Hello Paris!! Paris has been on my bucket list for several years now, and the moment Jack rang me and asked how I felt about spending the weekend in Paris to go to The Ryder Cup couldn’t of made me more excited. We instantly begun planning our trip that evening and decided to extend our trip to make sure we had plenty of time to explore Paris as well as enjoy the golf event. Here’s what we got up to:
Stop 1: Arc De Triomphe
Prior to our trip we booked tickets to climb the Arc De Trimpohe via the tour provider, Viator. The tickets were very reasonably priced at £10.75 each. The spiral staircase takes roughly ten minutes in total to climb which doesn’t sound like very long but I must admit it did make my head spin a little by the time we reached the top; totally worth it, with sweeping city views of Paris.
Stop 2: The Louvre
After leaving the Arc De Triomphe we decided to wander down the Champs-Elysées heading towards The Louvre. We pre-booked tickets, but decided we wanted to arrive a little earlier to take in the spectacular view of the pyramid courtyard. The Louvre is considered the world’s greatest art museum and now exhibits 73,000 sq. m of Western Artworks from the Middle Ages, alongside being home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
Before heading to Paris we had heard so many stories about how small The Mona Lisa was, how bad the crowds were etc. but I must admit I was still very intrigued to see the Mona Lisa up close and personal. As you begin to make your way around The Louvre you will see several picture signs pointing you in the correct direction of The Mona Lisa. I would say she is roughly A2 size but has an entire wall to herself. The crowds are mega, 20 deep at least! I took the plunge and worked my way to front to get a good view. Jack decided he would admire her from a far.
For reference as you enter the Pyramid of The Lovure, The Mona Lisa is located via The Porte Des Lions entrance, heading upstairs following the long gallery. I must admit although it was pretty cool to see The Mona Lisa, The Louvre honestly has so much more to offer. The sheer scale of The Louvre could lead you to spending hours wandering its corridors. Both Jack and I loved the sculpture galleries and were highly recommend checking them out if you decide to visit.
Stop 3: Montmartre // Sacre Cœur & Moulin Rouge
After wandering around The Louvre we hoped on the Metro (which is surprisingly easy to navigate) and headed over the Montmartre taking advantage of the evening light. We had actually decided to head this way as we had bookmarked a restaurant nearby that had been recommended to us and decided to take the opportunity to check our the famous Sacre Cœur and Moulin Rouge.
Stop 4: Dinner at Le Maison Rose
After wandering the cobblestone streets we headed to Le Maison Rose for our dinner reservations. Heading down Place Dalida will take you to the intersection of Girardon and Rue Abreuvoir to Le Maison Rose; an #InstraFamous location, known as the “pink house”. Somewhere I had pinned before our trip but also been recommended. Perfect for a cute photo opp but also serves incredibly yummy food.
Stop 1: Eiffel Tower // Daytime
As I knew this was going to be our only full day in Paris before The Ryder Cup started the next day we decided to get up bright and early and take advantage of the time we had to visit as many places as we could. We began our day by checking out the Eiffel Tower! If you are after a good photo opp here are a few suggestions based on our experience, the view from Pont de Bir-Hakeim and also the view from Rue Benjamin Franklin.
Stop 2: Musee D’Orsay
Although we headed to The Louvre the previous day we had heard lots of good things about the Musee D’Orsay and I must admit both Jack and I much preferred the Musee D’Orsay to The Louvre. Even down to the atmosphere. The Van Gogh exhibit is well worth checking out and completely fascinating also.
Stop 3: Notre Dame
Next we headed over to the famous Notre Dame, and wow its such a beautiful cathedral packed with history. We had intended on taking the climb to the top of the towers but once we entered we spotted an exhibition showcasing some of the crown jewels. As we were heading to the Montparnasse Observatory Tower next we decided it would be a nice alternative and on review I can say it was worth seeing. Some of the gems are pretty spectacular.
Note: If you do wish the climb the towers the stairs are actually located outside of the cathedral, on the left hand side of the building. Although the cathedral is free to enter if you wish the climb the towers a 10 Euro fee each will apply. Or, if you decide as we did to check out the exhibition of the jewels then a 5 Euro fee each will apply.
Stop 4: Montparnasse Observatory Tower
A little like going up the Rockefeller Centre in New York, the Montparnasse Observatory Tower has 360 views of Paris, a 210 meter office skyscraper constructed between 1969 to 1973, and was the tallest skyscraper in France until 2011. The observatory deck has one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower.
Stop 5: Pont Des Arts // Love Lock Bridge
Before venturing to our dinner reservations we decided to head to the Pont Des Arts Bridge, also known as the Paris Love Lock Bridge to watch the sunset. Formally covered in 1000s of lovelocks attached by couples as symbol of their relationship. Unfortunately in 2010 due to the extreme weight Paris City officials decided to remove the lovelocks to preserve the bridge. Although over time visitors have begun to re-attach lovelocks to the lampposts in a continued effort to keep the lovelock tradition alive.
Stop 5: Galleries Lafayette
An up market French department store, with a twist! Not only is Galleries Lafayette home to the largest shoe department in the world, head to the seventh floor to find a free viewing observatory deck on the roof with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower.
Stop 6: Dinner at Le Chenin
Just around the corner from Galleries Lafayette is a charming little restaurant called Le Chenin with roughly 20 seats; so get this – there’s no set menu. It changes everyday depending on how the chef is feeling and what ingredients they have ordered. Written on two chalkboards you have a selection of three starters, mains and deserts to choose from. The restaurant itself is so personable. The owner himself served us and translated everything in English (he could see we were struggling) and also gave us some great recommendations. Honestly the most delicious meal we had throughout our whole trip.
Stop 8: Eiffel Tower // Evening
Our last stop of the evening was back at the Eiffel Tower for our night time tour. Our guide was very informative and made the whole experience very memorable. We booked our trip prior to our visit through City Wonders. After having such a good experience with them in Rome we decided they would be the perfect choice for our Eiffel Tower tour.
Seeing the light show up close and personal was worth staying out late for. Although heights don’t bother me, Jack has a real phobia of them but braved it for me. Saying this, even I found the elevator experience a little tense. Completely worth it for the views; Paris is simply stunning at night time.
Note: The last light show is at 1AM, and worth staying out to see. All the orange lights turn off, leaving just the sparkly white ones.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
The queues can be massive for most of the popular tourist attractions so it is a good idea to pre-book prior to your visit. This will save you lots of time and ensure you get to do everything you planned. We tried to book most things beforehand but we ended up waiting for roughly 45 minutes to get into the Musee D’Orsay.
WEAR SENSIBLE SHOES
Spending the day sightseeing involves a lot of walking! I highly suggest bringing a good trusty pair of shoes. I decided to get a new pair of converse before the trip and that was a huge mistake, I ended up with a massive blister after the first day.
WHAT TO KNOW IF VISITING FOR THE FIRST TIME
The language barrier is real. Unlike most other western European countries such as Belgium where almost everyone speaks fluent English many people in France do not. Most French people may speak a few words but we actually found that regardless of whether they did or did not speak fluent English there was a real appreciation if you tried to speak in their native tongue. Saying this, I must admit my French is appalling, Jack is a little more fluent than I am; regardless of the situation we didn’t generally experience too much difficulty.
It is worth noting that many restaurants are closed on Sundays and Mondays. So depending on your travel plans its worth factoring in that maybe a mid-week trip would be better suited rather than a weekend trip.