Long time no see there, darling! So sorry that I’ve been a little MIA recently, but no worries! I’m officially back home and getting settled in so lots more will be happening around here!
Anyways, my time in France concluded with a 4-day trip in Paris showing my family around. I planned everything from start to finish and I’m so pleased with how smooth our trip went! So, I thought I’d share our itinerary with you guys!
Keep in mind, this trip was in mid-May. If you’re planning a trip a little later in the summer, you may want to devote a little bit more time to stand in line and fight the crowds! I added the day of the week that I went for your reference, however, each of these days can be flipped or flopped!
Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysee
I’m starting your trip off with a bang! The Arc de Triomphe is one of my favorite sites in Paris because of the view from the top! Buy your tickets ahead of time online to avoid the line; your tickets are valid for a year after your purchase. Speaking of the line, in both of the times that I’ve visited the Arc, the line logistics are a hot mess! Just find an employee and show them your ticket and they’ll point you in the right direction.
The Arc sits in the middle of the largest (and wildest) roundabout I have ever seen! To access the arc, you’ll follow the signs that direct you underground! But before you head under, snap some pictures from outside of the roundabout! If it’s too crowded, simply cross the street to find an open spot 😉
This picture was taken (literally) in the middle of the road on the Champs and is one of my favorite places for pictures with the Arc! Its pretty narrow (and French drivers are insane) so have a plan of action before you cross the street!
Once you’ve visited the Arc, take some time to browse the Champs-Elysee! I don’t usually devote a whole lot of time for this because I can’t afford 90% of the stores, but if you can and you’re looking to do some major shopping, you should budget a little longer here!
Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre
Head to the Artist’s Quarter for your first dinner in Paris! Before stopping for a bite, hike the hill to check out the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. This is my favorite cathedral in Paris because of its grandeur. This “Church on the Hill” was built in the 1800’s (which is why you’ll see a representation of various minorities) from a special stone that, when wet, natural chemicals act as a bleaching agent, giving this massive basilica it’s prominent white figure!
It’s free to get in and is still used for mass! If you’re a practicing Catholic, try to sit in on a service! My first trip here, we happened to arrive right at the tail end of a Sunday mass and it was absolutely breathtaking to hear the choir sing and the congregation repeat after the priest!
Exit the church and take some time to explore the area. You’ll find various restaurants, artists, gift shops, and sweets shops! Le Consulat and La Maison Rose are famous cafes in the area that you may enjoy (and recognize, if you’ve done your research)!
Seine River Cruise
If this wasn’t on your list of things to do, it needs to be! I hadn’t taken a river cruise before this trip and it was so nice to experience the city this way! Plus, you can get some good, tourist-free pictures and you give your tired feet a nice break! We used the company Vedettes du Pont Neuf because our ticket was valid at any point that day and departures were every 30 minutes!
Palace of Versailles
Rise and shine honeybun! Today is your early because you’re off to do the biggies! The Palace of Versailles is a must on any Paris trip! It’s grandeur and vast gardens will make you feel like the prettiest princess in an instant! But this popular site gets busy fast! Get there as soon as the doors open (9am) to beat the crowd! Trust me on this one, the tour of Versailles get cramped and you’ll want as few people as possible 😉
If you’re a fan of macarons and you’re wanting to hit up a Laduree, the one at Versailles is usually pretty tame! Grab you some macarons and enjoy them in the gardens! Once you’ve finished up, explore the town of Versailles for lunch! If you’re looking at the main entrance of the Palace, turn to your right and wonder that way into town.
Here you go! Here is everything you’ve ever wanted! But, I have to ask you a question first:
Would you rather….
1) Watch the sunset from the Eiffel Tower??
2) Watch the sunset around the Eiffel Tower??
If you answered with the first response, then head to “Place de Trocadero” for the best pictures of the tower! #photoshootallllllday Walk around the busy area and find dinner before heading up the tower. From there, walk straight across the bridge to Monsieur Eiffel’s masterpiece!
If you answered the second option, just do it all in reverse! I personally prefer this option purely because the line for the Eiffel Tower fluctuates so much. I honestly can’t tell you the “best” time to go and because it’s such a day by day thing. I can tell you to avoid weekends, but apart from that, your guess is as good as mine!
And don’t worry about getting tickets online. Those sell out extremely fast, but the ticket office never sells out of tickets!
Today is your moseying day! Yay! Head to Notre Dame (get off at the metro stop “Cite” for the CUTEST little flower market) and check out the most famous cathedral in Paris! Entrance is free, but if you’re wanting to climb the towers, you’ll have to pay extra and sign up for a time slot. (TIP: I don’t recommend climbing the towers because you get the same exact views as you did in the arc and the tower)
Once you’re done there, explore the Ile-de-Cite (aka the island that Notre Dame sits on) while making your way to Le Marais. Le Marais is an adorable little shopping district! If you’re looking to do some shopping, this is a great place to browse! It is still on the expensive side, but a sturdy investment piece from Paris is always a good idea! Look for this crepe stand in that area! Some of my favorite crepes!
After that, head to the Latin Quarter for some more exploring! Here, you’ll find the Jardin du Luxembourg, which is one of the prettiest gardens within the city! If you’re a Le Petit Prince fan, there is also a specialty store located near here 😉
Musee du Louvre
Especially if you’re traveling with young ones, admission for anyone under 25 is free to the Louvre after 6:30pm on Fridays! This was perfect for us because we honestly have no idea what we’re looking at when it comes to art. We were really paying to see the Mona Lisa so, might as well save a few dollars! If you’re a big art buff, head to the Louvre a little earlier!
This is your day to do whatever else is left on your list! Some good options are:
- The Opera House and the Bastille
- The Musee d’Orsay (I prefer this to the Louvre! This is where many of Van Gogh’s paintings are located!)
- A day trip to Giverny to see Monet’s Gardens
- Head to Saint Germain-des-Pres for some heavy-duty shopping (here you’ll find more affordable stores like Zara and H&M)
We bought a “Navigo Decouverte” pass for the metro. I 100% believe that this pass is the best option for this itinerary, but here’s the breakdown:
- The pass is valid Monday morning-Sunday evening
- It costs about $30, including your card
- It’s valid in ALL ZONES in Paris. That includes the airports, Versailles, and Disney World Paris
- It’s valid on every single mode of public transportation. That means metro, RER trains, buses, and transilien trains.
The only reason I think you may not benefit from this pass is if your trip begins at the end of the time period and extends past Monday. For more information on the Navigo pass, check out this article!
We did not purchase the Museum Pass on this trip. However, if you add even one more museum or qualifying monument to your itinerary, the Museum Pass may be worth it for you! I have purchased a Museum Pass before and I must say that the convenience of it alone is almost worth it!
Download the “Citymapper” app! This app gives you every possible way to reach your destination, from foot to uber to metro! Plus, you can download routes so that you can access them later without Wi-Fi! Citymapper is a lifesaver!
So, there it is! The most efficient way to see all the sites of Paris! Are you planning a trip to the City of Lights soon?? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to save this post on Pinterest so you can find it later!
PS, Ignorance is bliss, right? Well, I’ll give you a little warning: there are LOTS of steps in Paris! Prep before you go 😊 You’ll thank me later!