Paris – A First Timer’s GuideFrance
Paris…. No matter how many times I return, I just never get enough. There is something magical about this city and every time I visit, it takes another piece of my heart <3
Paris is a big city which means it can be overwhelming when it comes to deciding what and where to go first, so I hope I can help simplify your stay in Paris with a few tips and tricks that I have picked up over time in the city of LOVE…
EIFFEL TOWER – DAY TIME
In my opinion, the main attraction (and my favourite) which makes it a great place to start your Paris experience. And when I say start, I really mean start your day here… early! The lines, especially in peak season can be incredibly long so it’s best to get there from 8am onwards to make sure you don’t waste your entire day in a line that would challenge the height of the tower if it were vertical! Or better yet, pre-book your tickets online and you can skip the queue altogether. But no matter how long it takes you to get through those gates its very much worth it! The views are incredible from all three floors and it will really give you a sense for how big & beautiful this city is.
EIFFEL TOWER – NIGHT TIME
If you think this incredible landmark is great in the daylight, just wait till the sun goes down. At sundown, the tower will light up and sparkle with delight for 5 minutes, on the hour every hour. It’s an amazing site to see and well worth getting a good vantage spot to watch it in all it’s glory.
TIP: Although there are plenty of places to view the light show, one of my favourites would be Trocadero viewing platform. Here you will get an un-interrupted view of the tower and if your feeling peckish, there is always a bunch of street food trucks that do a mean crepe!
ARC DE TRIUMPH
The Arc De Triumph is one of my favourite landmarks. Positioned, on one of the craziest roundabouts in the world, this beautiful structure is just something else. You can make your way across via the underground tunnel to get up close and personal look and if you are feeling adventurous, I very much recommend a climb to the top! It’s only about 8 Euros for an adult ticket but be prepared though, it’s a tight squeeze up the 254 steps but the views of the dozen avenues from the viewing platform will not disappoint.
This is the quintessential Parisian village and I just adore walking around with no purpose and and taking it all in. There are plenty of incredible cafes to grab a bite to eat in and don’t miss the art markets which showcase all the local artists work.
AVENUE DES CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES
It wouldn’t be a trip to Paris without a stroll down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées – here you will find some great shopping which caters for all budgets and why not stop at one of the many restaurants or cafe’s along the way for a bite to eat. And speaking of food – if you are a fan of macarons & pastries the famous Ladurée store is a must! The serve breakfast, lunch and dinner but their macarons are what what gives them their name… Bon Appetite!
TIP: Don’t forget to turn around and take a look at the Arc De Triumph – if you happen to cross the road at the set of lights (which I recommend!) take a moment to snap a photo – you won’t get a better spot to view this stunning landmark.
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, also known as the Sacré-Cœur. Another stunning landmark and well worth the bus or metro ride to get to. If you are after some incredible views of Paris and aren’t afraid of the 270 VERY narrow steps it takes to get up the top, I highly recommend purchasing a ticket and exploring the Basilica from above. It ain’t for the faint hearted, but well worth the effort!
The iconic Parisian cabaret show and the original birthplace of the “can-can”. The show runs daily and is most definitely worth a watch, but if cabaret’s aren’t your sort of thing, it’s still worth taking the time to check out the landmark itself and getting a photo out the front of the iconic red windmill.
PONT ALEXANDRE III
This has got to be my most favourite bridge in the entire world. The design details are stunning and the views you can get of the Eiffel Tower aren’t too shabby either. It’s just so damn pretty to capture and the intricate design of the bridge just screams Paris. Always worth a stroll along the Seine to view, what I believe, is one of Paris’s most beautiful landmarks.
NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS
Also known as the Notre-Dame Cathedral and one of the finest in Parisian gothic structures that Paris has to offer. You can purchase tickets to go inside of the cathedral or even climb to the top but if this is what you fancy, make sure you get there early to jump in-line, otherwise you may waste most of your day queuing up with fellow tourists. I personally just love to stand out the front and take photos of the incredible architecture.
After you have had the pleasure of seeing the Notre-Dame, make the time to hang around the Latin Quarter. From cute little restaurants to souvenir shopping, this colourful part of town has something for everyone. Be sure to re-visit at night as the atmosphere is electric with cafe’s, bars and clubs all open for business.
LOVE LOCK BRIDGE – aka Pont des Arts
No matter who, with or why you travel to Paris for, make some time to stop and take in the Love Lock Bridge – located just upstream from the Notre-Dame, the city of love comes into full effect once you step on to this bridge. The locks symbolise tourists professing their love for the city and/ore one another. It’s romantic and a beauty to see. Take a stroll along the bridge and just enjoy the love you feel all around you <3
Unfortunately I have just found out that the Paris City Council have since removed the nearly one million “love locks” (sad face). What is for couples a harmless act of passion is for city authorities a potentially dangerous headache. Last year police hurriedly ushered tourists off the Pont des Arts when a section of the footbridge collapsed under the weight of the locks covering the 155-metre-long bridge. So unfortunately the pics below will just have to suffice if you didn;t get the change to see the locks prior to the removal…
Iconic for many reasons, The Louvre or the Louvre Museum is the world’s largest museum and a historic monument in Paris. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the right bank of the Seine and it’s really a sight to be seen, above and below ground.
TIP: Don’t waste your day lining up aboveground – there is an entrance where the tour buses pull in and out of from below, so follow these signs and you will find a sneaky little entrance below ground which will literally save you half a day of queuing up for tickets.
And a bonus tip…
SEINE RIVER CRUISE
When in Paris, I recommend jumping on a Seine River cruise at some stage during your stay. There is an abundance of companies that run them from all different locations along the river but I just think it’s a great way to see the sights of the city from another perspective. Some guided tours, hop-on and hop-off bus companies and even Eiffel Tower tickets include a river cruise admission, so if this is the case with your ticket, definitely take up the offer! Plus it’s a great way to give your poor feet a rest from all the walking you probably will/have done around the city!
Well I do hope this gives you a quick guide as to where and what to do in this beautiful city!
And like always, if you have any tips of your own for Paris, please comment below as we can NEVER have enough travel tips!
Enjoy and happy wandering!