We have been lucky enough to have visited the City of Lights twice in our lives thus far. Both trips were astronomically different and we learned a lot! I could sit and recount everything we did on both trips but that would be a hella long blog post and to be honest, nobody’s got time for that.
What I decided to do instead, is to take what we learned from those two trips and combined them into an itinerary for a one day visit to Paris. I always start off by saying, if you are going to visit any foreign country where English isn’t the first language; do yourself a favor and learn just even a couple phrases. It not only educates you, but also is a huge sign of respect when visiting other countries. Let’s start this adventure shall we? Cue the French Bistro music for atmosphere…
If you stay in Paris proper you can pretty much take an Uber or the subway to our first stop. This last trip in June, we stayed at the Sequoia Lodge on Disneyland Paris property and had partnered with Eurail for our European adventures so we had passes to take the trains and ferries all over Europe. If you are staying outside of Paris proper, don’t be afraid to take the trains! It can be a little daunting at first but once you figure out how to read the ticket and learn the schedule its really quite easy and relaxing!
Our first stop is actually within a train station or literally everywhere else in Paris. It’s at a bakery. Surprised? You shouldn’t be, you know how much I appreciate a delicious baked good here. Paul is one of our favorite bakeries in France. Yes, they’re totally mainstream and not a cute little mom and pop owned place but heck if everything isn’t delicious there. You could spend half your day chasing down the most random teeny bakery in all of Paris but honestly, Paul’s is authentic and amazing. So start your morning with an authentic and delicious, easy to get pastry and thank me later.
Next, walk down to the Arc du Triumph. It is a beautiful monument that honors the names of those who have fought and died during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Both Phillip + myself being former military we like to go and honor those brave men and women who have sacrificed all serving their country no matter where. The Arc is situated in a giant roundabout at the end of a long stretch of shops and is honestly gigantic! You can visit the top of the monument but in my opinion, you get just as cool of a view from standing beneath it looking up and around at all the intricate details and statues carved into its facets. Tickets are also expensive and you have to stand in a gigantic line for them unless you purchase ahead of time. So, take my advice- skip the view from up top and wander around the outside of this beautiful monument.
After the Arc, it’s a short walk to one of my favorite places in all of Paris to take photos. The Jardin de Trucdero is that spot on the map where you see 1K instagram photos taken daily and I can’t blame anyone. It’s a breathtaking view across a gigantic fountain that looks down hundreds of steps and across to the Eiffel Tower. The term Jardin (garden) is a little misleading because it’s all concrete but one man’s garden is another man’s parking lot full of statues I guess. Either way, we love this little spot and cannot recommend it enough to anyone that visits. If you’re lucky, you might see a half naked man in a speedo, roller skate backwards down all those steps. We did and were hella impressed.
Since you’re so close to the Eiffel Tower at this point of course we’re going to recommend you go visit this iconic and beautiful landmark. You can take a journey all the way to the top; we never have but the option is there! We do recommend purchasing your tickets for that ahead of time as well since the lines can be daunting. The lawn out in front of the Tower is honestly my favorite place to gaze upon this amazing piece of art. Pack yourself a little picnic, i.e. pastries and fresh fruit from the local markets literally at every corner and just enjoy!
This next stop is a place that is very near and dear to my heart. I had dreamt about returning here since the first time we visited Paris and I almost teared up when I saw its little golden sign in the tiny back alley in June. Eggs + Co. It is, by far and hands down my favorite brunch place I have ever visited in my 27 years of life. Our first trip back in January of 2018 we found Eggs + Co after a cold and very rainy morning. We wandered in not expecting greatness and oh my goodness were we flabbergasted. Is it the tiniest restaurant ever? Yes. Doesn’t matter, cram yourself into the bistro tables for the best brunch of your life.
Let me paint you a picture of the menu: Eggs Benedict in every way, shape, and form you can imagine them. Yes, they have other items on the menu but the Eggs Benedict is all that matters. They’re perfect and I love them ok? The second course that comes are these gigantic, sweet pancakes that can’t even really be described as pancakes…maybe just cake? With fresh fruit. Wheel me out in a wheelbarrow because I am fat and happy like a cat in a sunspot. I obviously like this place a lot ok so just take my word for it and eat here. They serve brunch all day as well which just…Bless.
After a delicious brunch, visit either the Catacombs or the Louvre. Be warned though, have tickets pre purchased for either. The Catacombs we have never been able to experience because we decided we could probably just get tickets there; ha….nope. The line is over 3 hours before it even opens in the morning so pre purchase before your trip! The Louvre is a beautiful museum of art and sculpture to take in especially during a hot summer afternoon but also keep in mind; it. is. gigantic. Do not expect to take in everything during one day. We highly recommend planning two days if you want to see everything in this museum.
When we visited, we spent maybe a total of 3 hours there and only saw 4 sections of the museum. Our main goal was to see the Mona Lisa which we did get to gaze upon her mysterious and tiny smile. (Heads up, it’s a LOT smaller than you think it would be but still amazing to see such a historically noteworthy and famous painting in person!) The Louvre is such an amazing place to explore, just be sure to allot the right amount of time to see what you want to see. Leaving the Louvre, make sure you travel across what used to be the old Lock Bridge. You can still see the remnant locks on the poles where people have proclaimed their everlasting love with a marked lock. It’s pretty much just romantic and adorable and every bit of Paris you would hope for.
After an education in the Louvre or the spooky Catacombs, stretch your legs through the Luxembourg Gardens. This is one of Phillip’s favorite places to relax in Paris, especially in the non winter months. The flowers here are awe inspiring and the palace is breathtaking. If you can appreciate a well trimmed hedge; this is the place for you. My OCD loves the hedges here.
A short walk away will be one of the most historic sites in all of Paris; Notre Dame. This beautiful cathedral had a heartbreaking catastrophe this past year when its steeple caught on fire but it looks like attempts to rebuild are underway. I am unsure as to wether they are allowing people inside for tours at this time. If they are not, just to walk outside this amazing cathedral is just outstanding. The detail of the sculptures, the stained glass and just the general feeling is truly peaceful on its grounds.Feel free to burst out into a few lines of Hunchback of Notre Dame for me as well.
By this time, you’re going to be exhausted, your feet are gong to hurt and if it’s summer…most likely sunburnt. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. This last place I want you to go to, you can take an Uber or the subway to in order to save some time and your feet. When the sun goes down and nighttime starts, make your way back to the Eiffel Tower. This is where the nickname “City of Lights” really starts to make sense. Every night the Eiffel Tower is transformed into this magical glittering and sparkling masterpiece that is easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life; not to mention truly romantic. Walk along the Siene River and watch it sparkle on the end of your day.
Well, just thinking about dear Paris makes me want to go back and see these dazzling lights! I hope you have fun planning your trip and take some of my suggestions into consideration, we absolutely love exploring new places and Paris will always hold a dear place in my heart.