WARNING: RECREATION OF THIS BLOG POST WILL INVOLVE OVER 27,000 STEPS PER DAY.
A couple of weeks ago, I returned from my 4 days, 3 nights trip to Paris (it totals to about 72 hours). It was a city break with my Mum after finishing my A Levels this summer. Not to mention, Paris in the summer is spectacular.
First off, I want to say that you are having doubts about visiting Paris, clear them off now! My whole trip was an experience I will never forget. The city is full of culture, music and – of course – food! I am already planning my next trip back, maybe in December, to see Paris in Winter.
Second, 72 hours in Paris is enough! From reading this title, you may have thought, 72 hours… is that it? But I can assure you, I managed to see everything on my list and more…
So, How do you spend 72 hours in Paris? Just keep reading…
Tuesday Early Afternoon
Aim to arrive in the afternoon. We travelled from London to Paris on the Eurostar (which I highly recommend) and arrived at around 13:45. Buy a block of 10 metro tickets from the metro station and take the metro to your hotel. Our hotel check-in time was 14:00; so we were able to check in straight away. I recommend booking a hotel or Airbnb in the Latin Quarter because not only is this one of the nicer areas of Paris, it is close to the centre and has some of the cheapest food! Freshen up and head out to enjoy the rest of the day! First, head towards the Notre Dame. This is in the 4th Arrondissement – known as Le Marais. Grab a snack from a boulangerie along the way, by snack I mean a croissant, of course, the national food of France. Make sure you walk to the Notre Dame (it’s not that far!) as you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Paris whilst walking along the Seine. Once you’ve arrived at the Notre Dame, take a quick pic stop (see what I did there). OPTIONAL: You can head into the Notre Dame and see the amazing cathedral from the inside, but I recommend saving your money.
Tuesday Mid Afternoon
The perks of visiting Paris in the summer is that it is light in the city until about 10 pm. After leaving the Notre Dame, follow the Seine into the 1st Arrondissement to see the Lourve and the Tuileries Gardens. Whilst strolling along the Seine, you might catch a glimpse of our good ol’ friend, the Eiffel Tower. Once again, if you want to spend 100 euros to go and see an over-rated painting of the Mona Lisa, feel free, if not… let’s move on! One thing I do recommend is visiting the Tuileries Gardens, these are within the Palais Royal and they are absolutely stunning. Moving on from the Lourve, walk along the Seine and take your time to absorb the life and movement in Paris. Cross the Seine on the famous Love-Lock Bridge (please note: I think the original bridge, all the locks have been removed, but another one is forming…). Head in the direction of the Eiffel Tower in the 7th Arrondissement. Make a food stop in a Franprix, which is a supermarket chain in Paris. The one we stopped in on the way to the Eiffel Tower had a Salad Bar. It only cost 6 euros per person for a large bowl of salad, and then about 60 cents for a baguette. Also, paper bags are not free as they are in the UK. Once arriving at the Eiffel Tower, take a seat in the Park and enjoy your lunch. (please note: be aware that there are many sellers offering different souvenirs, try not to reply because they will eventually walk away.)
After taking in the view of the magnificent Eiffel Tower, cross the street and head towards the Trocadero Square. This has the best views of the Eiffel Tower and surprisingly wasn’t that busy in the Evening. Take a pic stop. There is always lots of musicians and dancers on the square, enjoy a moment watching. Stay here to watch the sunset over Paris.
WARNING: At this point, your feet may be tired and your shoulders may ache. But, the evening has just begun…
Leave Trocadero on the roundabout side and take a stroll down the avenue towards the Champs Elysees. From Trocadero, you will arrive near the Arc de Triomphe. Brave the horrendous roundabout and take a pic stop. The best photos are from the middle of the roundabout rather than directly under the Arc. I would recommend going up the Arc de Triomphe rather than the Eiffel Tower because the view of Paris is definitely better and you have the Eiffel Tower in your photos.
