climb of stairs for Notre Dame, because what is a view of Paris without the Eiffel Tower? The lines were very long, so expect to wait for a while if you do decide to go up.
We arrived at the Champs of Mars and we took some pictures. We wanted a better picture with the tower as background, so we went to Trocadero. On our way there, we bought our official patch for our Paris trip (click here to see our Paris patch). In Trocadero you can also visit the Architecture Museum.
We continued our journey to the Arc of Triumph of the Star (the famous one! There are two in Paris!) It started snowing that day, so we had lunch and waited until it stopped. We ate in a very beautiful and nice restaurant: Le Coq (click here to see the Tripadvisor reviews about this restaurant). The prices are fine considering that food in Paris is really expensive.
After lunch, we continued our way to the Arc, which is one of the axes of Paris. This makes it very easy to find and to continue on to the next monument. We took Champs-Elysées Street, one of the most popular boulevards in Paris, where you can find all the famous stores from renowned designers.
We really enjoyed walking through Champs-Elysées. Our next goal was to get to the Louvre Museum. Before arriving you can see Grand Palais, Petite Palais and the most beautiful bridge that connects them: the Alexander III Bridge. Continuing our visit, we walked until we saw the Obelisk, located in La Concorde square. Just in front you can find The Orsay Museum. There is not much time to enter and explore in a short trip, but I highly recommend it.
Once you pass the museum you will enter the Tuileries Gardens. If you walk through these sand gardens, you will find the Carousel Arc, with the Louvre Museum just behind it. It is an impressive mix of architecture: the traditional neo-classical Parisian architecture meets the contemporary movement.
We arrived at the Louvre at 15:30, and it wasn’t that crowded. Because it is a really big museum, we decided to just visit the main points: Mona Lisa, Victoria of Samotracia and Venus of Milo.
After we exited, we looked for the closest subway station, which was the Palais Royale stop and then took the subway to Abesses. Once you leave the underground, you can walk 5 minutes until you see the stairs that will guide you to Sacre Coeur. I recommend this stop to be one of the last ones of the day, so you can enjoy the sunset with a view of the city.
Sacre Coeur is a beautiful church from the XIX century. I encourage you to take the stairs to go up and then take the funicular to go down! The walk up is absolutely gorgeous. Once you are up, you cannot miss the walk around Montmartre, the artist’s square where you can have a delicious crepe. The vibe of this area is a very enjoyable one. You can then take the subway to Blanche and enjoy Pigalle square, where you can see Moulin Rouge (click here to see Tripadvisor reviews and ticket prices). Tickets are very expensive, however! When you take the subway, pay attention to the entrances, where there are icons of the cities called Art Nouveau pieces .
We took the subway again because it was cold, so that we could get to Centre Pompidou: the museum of contemporary art. The building is truly special with all of the different exhibitions. You can take the stairs that complete the facade of the building to get to every showroom. Ruben is not a big fan, so we took a quick tour and went to the last floor, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Paris and have a drink or something to eat. In true Paris fashion, this place is also not very cheap!
After the Pompidou, we had a quick bite (to stay within our budget) for dinner and headed to the hotel so we could get some sleep and be ready for an exhausting day two!
Woww! After getting to know a lot of places and monuments in just one day, our goal was to do the same on the second day! We woke up early again and started our walk to our first destination: Paris Pantheon. On our way there, we had breakfast in a gorgeous cafe called Le Soufflot (click here to see Tripadvisor reviews): nice and cheap! After our traumatic and expensive first day breakfast, we wanted something better and cheaper! For € 6, 50 we had orange juice, coffee or chocolate, bread with butter and jam and a croissant.
After breakfast we were the first in line (opening at 10 am) for the Pantheon, where we stayed for a while and visited the catacombs. Here you can find Revolution personalities mausoleum such as Voltaire and Rousseau.
We then walked 15 minutes to Notre Dame Cathedral, which Ruben was really excited to visit. There wasn’t a long line to enter but it was very crowded inside. After visiting the interior, we headed outside to start the half an hour line to go to the top. It was cold, but after seeing the view from the top, it was totally worth it! You can see and identify all monuments in Paris from here.
Really close to Notre Dame is Saint Chapelle, a beautiful church with stained glass, and just 5 minutes away is the Concergerie where they kept Marie Antoniette as a prisoner after the 1789 revolution.
Once we finished walking the Concergerie it was time to have lunch! We went to the famous Le Relais de L’Entrecôte (click here to see the Tripadvisor reviews), more or less an all you can eat meat place, close to the Defense metro station. It is usually crowded, so you may have to wait for a while to be seated.
After lunch we returned to the hotel, grabbed our backpacks, took the RER just across the street and for a fee of 12 euros, we got to the Orly airport.
It was such a nice trip! If you follow these tips, be ready to walk a lot and have a great time in my favorite city: Paris!
Pictures credit to Ruben A. Hidalgo.
If you need some extra help planning your trip, this Travel Guide is really helpful! – Lonely Planet Paris – Travel Guide
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