I have been to Paris numerous times, but until recently, my trips had all been fully loaded and planned down to the minute! How else could one possibly see everything one wanted to see in a short time frame without such rigorous planning?
Well, my most recent trip to Paris was different. This time, my hubby and I only had three items on the “must-see/do” list and we had three days in Paris. Seems like pretty good odds for plenty of time to just stroll around, take in the city, and enjoy the wonder that is Paris for once, right? Indeed!
We arrived in Paris about 12:20 PM and being the thrifty ones, navigated our way through the space-age looking Terminal 1 of Charles de Gaulle and finally found the Metro. Forty minutes later we found ourselves in the rather confusing station of Gare du Nord and ended up circling the platform we needed twice. Of course, after missing our train TWICE, we finally figured out what we were doing and found the right platform.
The Magenta line of the RER train at Gare du Nord
Once we were back above ground, we began a nice leisurely stroll (as nice as can be when toting two rolley suitcases, even if they were small!) toward our hotel, which was nestled in between the Champs Elysees and the Opera. Hubby is usually the IPhone master snapper, but I forced him to stop on our stroll so I could take a few snaps myself. The side of the city we were in was simply glorious this time of year!
Autumn in Paris
We finally arrived at our hotel about 3:00 PM and were promptly checked in, asked about breakfast delivery (yes, delivery every morning to our room!), and sent on our way to settle in.
Our quaint little room
Our quaint little room
Views from our hotel window
After unpacking, we grabbed a quick-lunch at the Patisserie outside and headed off to the Louvre, one of the three things we had planned, and being Friday it was open until late.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the Louvre. There is so much to see — so much so that it can be overwhelming! As hubby and I had both been once before on trips in high school, we opted to just hit the highlights of the museum. But even just hitting the highlights, we were still in the museum about 3 hours! Here are just a few of those highlights:
If/when you plan a trip to Paris, and the Louvre is on your list, make sure you plan at least 5 hours for the museum — or a whole day if museums are your thing! Out of the slide show highlights, my favorite is the Egyptian tablet where the woman is depicted in a leopard outfit — of course they still had a sense of fashion even in ancient time periods! Love it.
Day 2 began with a trip into the 13th arrondissement, where we queued in anticipation of seeing the street art commissioned inside a 10-story building which is set for demolition starting November 1st. This project, known as Tour 13, showcases the art of over 100 street artists across the buildings 36 apartments.
Tour 13 Building in the 13th
Unfortunately, after standing in the queue, which was wrapped all the way around the building and down the block, for around an hour and 30 minutes with minimal movement, hubby and I decided to abandon our efforts of entering the building so as to not lose our entire day in the city. And so, we walked away without seeing the awesomeness that was inside, but, the Huffington Post wrote up a great article with some pictures of what we, sadly, missed. At least we can say we saw the building!
After the failed tour attempt, we headed back to the city and made our way into Pere-Lachaise, one of the most famous and loveliest of cemeteries there is. (If a cemetery can be considered lovely!)
After spending a good bit of time roaming around the cemetery, we had a great little lunch, did a little vintage shopping, and just roamed around the Marais and the Ile Saint-Louis before hopping the metro to Sacre Coeur for the Vendanges de Montemartre fireworks show. After the steep climb up the hill, we found seats in the grass and settled in for the show.
Paris by Night
And what a show it was! Here is a clip my hubby managed to record during the second song of the show.
What a great way to end the second day, huh? We sure thought so! (At least until I had a panic attack & almost hyperventilated from claustrophobia in the mass exodus of people, but, I’m trying to pretend that didn’t actually happen….)
Day 3 was somewhat of a lazy day, if you will. The only item we had on the agenda was Invalides, to see Napoleon’s tomb. We wanted a few high quality snaps of the Eiffel Tower with my SLR as well, though we had no desire to actually go up. Since the Tower was closer to our hotel, we took the Metro there first and strolled over to Invalides after.
Eiffel Tower from Invalides Gardens
The plan was to hit up the shops after the tomb viewing, but wouldn’t you know that almost everything is closed in Paris on Sunday! (Unless you are on the Champs Elysees). Luckily for us, we had actually seen very little of the Marais the previous day and decided to head back that direction. So glad we did! The Marais is probably my new favorite spot in Paris. It has such charm, especially on Sunday! (It was one of the few areas not re-done by Haussman so it has character and doesn’t look like the rest of Paris and is also a mostly Jewish area of town, which is a bonus for shopping on Sunday!)
We wandered in and out of quirky little shops, stopped for cocktails, and wandered some more. I must say, the area is full of vintage shops, so, I definitely recommend a visit if that is up your alley! (I’d show you what I found, but I’m actually writing it up in a separate post next week, so check back.)
Overall, it was a great little trip to Paris and I’m so glad we got to explore new and exciting parts of the city. As this was the third trip for both hubby and I, we’ll be laying off Paris for a bit to ensure we see the rest of Europe as well. But fear not, we are far from done with France as a whole! Where will we jet-set off to next?!
XOXO – K