It’s one of the most-visited cities in the world, and along with popular tourist attractions come hordes of tourists and the downsides they can bring too. It can be a pretty city–so much beautiful architecture, the glittering Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero at night, the stained glass in Notre Dame–but it can also be unfriendly and dirty. Many of the locals get very sick of tourists. In general people were either quite rude to us or trying to aggressively sell us something. The city smells like cigarette smoke, so I even smelled like cigarette smoke when I got back to the hotel. There was lots of garbage and graffiti in some of the streets, and when we were leaving we saw two men in a violent fight outside the subway station. Don’t get me wrong, Paris is worth visiting for its rich history and art, but just don’t have your hopes set too high when you go!
1. The Eiffel Tower
It’s the quintessential symbol of Paris, and you need to see it! I recommend seeing it once during the day and once at night–be sure to both go up to the top for the great views of Paris and take a look at it from the Trocadero.
2. The Notre Dame
This beautiful, famous cathedral is free to visit, and in a really pretty area of Paris. The gargoyles and stained glass are both worth ogling, there is a serene, peaceful atmosphere inside, and there are also some great shops and a bridge of “love locks” nearby.
3. The Louvre
It’s the largest art museum in the world, and shouldn’t be missed while in Paris! The Louvre has a huge collection, including some great world-famous works of art, like the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa. Read tips on visiting the Louvre here.
There were some crazy stores along the Champs Elysees–one was featuring both cars and couture dresses, something about princesses and steel coaches?
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
I haven’t been there yet, but on my next trip to Paris I plan to visit the Palace of Versailles and Monet’s home in Giverny. Both I think would make great short trips outside of Paris!
Probably when Mickey and I put our “love locks” on the bridge behind Notre Dame. The whole area around Notre Dame was just beautiful, pretty much how most people imagine all of Paris.
As I said, more or less the whole city of Paris was a letdown, but my saddest moment was when I found out that we would only have two hours to explore the amazing Louvre!
We had some crepes near the Eiffel Tower–mine was a lemon sugar one, which was pretty tasty.
Despite not loving Paris, I can’t help enjoying the miniature (6″ or so) Eiffel Tower I bought there!
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
Well, basically you should go because it’s Paris. Everyone knows of it, plenty of people dream of going there, and a lot even decorate their homes in a Parisian style without having been there! I wouldn’t put it at the top of your bucket list, but it’s worth a trip to see well-known landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame, and the Arc de Triomphe, as well as fabulous art at the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay.