When I fly back home from my travel the first thing I get asked is: how was your trip? What did you do? What do recommend we should do?
Paris, France is the number one location my friends ask me about, mainly since this was my third time going back. First and for most I always recommend to do everything you can, visit all the iconic locations, explore the city, try local produce and maybe get a taste of fine dining, do everything you would of like to do without my input. That would be my number one recommendation. Otherwise, it’s always a good to know what others had experienced during their trip and what they advise.
Iconic locations in Paris with tips/recommendations.
-Eiffel Tower: The symbol of France or the image that pops into my head when I try to remember Paris. It’s glorious to look at any given time, especially at night. In the evening the tower lights up from head to toe with what seems to be a million light blobs. They shimmer and sparkle bright creating a dancing effect that captivates your attention from miles away. To see the spectacular show people, gather around Champ de Mars or on the opposite side of the Seine river at Palais de Chaillot.
Tips: Top floor is overrated. The view from the top is anything but special. Due to the tall safety fence, the possibility of taking a good picture of Paris is slim to none, and frankly, this massive metropolis seems to be a speck this high up. Most importantly the line to reach the top is enormous and may take up a few hours (especially on a good sunny day) better to save some nerves and skip the whole thing altogether. I recommend second level view (the one after the restaurant), to me, it’s most appealing factor is the panoramic view where you can genuinely see the busy life of Paris.
-Louver: One of my favorite museums in Paris and a historical monument that holds the world’s biggest art collection with masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa, Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus de Milo and many more. Exploring this museum for at least a day is a must.
Tips: Buy your tickets in advances at the tourist office to avoid the long entrance line. For all my tickets (museums, shows, etc.) I go to the Office of Tourism and Congress of Paris located at 25 Rue des Pyramides, 75001 Paris, France. One thing I find out is entering the museum from the underground level, where the subway runs, is much faster. Once inside try to view not only the famous masterpiece such as the Mona Lisa because getting close to it will be a challenge, lots of pushing and shoving. Explore other significate painting, artifacts and the undergrounds of Louver, after all; it does hold the most significant art collection in the world.
-Roden Museum: This particular museum, may not hold the world’s biggest art selection however it does contain the biggest Rodin collection, with more than 6,000 sculptures and 7,000 works on paper. It’s one of those museums, not visited by a significant amount of tourist, thus exploring is pleasant. One of the highlights of this museum was the beautiful courtyard with an English rose garden that filled with famous sculptures. In this massive maze of fowlers, trees and bushes statues like the Gates of Hell, the Tinker and the Three Shades (just to name a few) can be spotted.
Tips: The only advice I have for this location is to enjoy yourself. With limited visitors and an excellent café (with a good selection food) spending a quiet afternoon rooming around the grounds is splendid.
-Catacombs: 200 kilometers of underground tunnels, were created around the 13th century, for what was supposed to be one purpose of mining limestone and building a thriving city of Paris. Today the catacombs function as a museum and a massive grave that visitors like to explore. Here lie the remains of some estimated six million people, that are tucked away neatly, in caves forming small and large piles, almost like a mosaic. Defiantly new kind of attraction and worth a visit.
Tips: The line to enter into the catacombs is no joke, roughly it can take up to 4 hours, due to the number of people permitted to inside at a time. Buy your ticket in advance online (it will cost more) however, it’s going to be worth every penny. By booking tickets online, you will be able to reserve the day you want to go and the time you want to enter at (it can’t get simpler than that)!
Notre Dame: Is a medieval Catholic cathedral recognized for its stained-glass windows, the flying buttress, south rose window, statues, the doorway where the Tympanum of the Last Judgment is portrayed, and of course the giant gargoyle statues. Considered to be one of the excellent examples of gothic architecture Notre Dame attracts millions of visitors each year, I would even say kinds like visiting this church due to the famous cartoon Hunchback of Notre Dame, nothing like a good childhood memory.
Tips: Pretty much with everything in Paris, you are going to experience massive lines and waiting times (especially during high tourist season). For this particular venue, I recommend sticking it out. The line may seem endless; however, you will be walking into the cathedral before you know it.
Palace of Versailles: is a royal château in Versailles a wealthy suburban area located in the Île-de-France region of France. This royal residence has a rich history and an extravagant design. It’s considered to be one of the most expensive royal residences ever built in Europe. The golden gate and rooftop trim, numerous marble staircases, élite silk wallpaper, granite fire placeless large enough to keep a giant warm, handcrafted oak furniture, impressive art collection and let’s not forget the 800-hector garden (the art of symmetry) are all part of this extravagant residences. I sure would have loved to live like Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
Tips: Fairly popular tourist attraction can only mean one thing, very long lines. Buying your ticket in advance will not save you from standing in line. However, it will give you a head start. I recommend buying tickets online, preferably a two-day ticket (frankly this residence is too big, to be conquered in one day)! If you’re going to purchase tickets on site be prepared to stand in two lines (one for the tickets and the other is to enter inside). Booking a tour will get you in the building faster but be prepared to push and shove (lots of selfie sticks and mobs of people walking in one direction). I recommend starting your tour with the garden, by the time you are finished walking around, the line to get into the palace will be significantly smaller.