I only had a day and a half to explore Paris so my time was very limited. I wanted to see as many of the highlights as I could, so I set off on foot and got walking!
We arrived in Paris via the Eurostar high-speed train departing from London St Pancras station. It only took 2 hours and 15 minutes to get there. It’s amazing to me how close these major cities in Europe are! You could even take a day trip from London to Paris if you wanted. If you plan ahead, you can get a one-way ticket for as low as $62.00. They normally run around $80-$120 depending on the day.
The Euro (EUR) is the official currency of France. The exchange rate at the time of this post is 1.00 USD = 0.84 EUR.
Notre Dame is one of the most famous Catholic churches in the world. Construction began in 1163 and was not fully completed until a couple hundred years later. It’s considered one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture and is one of the most iconic sites in Paris.
Entrance fee: The cathedral itself is free. To climb the bell tower it’s 10 EUR and to go into the crypts it’s 8 EUR.
Opening hours: The cathedral is open every day of the year from 7:45 AM to 6:45 PM. Hours for the towers and crypts differ depending on the season so make sure you check before you go.
Jardin du Luxembourg
Luxembourg Palace was created in 1612 by order of Marie de Medici, widow of King Henry IV of France, as a new royal residence. The garden surrounding the palace is famous for its well-maintained lawns and tree-lined promenades. It’s very picturesque and quintessentially French if you ask me.
Just look at these trees!
Now for the most iconic site in Paris and the most visited monument in the world, the Eiffel Tower! Since I was pressed for time I decided not to wait in line to go up into the tower. It was also raining the day I visited so I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to see from the top.
Entrance fee: Prices range from 10-25 EUR depending on what floor you ascend to, there are 3 floors total, and if you want to take the elevator or stairs.
Opening hours: 9:30 AM – 11:00 PM Sunday to Thursday and until midnight on Saturday and Sunday. (Open from 9:00 AM mid-June to Septemeber).
Had to stop at the famous tea house Angelina to pick up some French macarons! Delicious.
Tip: You can get a really nice FREE view of Paris from the top floor of Printemps department store. There’s a small cafe on the top floor with an open-air rooftop that gives you a spectacular 360-degree view of the city. On a clear day, you can even see the Eiffel tower in the distance. Due to the rain, you can barely make it out in my picture below.
Inside the Louvre
The Lourve is the largest art museum in the world. The museum was built inside the Louvre Palace (originally constructed as a fortress in the 12th century) and opened as a museum in 1793. It’s enormous on the inside and kind of overwhelming. Make sure you have a plan for what you want to see ahead of time. It would take you months to see every piece properly! I didn’t know this, but the large glass pyramid is actually the museum entrance.
Entrance fee: 15 EUR.
- Tip: From October to March, the museum has free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
- Daily (except Tuesdays): 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 AM – 9:45 PM
- Closed on Tuesdays, January 1, May 1 and December 25
The Venus de Milo, 100 BC, Ancient Greece
The Winged Victory of Samothrace, 190 BC, Ancient Greece
Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci 1503-1506. (Kind of underwhelming if you ask me, what I found more interesting was the crowd of people gathered around to get a picture.)
Galerie d’Apollon 1766-1781
That’s it for Paris. Stay tuned. Next up: Bruges, Belgium!