I had a few preconceived notions about Paris before visiting. I had heard that Parisians are rude to tourists, especially Americans. I had heard that it's overly crowded and dirty, and that people are constantly trying to sell you knick-knacks. The only one of those that is kind of true is that last statement. Parisians were very kind to us (or indifferent, which is better than rude), the city IS crowded but not unbearable, and considering how incredibly touristy it is, it’s clean. There are lots of people trying to sell you things near the biggest tourist locations, but just like anyone it’s easy to kindly decline.
If you're traveling to Paris from London, I HIGHLY recommend taking EuroStar. It may be more expensive than flying at times, but the experience is worth it. It goes under the ocean, you guys. Also, you can take full bottles of prosecco/whatever drink/food you fancy AND there’s a snack bar on the train too so it’s way better than traveling on a plane.
Paris was filled with carbs and Bordeaux wine and honestly what else do you need? The thing I love most about European cities so far is how incredibly unique each location’s building structures are. Paris was no exception. The city is romantic and filled with art and gorgeous architecture. The florals are over the top and I loved it.
A hilarious stereotype that definitely rang true - at least in our experience - is how much Parisians love their espresso and cigarettes. We were at lunch, and these two Parisians girls around my age were speaking their native tongue - presumably about birth control, I know this cause she holding her pack of birth control at the lunch table - that progressively got faster as they pounded 3 espresso shots each and a pack of Malboro’s. They didn’t even eat. No wonder how European’s stay so small.
We stayed in an AirBnb about 10 minutes from the Eiffel Tower. Good location but more info on it down in “behind the lens.”
It is totally doable to see the major sights in one weekend, granted you don’t go inside. We were bummed not to go inside Notre Dame or the Louvre, but honestly the lines would scare away anyone who tries to avoid tourists like we do. We plan on going to see the museums, just not in August.
But the Louvre is gorgeous from the outside...
...and Notre Dame is awe-inspiring. It is mind-blowing how incredibly intricate the sculpture work is on such an impossibly massive building. Especially for once that was built in 1163. ELEVEN SIXTY THREE, PEOPLE.
Thus, we walked, ate, drank espressos, walked some more, ate, drank a Spritz, saw some pretty sights, ate, drank wine, slept, and repeat.
The colors are amazing in this city. The plants are even better. And a MUST see is this freaking adorable restaurant called Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole (if you fail at a French accent like me, try saying that. It’s hilarious) that happens to be one of the oldest in Paris. There’s real birds in those cages. And it’s decorated in vines. The Bordeaux is amazing.
A must-do is go up to Montmarte near sunset (where the Sacre Coeur is). This is more of an art district, on a hill overlooking the entire city of Paris. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
European Bucket List: Sip wine with an Eiffel Tower view ✔️
And of course, did you really go to Paris if you didn’t get an Eiffel Tower pic?! No. You didn’t.
Behind the lens
- As in London, Ryan got lost again, and I, while not contributing anything to the navigating process, got mad at him, haha. And that’s because…I was hangry. I have now learned to bring snacks because I need to eat twice as often as Ryan. If you're a small meals more often kind of person, I suggest you do the same when walking everywhere.
- Our AirBnb had SO MUCH potential but had a lot of issues. For example, the middle of the floor had a huge speed bump in the wood floor due to water damage, which was tripped over multiple times. Be sure to communicate those issues in a private review to the owner. They can’t fix it unless they know!
- As with any big city, the crowds can be overwhelming and have the potential to affect your experience. HIGHLY recommend traveling large cities in the fall or winter, if you’re able. This will make seeing the sights so much more pleasant.
Honestly, there wasn’t much to report as far as "messy" scenes go for this trip.
Anyway, it's true, Paris is always a good idea!
Where to next?