It’s a love that never dies.
So I fell in love with Paris in 2013 and have never looked back, she is my one true love and sometimes people don’t get to see the real beauty. Well, I have written below all the things that I would do and see if I were to take someone around Paris, who has never seen her the way my eyes do. Please do have a read and let me know when you fall in love the same way I did.
Palais Garnier: This is my all-time favourite building to go and visit, it is the old opera house in Paris. The design and architecture of the building is incredibly stunning, plus it is where the idea for the Phantom of the Opera came from. There are so many parts of the story that coincide with actual things that have either happened or exist inside the Palais itself. You can also see a range of ballet costumes that have been used in famous performances and they still use the theatre for Ballet concerts quite regularly. It is my dream to go to an opera show that is performed here, I managed to see a rehearsal for a dark opera being sung in German before and it was unbelievable.
€11.00 Opening times Mon – Sun 10am – 5pm
Galleries Lafayette: This is a shopping mall that is free for you to enter, it is also really close to the Palais Garnier. It is one of those department stores where you really can’t afford to purchase anything inside without first taking out a loan. But the interior design of the whole mall is incredible, it has a glass dome rooftop which lets in natural light. Also if you go to the top floor you can get out onto an open rooftop floor. More great views of the city and the top of the Palais Garnier. Plus this one is free.
Opening times Mon – Sat 9.30am – 8.30pm Sun 11am – 7pm
Madeleine Church: This is a free church that is again in the same general area as the above two and is basically on your way if you’re heading to the main shopping boulevard. So you might as well just pop on in and get yourself a little bit cultured. It is an incredibly stunning church, because of how different it is. It is a little bit of a cross between a Greek Temple and a Church because the architects changed their minds on the design a little bit. There is not a lot of natural light coming into the church so it’s got quite a dark ominous feel to it. They have huge information laminates that explain the whole design, worthwhile checking out.
Opening times Mon – Sun 9.30am – 7pm
Arc de Triomphe: In my opinion you get some of the best views from the top of the arch here, these views actually include the Eiffel tower. The queues tend to be a little shorter than at the Eiffel tower and it is a little cheaper. Plus you get to be in the middle of one of the craziest roundabouts in Europe, with 12 avenues coming off it is sure to be entertaining to see. Just make sure you don’t cross the road on the roundabout, there are special pedestrian underpasses which will save you from being hit by a car.
Champs Elysees: Now if you’re in Paris you have to walk down this iconic street, it’s quite a busy street so I’ve heard. Not only is it full of expensive high end shops on it but it also have a range of very expensive restaurant and cafes. But if there was one that you should go into and spend money (or even just to have a look) is called Laduree. This is one of the best, most lavish bakeries in Paris, you will find a huge assortment of patisseries in here. What I tend to get whilst I’m here is the Macarons, they are truly, to die for.
Opening times Mon – Sun 7.30am – late (10pm – 12am)
Other thing to check out on this street that a worth a mention include: Grand Palais and Petit Palais, both of these are museums showcasing a huge range different things. The Paris fashion show has often used the Grand Palais for some of their shows including Chanel.
€12.00 Opening times Mon – Sun 10am – 11pm
Other places not to miss:
Louvre Museum: (famous for the Mona Lisa) is definitely worthwhile visiting, however keep in mind that no amount of time there will ever feel like enough. The museum has on display around 35,000 pieces of artwork, however the entire collection is over 380,000 and they just continue to move pieces around. If you are going there are a few entrances, every single one of them will be busy but there is one that is lesser known about. This is the Carrousel du Louvre, on 99 Rue de Rivoli, you will need to look for a little red awning that says Carrousel on it and head on down the escalators through to the ticket area. €15.00
Opening times Mon, Thur, Sat, Sun 9am – 6pm Wed, Fri 9am – 10pm CLOSED TUES
Notre Dame: The famous gothic cathedral that was the base of the story ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ and it’s over 850 years old. The history behind the cathedral is quite interesting too, the church was derelict and falling apart when the author Victor Hugo wrote about the Hunchback. It brought so much attention to the cathedral that people started to rebuild and repair the church which is why we get to go see its wonder and awe to this day. Its beautiful stained glass rose windows and the incredible piped organs are worthwhile seeing alone. Entry Free (wear appropriate church wear)
Opening times 8am – 6.45pm
Pigalle: Great café’s and restaurants and generally less busy than in the city centre of Paris and is also home to the famous Moulin Rouge. Think Ewen and Nicole serenading each other, so you can take your iconic photos in front of the windmill here.
The love wall: (Le mur des je t’aime) which has always been a romantics hotspot for proposals. It is a beautifully tiled wall at the back of some small gardens, written on the wall is ‘I love you’ in all different languages because love is universal.
The Sacre-Coeur: which is an amazing church at the top of a very big hill which provides incredible views over the city. If the sight of the stairs looks far too daunting you can take a funicular up to the top. Sunsets here are magnificent, bring a bottle of wine and some cups (fancy) and enjoy a magical evening.
Place du Tertre: is just nearby the church and used to be the stomping grounds of famous artists like Salvador Dali, you will find great street artists and traditional restaurants here.
Clos Montmartre: This is the only remaining vineyard in Paris if you wish to visit it, quite a lovely and unique garden area. You can purchase the wine for around €50.00 for a small bottle and you will not be satisfied. Unfortunately because the grapes don’t get to breathe much nor do they get much light, they also soak up a lot of Parisian pollutions. However it might just please you to say you have purchased a wine from the only vineyard in Paris.
Shakespeare and Company: This is a book shop, not any old bookshop though as it was originally founded in 1919 and is one of the few English bookstores in Paris. With its boutique style interior it’s a favourite for me, a book lover. It sells a range of antique books with extortionate prices (€3000.00) and there is also an adorable café next door. The book shop is right near the river seine and was a hot spot back in the day for a range of famous authors of the likes of Hemmingway, Joyce, Stein and Fitzgerald.
Quartier Latin: (Latin Quarter) this area, across a few streets has a huge range of restaurants where you can get three or more course meals for around €12-20. These meals are all traditional Parisian foods, so you can go and try Escargot (snails), frog legs, French onion soup, beef bourguignon, salmon with béarnaise sauce and the delicious crème brûlée. All at a reasonably convenient price.
Saint Germain des Press: The Eglise (church) here is another stunning church to check out, it’s an 11th century reconstruction of a 6th century monastery.
So I know there are so many more sites, restaurants, museums and monuments scattered all around Paris. However these are the ones that are my particular favourites, the ones that really caught my eye. The tips and the tricks are great to know, it’s just so disappointing when I meet people who have disliked Paris. When they tell what they did and saw I completely understand why. So if you wish to make the most out of your Parisian visit, these are the things I personally would see.