How to Get Around
Matt and I arrived in Paris early Sunday morning and we were both completely exhausted. It had been a long week prior with the wedding and then a long international flight, which was a first for both of us. We already had a car service prearranged to pick us up and take us to the hotel when we landed. It was nice to not have to worry about getting there especially since there were strikes going on with the metro and taxis.
When it came to getting around the city we walked a lot. Our hotel was in a great, central location so it was easy to get around on foot. (Make sure you pack really comfortable shoes!) The next method I would recommend for getting around would be the Metro. I especially recommend getting a Navigo Decouverte. This is a pass that lets you ride the metro for the whole week and it covers the lines that go out to Versailles and Disneyland.
The pass itself costs €5 and it is €21.25 to load it for a week of use. The pass is good for 10 years so definitely keep it if you think you will be heading back to Paris. As for getting the pass, you have to go to a metro station and ask for it at one of the booths with an attendant. Some of the attendants don’t speak English but we just googled the pass and showed them exactly what we were wanting.
The other options for getting around is Uber, taxis, and Velib. The Velib are bikes that you can rent around the city and you just return them to a Velib station. We would have probably used this if it was warmer when we went. We took an uber a couple times after we walked somewhere and were just too tired to walk back. Navigating around Paris was really easy if you just give yourself time to learn the area and the metro.
Where We Stayed
Our hotel was located in the 1st arrondissement, which is the most central neighborhood in Paris. It was the best location for us, especially since this was the first time for both of us in the city. We booked a room with a view of the Eiffel tower but it was so much better than that. From our balcony, we could see the Jardin des Tuileries in front of us, the Lourve and its’ pyramids, the Musee D’Orsay, and the Arc de Triomphe in the distance.
It was also really central to a lot of restaurants and has a really nice restaurant inside where Matt had the best salmon! The staff were great and helped us with everything that we needed. They also sent us some champagne and macaroons to celebrate our honeymoon. We had an amazing time here and would definitely stay again.
Where to Eat
This was defintely our favorite place we ate at in Paris. It’s a small restaurant that’s off the beaten path and you will find a mix of locals and tourists there. Matt and I both tried the escargot which was very interesting because it was in an egg roll like form. We also had the duck and the creme brulee which was incredible!
This was a cute italian restaurant in the 2nd arrondissement. Matt and I both had pasta dishes and they were delicious. I really loved the pasta with fresh mussels. I made reservations here after seeing a tip on a travel forum to make reservations your first night so you aren’t searching in an area you aren’t familiar with. This was so helpful and we will definitely be doing it again for our future travels.
Angelina was only a block or two from our hotel so we actually visited several times. We went twice just to the shop they have in the front to get hot chocolate and croissants. We visited again on one of our last days to the sit-down restaurant for brunch. It was also one of our last stops before we left for the airport
Tip: If you just want tap water at a restaurant instead of paying for sparkling or bottled just ask for une carafe d’eau
PONT ALEXANDRE III
LE MUR DES JE T’AIME
ARC DE TRIOMPHE
Tip: If you are visiting a lot of the sights and museums then you need the Museum Pass. It gets you into a lot of museums, as well as, the top of Notre Dame, the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and Versailles. You can buy the Museum Pass at the airport or any of the places that take it.
The d’Orsay (pictured above and left) is actually a train station that was converted into a museum. It is an impressive building and my second favorite museum that we visited. They have 5 floors of art work and the fifth floor is where you will find the giant clock faces you can get a picture in front of, as well as, the impressionist works.
This is an obvious one and it truly is an impressive building. It is so large, so I do recommend having a plan when you visit.
We didn’t end up making it to this museum but it is on our list for next time. If you have seen Midnight in Paris, this is the museum they are visiting with all the sculptures.
MUSEE DE L’ORANGERIE
This was my favorite museum that we visited and it was solely because it is the home of Monet’s Water Lillies. I had wanted to see this in person for so long and it exceeded my expectations. I didn’t realize how large the pieces were, which made for an incredible surprise when we walked in. We took advantage of our Museum Pass and came back to Water Lillies the morning before we left to soak it all in one last time.
Best Views of the City
TERRACE OF GALLERIES LAFAYETTE
You might be heading here to do some shopping but don’t miss the amazing view of the city from the terrace on the 7th floor. There is also a restaurant on the terrace if you want a meal with a view.
Sacre Cour sits on top of a hill in Montemarte neighborhood. It’s a little bit of a climb but you get to keep looking back at the city and see the view get better and better the higher you go. If you want to go up the furthest that you can then you will want to go to the Basillica and climb the stairs to the top of the church. These stairs are to the left and not actually inside the church itself so just be aware of that.
TOP OF THE ARC DE TRIUMPHE
This view definitely makes you feel like you are at the center of the city. You basically have a 360 view of all the roads surrounding the roundabout. The stairs to go under the roundabout to get to the Arc are to the right on the Champs Elyssess.
TOP OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
This iconic place to view the city was the only one we missed. Which was a major bummer on our last day but this is definitely on our list for our next trip to Paris.
This was our favorite day out of the whole time we were in Paris. The town itself is so cute and I told Matt several times throughout the day that I want to live there. We went on a Wednesday because I read that was one of the least busy days. We got there around 10 and there wasn’t hardly a line at all. While the palace itself was beautiful, it was the gardens where we had the most fun. We rented bikes and explored Marie Antoinette’s estate and visited with the local wildlife. I highly recommend renting bikes or if that’s too much of strain, they also have golf carts.
This is high on our list for next time. Giverny was the home of the painter, Claude Monet. He has been one of my favorite painters for a long time and after visiting the Water Lillies in the Musee D’lOrange Matt fell in love with his works too. We both want to see the gardens where he painted so many beautiful works of art.
If you’ve read here for a while you know that I love all things Disney. Matt even proposed in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. We originally planned on dedicating a day of our trip to Disneyland but we quickly realized that there was already so many things to do in Paris that we decided to save it for another trip.
Where to Shop
This is definitely the most touristy place to shop but it is also very convenient. This is the street leading up to the Arc de Triumphe lined with shops and restaurants on either side. You can find everything from a three-story Zara, Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Laudree.
Talk about impressive. The inside of this building is beautiful and has amazing shops on all 7 floors. This definitely isn’t budgeting shopping so keep this in mind if you are headed there.
SHAKESPEARE & CO.
This cute little book store is right across from Notre Dame and filled to the brim with all different kinds of books. It has been open since 1951 and a great place to get a souvenir that isn’t your typical Eiffel tower miniature. They will stamp the books you buy with the logo of the store and location. We picked up a book for a friend of ours and also bought The Little Prince for our kids one day.
What’s on Our List for Next Time
Before we even left Paris we started planning what we would do on our next visit. Paris is huge and there’s still so much we didn’t get to see or do in our week spent there. At the top of our list is go to the top of the Eiffel tower. We were supposed to go up on the last day of our trip but the security staff went on strike and the tower closed for the whole day.
After visiting the Opera house we fell in love, so next time we make it back to Paris we want to see an actual show performed there. For a different view of the city, I would love to take a riverboat dinner cruise along the Seine. Exploring more of France, in general, is also on our list. I would love to see the countryside and the coastal cities!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to Paris and what your favorite part was!