24 Hours Series: Le Magnifique Paris
Ever hear about something for so long that when you see it in person the stories don’t compare to how amazing it actually is? For me, Paris is everything. From shopping to historic monuments, beautiful architecture and a great nightlife, Paris lives up to the hype.
I’ve been thinking about visiting Paris for a while now; it’s been so high on my bucket list, I couldn’t justify visiting for just one day. So, when the team was gifted an extra day, I saw it as a sign! I hopped on Skyscanner, booked my flight and waved au revoir to my little town. I was off to Paris!
We arrived at the Paris Orly airport and spent about 20 minutes trying to find the taxi line. A hint for your future travels: the taxi line is outside of departures to the right. After grabbing a taxi, we headed to Montparnassee Tower just south of the Eiffel Tower and Champs Elysees. Travel about 689 feet to the top and you’ll get to take in an amazing panoramic view of all of Paris. Definitely a must see if you have the time!
Right across the street from the Montparnassee Tower lies a small restaurant named Cafe Brasserie serving traditional French cuisine. We stopped in here for a quick bite before heading out to site see.
We made our way to the Luxembourg Palace and Gardens, which was only about 15 minutes away. The gardens were exactly what I imagined Paris would be like. Grab a croissant and walk through the gardens. Stop at the Medici Fountain or chase the birds through the gardens. Crowds of people swarm the beautiful rows of statues and monuments all day, which makes it a great people watching spot (one of my favorite past times!).
They have Uber in Paris so we grabbed one and headed over to the Arc di Triomphe, at the end of the famous Champs Elysees. One of my favorite spots on the trip! The arc is absolutely breathtaking and stands in the middle of one of the busiest streets in all of Paris. You can go up to the top and get a great view of the Eiffel Tower. There isn’t an elevator but at merely 40 steps to the top, the trek isn’t too bad. Don’t try to cross the busy circle though to get into the arc! Instead, there is an underground tunnel on the Avenue de la Grande Armee side and you can get to the tunnel from Metro’s Wagram exit. It’s 8 euros for adults and 5 euros for students (which is 18–25 in Europe!).
You can’t go to Paris without taking a stroll down The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Famous for it’s high-end shopping and cafes, it’s worth it to just window shop down the road. Parisians often refer to the avenue as “la plus belle avenue du monde” or “the world’s most beautiful avenue” — and they’re right! I sadly wasn’t immune to the street’s charm and bought a new pair of Ray Bans (living in California you can never have too many!).
From the Arc de Triomphe, we began our walk to the Eiffel Tower. The tower is about a 30-minute walk away or you can opt for the Metro, which takes 20 minutes (take Metro #6 from Charles de Gaulle Etoile and get off at Bir-Hakeim. It’s about a 10-minute walk from there). When you think of Paris, you automatically picture the Eiffel Tower. I’d seen pictures and gawked over blog posts and Pinterest pins, but nothing could prepare me for seeing it IRL. It was amazing — I think I even got goosebumps! You can go to the top or just pitch a blanket and have a picnic and take it in. Wine, French bread and the Eiffel Tower as your backdrop? Yes please!
We headed to a local restaurant in a cute little neighborhood to the left of the tower. The restaurant offers world-renowned French cuisine, but we opted for French fries (they taste so much better in France!). And of course, what’s dinner without dessert? On the way back to the tower we stopped at a creperie and were not disappointed. I had the coconut Nutella crepe, and it was like heaven in my mouth.
As it began to get darker, we headed back to the Eiffel Tower. Believe me, the Eiffel Tower is magnificent during the day, but it’s whole different experience to see it at night. From top to bottom, the tower is completely covered in lights and illuminates over all the buildings of Paris. It seriously took my breath away.
Our Airbnb was located nearby — the area is a little pricier, but I recommend staying in the area because it is central to just about everything and a quick walk to some of the best parts of Paris. We got some wine and chocolate on the walk to our apartment and prepared to experience the Parisian nightlife.
The nightlife in Paris is sooooooo much fun. Between the bars in Montmartre, a burlesque show at Moulin Rouge, or the nightclubs near the Arc de Triomphe, there’s something for everyone.
A few places I recommend:
Le Hobo Club
After a fun night out that involved lots of dancing, we rolled out of bed around 11 am to start our day. We grabbed brunch at a local cafe patisserie close by called LaCombe. GREAT omelet’s and the brunch menu was amazing. Also, grab some of the homemade orange juice! I almost drank a whole pitcher (if only there was champagne to go along with it!).
I’m not really a foodie, but I love food! So, we couldn’t pass up a chance to stop in Ladurée and try the iconic DOUBLE DECKER macaroons that were created here. If you haven’t tasted a macaroon then you probably are a square (ahh bad jokes) because these little round pastries are the sweet tooth lovers dream. I ordered a box of six…for myself…and ate them all. What can I say, Fat Tuesday came early for me! Make sure to try their famous rose petal raspberry macaroon.
We grabbed an Uber (because it’s hard to walk when you’re as full as we were) and went straight to the world’s most visited museum — the Musée du Louvre. When they say you need four hours to see the whole thing, they aren’t lying. You can grab a fast pass ticket and skip the line or bite the bullet and wait about 30–40 minutes (in the off season) to enter. It was by far one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to. Even if you aren’t into art, you’re bound to find one piece you like in the museum — I mean, it does house the Mona Lisa. The Louvre is open everyday except Tuesdays and tickets cost 15 euros and it’s free if you are 18–25 and from Europe.
We walked about ten minutes to Cafe Angelina, which serves world famous hot chocolate that is basically liquid chocolate. Seriously. It’s served with a side of homemade whipped cream; go ahead and get yourself a pastry too. A fun fact that we learned while were sipping our hot chocolate — this is where Coco Chanel used to come every day and do her sketches.
We tried to fit in the Notre Dame Cathedral but just didn’t have time or energy. We grabbed an Uber and head to the airport. This was by far one of the hardest places to say goodbye to; I could’ve stayed for weeks. Au’revoir Paris.
Have you been to Paris? Share any tips below!