Paris in a day
Back from another trip last week! I went with my sister, godchild and her family on a small trip to Paris. We left Belgium on friday eve and came back on sunday eve. We had 1 day in Paris and the next one in Versailles (the massive and famous castle from Louis X1V. Paris has very much to offer. There are a lot of other castles around Paris to visit as well. I did some of them, but not all of them (yet). Some of the are blogged here before.
Here are my highlights to do in just one day in Paris. Ofcourse there are way more faves in this city but when you're there for such a short time, you need to choose. Choosing means loosing, right?
There are a couple of other places in Paris that I really love but didn't have enough time for this weekend. So let's start with those: the other highlights I didn't visit are:
The garden of Plants (a museum about plants),
Musee d' Orsay (a museum in an old trainstation with art from 1800 till 1900),
The Louvre (in which you can wander around for an entire day),
The Sacré Coeur with the viewpoint in the tower where you can see the entire city,
The Dome des Invalides and the musée de l'armée (the museum of war & the place where Napoleon was buried), Les Catacombes et cimetière Père Lachaise (perfect halloween activities; catacombs and an old cemetery from 1800 I mean...),
The Grand (where you can go ice skating in the winter) et Petit Palais (which is by the way a free museum),
Le Bois de Vincennes et le Chateau de Vincennes (an old fortress/castle close to where my dad grew up),
The places I don't really like in Paris are: Le Centre Pompidou (not much to see there I think), Musee Rodin (an artist that doesn't have my interest, sorry!), The Avenue des Champs-Élysées (sorry, I'm not rich), Le Moulin Rouge (to me just a stupid building if you don't care about the shows) and La Défense (I'm just not into modern buildings).
And even though I've been a billion times to Paris before, there are still some places on the list that I haven't visited before. These are: Le Parc Monceau & Rue Crémieux, La Grande Mosque, Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Musée Picasso etc.
So now let's go onto to the highlights for just a day. With the corona measures still very active in France, you need to book every single place in advance... so make sure to do so. If you don't want to go inside the museums and buildings, you can also walk next to the Seine to enjoy the views or you can take a boat tour with the Bateaux Mouches. The prettiest buildings are next to the Seine and some amazing bridges cross the Seine river, so with just this boat tour or this hike, you'll already see a lot of the city!
My Parisian tour:
Our hotel was a cheap, random hotel in the middel of the city. We started by taking the metro to Galeries Lafayette- Haussmann. This is a gorgeous shopping mall with a lot of different brands. A lot of pricy brands... The building is from the late 1800s, the iconic dome with stained glass is from 1912. Cool, right? On top of the mall there's a terrace with the most gorgeous view in Paris. To me, this is the prettiest 'free' view in the city. You can just enter the mall and take the staircases or elevators to go up.
After that, we walked to the Opéra Garnier, which is around the corner of the Galeries Lafayette. This is the main opera house in Paris. We didn't visit it this time, but you can book tickets to go inside the building. It's beautiful there so if you have the time one day, make sure to check it out. The building if from the late 1800s and is a real architectural gem from that time. They've spared no expense to build this. With a lot of marble, gold, stunning paintings and frescoes and other artworks, the building really has a majestic feel.
From the opera house, we walked to the Place Vendôme. On your way to this place, you can already enjoy windowshopping from the most luxurious stores in Paris. The Place Vendome is known to be one of the most luxurious areas in Paris. You will find some luxury jewelry stores and hotels, such as the Ritz hotel. On the square, you find the Colonne Vendome, a column made for Napoleon Bonaparte in 1810. After a couple of photos, we went on to the "Colonnes de Buren" near the Louvres.
Les Colonnes de Buren: The iconic art installation created by the French artist Daniel Buren 1985–1986. It is located in the inner courtyard of the royal palace. The art replaced the old courtyards parking lot and is a very insta worthy spot in Paris. Since this place is next to the Louvre, we then went to the Louvre museum. We didn't visit it because we didn't have enough time. You can walk through the Louvre for several days, if you want... it's very big so you'll need a lot of time. We did walk through the main square of the Louvre palace to spot the famous glass pyramids. These were designed by Chinese-American architect I.M.Pei. The largest pyramid is actually the main entrance to the museum. The entire main court of the Louvre museum was finished in 1988. Since then, it's also a very instafamous spot in Paris!
After that we went to the Jardin des Tuileries, the gardens in front of the palace. You can take a relaxing sunny stroll there and enjoy the sun on the chairs next to the water of the "bassin".
We made reservations for the Eiffel tower at 2 p.m. so we took the metro for our appointment, after the Tuileries. You can enjoy a lovely Seine walk, to get to the Eiffel tower but it's a couple of kilometers long so we took the metro, time management again. With the corona measures and the safety measures agains terrorism, make sure to book tickets and to be there on time. We had to wait 1h to get to the elevator of the tower and in the tower, we waited another hour to get to the top of the Eiffel tower. It was high on my godchild her bucket list, so she thought it was worth all the wait, luckily enough! The tower is 324 metres tall! It's the highest building in Paris and it has a gorgeous 360 view over the entire city and the nature around the city. To get to the top, you need to take 2 elevators.
After another couple of photos, we went to the Champ-de-Mars garden, which is the garden behind the tower. Here you have an amazing Eiffel tower view! You can sit in the grass, chill out and enjoy the view there. It's a very famous picknick spot for Parisian people by the way. After chilling, we then took the metro again, for our next stop. We took the metro stop of the "Trocadéro", the square with buildings on the other side of the bridge in front of the tower. Here, you have another good Eiffel tower view, sadly enough it gets super crowded during the day. If you want a good Eiffel tower photo, come here early or just take shots next to the Seine river. It's lovely as well.
We then went to the new shopping mall called La Samaritaine. It is currently owned by LVMH, a luxury goods brand by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. The building is from the early 1900s and is very lovely. The store was closed for 16 years so it was very high on my list to visit. I haven't been there before because of this closure. The department store had a loss since the 70s and was closed in 2005 because it did not meet safety codes any longer. It took a very long time to renovate the building and to reopen. This past june, it was finally reopened again and it gained a lot of (social) media attention ever since. If you like art déco/art noveau, then make sure to stop here as well! The stores there are like the Galeries Lafayette pretty pricy but very chic. There are also restaurants and even a hotel. This hotel has a suite with a private pool!
After hating my life for not being rich, we took some shots and then hiked next to the Seine river, to the Notre Dame. We had dinner at Café Panis, a cosy restaurant next to the Notre Dame. You currently can't visit the Notre Dame due to the terrible fire, but you can enjoy the buildin from the outside.
After dinner, it was time to go to our next hotel outside Paris, close to the Versailles castle.
On sunday, we spent an entire day at the Versailles palace. You really need an entire day to visit it. The castle itself is already pretty large (it took us 2h to visit) but the gardens are even bigger. It's literally one of the most stunning places in the world, in my opinion.
After our visit, we went back home.