I was pretty excited when I first decided to squeeze Paris into my European tour. I was having second thoughts about it because everyone said that it was really expensive. When your traveling on a budget, you can’t do a lot of expensive things. However, after some thinking, I decided to do a two night stop over on my way to Portugal.
When I arrived to Paris in mid afternoon from Hamburg, I was confronted on the bus by a man who was the rudest person I have ever met in all of my travels. He was this big, angry man that cussed me out because I said “excuse me” trying to walk past him on the back on the bus. After shaking that off, I made my way to the metro line to get to my hostel. There, I was nudged and bombarded with people not even saying “excuse me” as they walked by.
Welcome to the rudest city in world!!!
Once I got into the downtown, I realized that Paris was actually really dirty and gross. There was tons of homeless people on the streets, and even more people trying to sell you little souvenirs. Sometimes, you couldn’t even barely walk down the sidewalk to the Eiffel Tower because there was so many people on the ground. I understand that is how a city is, but for as posh as Paris is made up to be, it was defiantly not what I was expecting.
Minus all the trash and street people, the Eiffel tower at night is defiantly a must see! If you go directly in front of the Tower, facing the bridge, there is a tiny section in the middle of the road where 1-2 people can stand to get some really good shots! There is a light show that goes on at night on the Tower, but, it only went off once in the hour I was there. After a couple good pictures, I headed back to my hostel. The following morning I knew I had some ground to cover. I woke up super early and headed back to the Eiffel Tower for some day time shots.
Tip: If you don’t want the sun to ruin your day time Eiffel Tower picture, then I would head behind her early in the morning. If you take the bridge across to Place du Trocadero and turn around, the sun will be directly in your face. I would advise you to go behind the Eiffel Tower, along Avenue Joseph Bouvard to get the best picture.
After I got plenty of pictures of the Eiffel Tower, I walked to Arc de Triomphe. This is the craziest round-a-bout I have ever seen topped off with tons of tourist trying to cross at every point just to get to the middle. I found myself walking around the outside of the circle and getting directly in front of it was the best option. Here, there is a small cross walk where about 3-4 people can stand and take pictures while traffic is zooming by you. This seemed the safest way.
After dodging traffic, I headed to the Grand Palace. I remember I was confused on why this place was so popular. I really wasn’t amused walking around this, so if I was you, I would cross it off your list.
From this point, I took the bridge across to head for the Museum of Contemporary History. The walkway to the museum is really nice. The gardening and plants make it beautiful, however, I didn’t want to pay the fee to go inside. If your into war museums, than I would definitely give this place a stop.
Next, I headed over to Place de la Concorde. This was just a Ferris wheel and a fountain, Nothing special. It’s the main square in Paris. I didn’t understand why this was a top 10 sites to see. I guess I just found myself bored with it and thought it was nothing special.
My next stop was the famous Louvre landmark. The world’s largest Museum in the world. It was just like I pictured it to be. Beautiful, crowded, and way bigger than I thought. The complex itself is pretty large, so there will be plenty of space for you to get your picture perfect shot! You can buy your tickets online and pick a time to enter the museum if you would like. This seems like the best way to go about getting inside. General ticketing is €17,00.
After roaming around the museum’s grounds for a little bit, I decided to head over to Notre Dame Cathedral. This medieval Catholic church is open every day of the year and the admission is free! I suggest walking all around the outside to see the beauty of this monument. I also really liked the location, simply because it sets right off of the La Seine River that runs through Paris.
My last and final stop of the day was Sacre-Coeur Basilica. This is known as the sacred heart of Paris. And I will say, this place is so pretty, I could spend all day roaming around and people watching. Directly in front of church, there is a huge grass area to enjoy a snack or just take a seat and relax. If you chose to go up this way, there are a handful of stairs to reach the top. If stairs aren’t your thing, I suggest you go to the back side of the church. Here you will see some nice little walkways that are up hill and lead you straight up the back. From there, you can make your way down to the front side.
After walking pretty much all of Paris, I was worn out. I headed back to my hostel to pack my bags. Paris has two airports. The main one located north of the city (Charles de Gaulle Airport CDG) and the one located south of the city (Orly Airport, ORY). Most smaller and domestic airlines fly into ORY, which is where I flew out of. The cheapest way to get to and from the airport without spending $50 is to use the Orlybus. There are tons of options, but after much research, this is the best and the cheapest. If you’re coming from the city to the airport, the pickup stop is at Denfert-Rochereau metro station. You will see the signs and the big busses lined up on the street. You can also purchased your tickets, €8,00 when you arrive, right outside on the street in front of the buses. This is also where you will get dropped off coming from the airport.
Once you arrive in Paris you will have the option to buy a metro booklet. A one way ticket is €1.90 and a booklet of 10 is €14.50. A single ticket will take you anywhere in the city on the RER or metro and also allow you transfer between lines. Booklets and one way tickets can be purchased at any of the machines right before the gates at all metro locations. They excpet coins, bills, and credit cards. They also have a tourist travel pass option for one, two, three, or five days. Since I was there for 2 days, I purchased the booklet because I was short on time and it’s the chepaest and best option. I ended up only using 8 tickets in my 2 nights. If you have more time, Paris is best seen on foot. So bring comfortable shoes!!