Paris was one of the most amazing cities I’ve seen so far. When I first arrived, I was unprepared for how large the city actually was. After living in Barcelona, I thought Paris would be of similar size, maybe slightly larger. But of course, I was wrong. I can’t even begin to explain how large Paris is, but for example, I took a 3 hour tour and still only saw about half of the city. Even though the city is large, I feel like it’s still pretty manageable and there are definitely a lot of amazing sites to see.
My trip to Paris was roughly 3 days long. A friend and I caught an early flight from Barcelona and arrived in Paris around 11am and left the following Sunday around 8pm. It was nice to arrive early on Friday because it gave us plenty of daylight time to explore, the only downside was we were exhausted. When we first arrived in Paris we were starving and we had no idea where to go for food, so after stumbling around for 45 minutes or so we found a small restaurant called Le GOÛ-THÉ on Rue Surcouf. We got extremely lucky with our server, who spoke English and was extremely nice, and the food was amazing. If you ever find yourself in Paris, I highly recommend it!
Even though my friend and I were only in Paris for a short time, we were determined to see as much of the city as possible. Most of what we saw of the city was by tour. I had done some research before about recommended excursions (I use TripAdvisor religiously) and I had come across a tour called Midnight In Paris. This was by far my favorite part of the trip. I had reserved a time slot for 2 hours on Friday night, which was to start at 9. The tour started with Nicolas, our driver, picking us up at our hotel. When reading reviews of this tour, many people commented on the car, I could understand why when Nicolas picked us up. The car was amazing, old fashion, and had a clear roof so when inside, one could see all the buildings above. I don’t know much about cars, but this one definitely left a lasting impression. Once inside the car, we took off. Nicolas knew all the side streets, the hidden charms of the city and he knew a lot about the history as well. His driving was pretty reckless, we knew it would be an interesting drive when he asked us if we enjoyed roller coasters (my answer was yes, of course!). Nicolas showed us around as much of the city as he could. We went from the Gothic area, to around the river, to famous historic spots as well and some of the large tourist attractions. He knew the history of every spot we went to as well as a lot of little facts along the way. I really admired how much knowledge he had about the city. Nicolas also let us get out at whichever stop we wanted and he was more than willing to take pictures for us.
One of our last stops was to his favorite Gelato parlor which also happens to be the oldest in the city. We didn’t end up getting back to our hotel until 12:30 am, an hour and a half past the original 2 hour slot I had booked but Nicolas kept wanting to show us more and we were more than happy to see everything possible! Overall it was an amazing experience (did I mention you get a bottle of champagne for the trip?) and I highly recommend taking this tour if you ever get to Paris!
The next day my friend and I explored more in the daylight. Luckily I was able to figure out the metro system and we bought 3 day passes, which was much cheaper in the long run. I’m used to the metro in Barcelona so it wasn’t too hard to figure out. Our day consisted of a lot of walking though (comfortable shoes advised). We started at the Arc de Triomphe and from there walked down the famous Ave des Champs-Élysées. This long stretch of shops was pretty impressive. The only places we stopped were Starbucks and H&M, but the other stores, which I can’t afford, were very beautiful. I could only gawk at the size and beauty of the Louis Vuitton store.
The two places I really enjoyed walking, and where we ended our day, was the gardens around the Louvre and the Notre Dame. It was very peaceful in the gardens and it was nice to stroll along the paths. There also happened to be a fashion week event being held so it was amazing to see all the different styles and designs that people were wearing as they were leaving the area. The gardens were also nice because it offered a quick escape from the hustle and noise of the busy streets. No one was pushing to get past you and there weren’t any cars to look out for. The Louvre itself is amazing as well. Even though we didn’t go in, the old palace offers a lot of spectacular architecture, not to mention it’s massive. We were told that one could spend a week inside looking at all the art and you still wouldn’t have seen everything. Last on our walk was the Notre Dame. The church on the outside is very beautiful and even though it looks repetitive, Nicolas told us that none of the sculptires are the same on either tower or anywhere on the outside, which is pretty impressive. We went later in the day and there were still a lot of people outside the church. It was free to enter, which was nice, and the inside was even more amazing than I thought. There was a lot of intricate stained glass windows and many murals with vibrant colors. Even though the inside of the church was relatively dark, there was a sense of peace and tranquility.As we were getting ready to leave a procession started and we were able to stay and watch for some of it. I found it really interesting, even though I couldn’t understand what was being said.
Overall Paris was an amazing city. I could go on and on about the small shops, the great food and recommendations. I would definitely go back to Paris, and this time I would stay longer. I still feel there is so much I wasn’t able to see. One thing is for sure though, in the city of love, my heart was definitely stolen.