My Tips For A Few Days In The City
We recently took a trip to Paris as part of my wife Kerry's 30th birthday celebrations. I'd never been there before and Kerry had only been to Disneyland and having visited other large cities like New York & Barcelona last year, it was something we were really looking forward to. In this post, I'm going to share some of the things we got up to, and my tips to make the most of a few days in the French capital.
Walk, Walk, Walk
Paris is a large & sprawling beautiful city, and much like New York it is entirely walk-able. Sure, it may take a couple of hours to get from one end to the other, but the architecture, the quirky neighbourhoods & the unique bars and coffee shops you will find along the way make it completely worth it. So if you have the time, I would suggest walking pretty much everywhere you can.
Obviously this is all weather dependent & the first couple of days, we found ourselves getting an Uber pretty much everywhere. While Uber is an extremely convenient way of getting around, the traffic in Paris can be such a nightmare, a 2-3km journey can take up to half an hour! If you are wanting to get somewhere quick, then the metro is the way to go. There are stops everywhere, and it is just as straight forward as it is in London & New York.
Head Up The Eiffel Tower (On A Sunny Day)
You don't need me to tell you that if you are visiting Paris for the first time that you need to go up the Eiffel tower. It is iconic and something I would definitely recommend. The architecture and level craftsmanship is absolutely stunning, and unlike anything I have ever seen in person.
My number one tip for going up the Eiffel Tower would be...try and make sure you go up on a sunny day! I had arranged tickets for a tour beforehand that gave us priority entry to the second floor as part of a group. Unfortunately on the day of our tour, which also happened to be Kerry's birthday, was absolutely miserable; freezing cold, pouring rain and rather windy. Since the tickets were already bought and the tour was booked we didn't really have a choice but to go along. Also, if you've booked a tour - make sure you are not late! I ended up misjudging the traffic which caused us to miss the start of our tour and in turn we ended up in a Spanish language group - not ideal, but at least we still got to skip the queues. It was all quite hilarious as the tour guide didn't realise that we couldn't understand him, and we just happily nodded along with the odd "Si".
If you decide to go up the tower, make sure you make your way to the very top. It makes for some spectacular views of the city - even on a rainy day!
Go On A Dinner Cruise
Get Up Early To Explore
Trying to get good photos of some of the more popular landmarks in Paris can be an absolute nightmare, especially with the amount of other tourists around.
On our final day in Paris, I decided to get up early (7am) and head out for a run. It was a great run through the city, along the bank of the Seine, through the Jardin des Tuileries and finally past the Louvre. Whilst the streets were packed with runners along the river, when I broke off through the tourist spots, I found that there was hardly anyone around. This was a great opportunity to take a quick break & snap a few photos and I was able to capture some stunning, unobstructed shots of the ferris wheel & the Louvre pyramid.
So my advice would be - if you really want that perfect shot, get up early and go and get it
Hunt Around For The Coolest Bars
There are loads of places to have a drink in Paris. However, a lot of them are quite generic looking restaurants/bars on street corners with similar looking menus. My main piece of advice for this is to do a bit of research beforehand and you can find all the coolest spots to visit.
Right next door to our hotel was a cocktail bar called Bisou which had no menu, and only made drinks based on what you like. So for example - you could tell the bartender that you liked bourbon, something sweet & smokey and then he would go off and make your drink. He would then let you try it, and then come back and explain what it was and how he came up with the idea - it was a really could place and I would definitely recommend checking it out of you are ever in Paris
There are places like that to be found everywhere. A five minute walk from our hotel took us to a bar called Wynwood that was a funky little spot. Serving up cocktails, craft beer and tacos. There were cool neon lighting, awesome artwork on the walls and even a Nintendo tucked away in the corner running Mario Kart! It was a shame that this place wasn't very busy whilst we were there as it was such a cool spot, one that I wish we'd discovered earlier in the holiday as I would have definitely paid it another visit.
You Don't Need To Eat Out All the Time
Have A Picnic In Champ De Mars
There are some beautiful parks all over Paris. One of these parks, Champ De Mars is the perfect place to have a relaxing picnic on a sunny day, underneath the stunning backdrop of the Eiffel Tower. Get along to a supermarket or a bakery, pick up some bread, meat, some beers or wine and spend a few hours chilling in the sun. That's what we did and it was the ideal way to wind down on our final day in the city.
So there you have it. My tips for getting the most out of Paris. Obviously there was so much more we could have taken in whilst we there; we didn't visit any museums, we didn't visit all the major tourist attractions, we didn't take in a show and we didn't eat out every night. But the reality is - Paris is a really expensive place, and coupled with the time factor, we couldn't realistically do everything. However, we did what we wanted to do, and I think that we had a great time.
Have you been to Paris? What did you get up to? Is there anything you would have done differently? Let me know in the comments below.