Je T’aime Paris

I was lucky enough to make it to Europe for the first time this Spring. I fell in love with Paris. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was walking onto a movie set with every step. The buildings are old and glamorous. Besides the business district (to which I did not venture, but could see from the Eiffel Tower), Paris does not have too many new buildings. And that is lovely. Who likes new, anyway? I’ve always been a fan of old world charm. Let me offer some Paris tips:

Eiffel Tower: CANNOT miss. For obvious reasons. But also because it’s truly a work of art. We decided to forgo the long elevator line and walk up to the second floor, saving a few Euros each, too. 669 steps! It was exhausting. But worth it. We could savor the views at every step. There’s a break at the first floor, complete with bathrooms! Unfortunately, you cannot walk all the way to the summit. Once at the second floor, you must wait in a line for the summit. This was a 45-minute wait. And supposedly, that wasn’t too long. We chose to enjoy the beautiful view from the second floor instead. Make the walking journey. It’s spectacular, plus shorter lines. Doesn’t everyone like a shorter line? And a discount? Use those muscles and walk up the Eiffel Tower. Below, there’s a picture of our feet, looking down at the ground from the first floor!

Palace of Versailles: I want to move into Versailles. It’s breathtaking. The old world glamour mixed with gorgeous antiques is something that everyone should see, whether you like old or not. The grounds are groomed perfectly and offer tram tours. This is an extra expense. Even though it was raining that day, we chose to walk the grounds. This way, you get to see everything. TIP: Make sure to follow the yellow signs to the left of the entrance before standing in the long line to get in. You must have a ticket at the entrance. You don’t want to stand in that line again! Get there early. Fifteen minutes, minimum, before it opens. There will be lots of tourist groups pushing and shoving, but that’s because they want to see all the beauty that Versailles offers. Push back!

The Louvre: The most iconic museum in the world. The Louvre lived up to its standards. The Mona Lisa, while not the most beautiful painting in the museum, is a must-see. It’s not as small as everyone says, though. When you’re at the Mona Lisa, turn around. The painting behind it is large and unbelievable. The colors are vivid. I’d say that was one of my favorites. Do not miss The Sphinx or Venus de Milo. But venture off. There’s so much to see. You have to see the popular things, of course, but there is much more. My favorite off-the-beaten track sight was the Napoleon III state apartments. It felt a little bit like Versailles. Old world charm and intricacies that just aren’t around anymore. Go anytime. It’s always crowded!

Champs-Élysées: A walkway of divine shopping. There’s a price point for everyone. Make sure to stop at Ladurée for the best macaron you’ll ever eat.

Arc de Triomphe: At the end of the Champs-Élysées (or the beginning, depending on where you start) is the iconic Arc de Triomphe. I don’t think it’s necessary to climb to the top, but I’d take lots of pictures of it. It’s unassuming, but beautiful. It’s the perfect way to begin/end a street. The U.S. should follow suit.

Notre Dame: Quite possibly my favorite place is Paris. It’s a beautiful chapel (no photos inside) with great details. The gargoyles are are an interesting sight! There’s nothing else like that. Pay the extra Euros here and walk up to the top! 327 steps. It’s worth it to see the gargoyles up close. It was a long and windy wait for us, but we just escaped the rain!

River Seine Dinner Cruise: We loved our dinner cruise on the River Seine. It began just before sunset and we ventured down the Seine toward the Eiffel Tower to enjoy the lights show. Spectacular! You must do a dinner cruise on the River Seine. Read reviews. Not all are created equal.