Paris | France : A Quick Guide to Planning Your Adventure

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Sacre-Coeur – Paris, France

Don’t miss it

Sitting high on the hillside in the Montmartre neighborhood, the stunning Sacré-Cœur is not to be missed. Pick up a cheap bottle of French wine, make a homemade cheese and charcuterie board and watch the sunset over the city on the steps of this beautiful basilica. It may just be the highlight of your time in Paris [like it was for me], and it’s absolutely free.

Pretty cool

Spend a few extra dollars to take the lift to the top level of the Eiffel Tour. The view around sunset is oh so lovely! Stick around the grounds afterward to watch the 10-minute light show, which is held every hour on the hour after sundown. It’s cheesy but really cool!

Must try food/drink

There’s no better way to live the Parisian lifestyle than spending an entire afternoon sipping French wine [or a coffee] while munching on a cheese and charcuterie board. If you’re on a budget [or want a quick lunch], pop into a boulangerie to order a ham and cheese baguette sandwich. Baguettes are truly a French staple.

You also can’t avoid the sweets in Paris, as there are pâtisseries [pastry shops] everywhere — and why would you want to?!

 If it’s late in the evening and you need to fill your sweet tooth, stop by the many street food vendors for a crêpe. The Nutella and banana crêpe is filthy delicious!

Here’s a hint

Using the city bike share program is a fun and efficient method for getting around a very massive city [and avoiding the pricey metro]. There are bike racks/stations all over the city. The ride is free for the first 30 minutes, and you’re charged for your time after that. A local Parisian tour guide shared a brilliant tip: Every 30 minutes, pull over to the nearest bike rack and switch out your bike. Bingo! Another 30 minutes free. But really, chances are you’ll want to stop anyway. The number of sights to see [and places to drink/eat] in Paris is endless!

As with most cities, I learned a ton from participating in two group walking tours. For Paris, I recommend the guides in the pink vests — Discover Walks. The company offers tons of free tours [read: tips based], as well as specialty tours, such as cooking, wine, museum and street art tours.

Wish I had more time for

A tour of the creepy Catacombs, in addition to day trips to Normandy and Versailles. Lots of rainy days in Paris deterred us from venturing out of the city. Next time!

Accommodation

A small, lovely Airbnb apartment in the hip Montmartre neighborhood, where both Moulin Rouge and the Sacré-Coeur basilica are located. Montmartre is in the 18th arrondissement and it offers fantastic nightlife, upscale shopping, charming cafes and delicious restaurants.

Next stop

Activated my Eurail train pass [which was purchased a few months prior to the trip] and headed to Bruges, Belgium.

Research the various Eurail train passes if you plan on traveling around Europe by train. I purchased the two-month continuous pass, which allowed for unlimited train travel within a two month period. It may make more sense for you to book point-to-point tickets instead of a rail pass. You can easily compare the prices of each option on RailEurope. I recommend using GoEuro and RailEurope for point-to-point tickets, although there are dozens to choose from. I imagine they are all the same!

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[ Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ View from the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ View from the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ View from the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ At the top of the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ The courtyard of the Palais-Royal, which hold dozens of black and white columns, a highly criticized art piece – Paris, France ]
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[ Lunch in a park near the Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ Eiffel Tower – Paris, France ]
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[ Riding a bike along the Seine River through the city’s bike share program – Paris, France ]
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[ Notre-Dame Cathedral – Paris, France ]
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[ Notre-Dame Cathedral – Paris, France]
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[ Arc de Triomphe – Paris, France ]

Do you have other suggestions for Paris? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Looking for more capital cities to visit in Europe? These five less-traveled capital cities are worth exploring.

Next Up: Follow the adventure to Bruges, Belgium.

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Planning a trip to Paris, France? Start here.

 

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