If you aren’t feeling too tired, walk along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and look at all the luxurious shops. (keyword here: look – very expensive shops). Head towards the nearest metro station and back to your hotel.
Welcome to the first full day in Paris. Take a moment to watch the city wake from the balcony view of your hotel. Then get ready to travel out to Versailles – home to the Palace of Versailles. If you want to save money, don’t spend it on the buffet breakfast provided at the Hotel, instead of this, step out and head to a street because I assure you, you will find a cute boulangerie. They are literally everywhere you turn. Grab some pastries and head towards your nearest metro station. Take the metro to the stop – Javel. Another photo opportunity of the Eiffel Tower from a distance. Buy a train ticket, and take the RER C line to the stop Gare de Versailles Chateau Rive Gauche.
Spend the morning at the palace, make sure you head out early to avoid the cues, aim to arrive between 9 – 10 am as this is when the palace opens. To skip the cues, buy your tickets in advance. I made the mistake of waiting in the ticket queue even though under 26-year-olds are able to get in free with a valid passport from the EU (please check this as I am not 100% sure). Take in the grandeur of the palace and make sure to get the free audio guide. Walk around the magnificent gardens and see the mini chateaus. My experience at the Palace taught me a lot about the history of the Royals in France and also, the magnitude and money they had made me understand why the French had a revolution.
Spend the afternoon exploring the town of Versailles. There are some cute shops and market stalls in Versailles. (I visited the LDS temple, as I am a Mormon and it is so beautiful and peaceful there, I would definitely recommend even if you’re not Mormon lol.) Grab lunch from a stand or a fast food shop; then head back to Paris for an evening of shopping and exploring more of the city.
Arrive back in Paris and take the Metro to Galleries Layfette Montparnasse. Embrace the Parisian style and culture with a spot of shopping in the 15th arrondissement. Then, walk back through the beautiful streets and buy a crepe at a sweet stand. The only type of crepes I bought was Nutella. My weak spot… As well as this, the shops will be starting to close and the pubs will be opening. If you are lucky, you may be the last customer at a pastry shop and they will gift you with free pastries to take home and enjoy. Take a stroll back to your hotel and digest the sweet sounds of a Paris summer evening.
Once again, an early start. It’s a museum day. Start the morning on the streets of Paris and grab some pastries (don’t worry all this walking is burning the calories off…), take a stop at the Fontaine Saint Michel. Thursday’s are market days in Paris, there is an opportunity to buy some Parisian scarves and bags from the stands. Head along the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. The Musee d’Orsay features some of the most famous pieces of artwork by Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Rodin.
From the Musee d’Orsay take the metro to the 18th Arrondissement. We are now entering the more residential areas of Paris. The 18th is home to the infamous Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge. But first stop, Sacre Coeur. Feel free to climb the 300 or so stairs to the top, others there is a little lift which takes you to the top level which only costs 1.90 euros (a metro ticket). From the Sacre Coeur take a pic stop and admire the skyline views of Paris. You never realise how big Paris is until you have seen this view. I would recommend heading to the back of the Sacre Coeur as it is significantly less busy and just as picturesque to get those Insta Pics. Also, there is a garden area which is like a sacred sanctuary from the business of Paris, behind the Sacre Coeur. After spending an hour or so admiring the beautiful church, the inside and the out (p.s. there is an opportunity to take time to reflect within the church), head back down the slope to the main streets and stop at a cute cafe for a quick drink. This is another cheap food area for all my foodies reading; so embrace it! Then head uptown towards the Moulin Rouge.
Thursday Late Afternoon
Now, I wouldn’t recommend visiting the Moulin Rouge at night, unless you are planning to take part in the nighttime entertainment (no judgements here). But, if you are visiting Paris as a family or even alone, I would say go mid-afternoon to admire one of the last remaining windmills in Paris and the area around. I went in the Late Afternoon and walking through the park towards the Moulin Rouge, I did feel that I was getting a few looks from certain people in the park, so I would definitely recommend going a bit earlier or with other people, if you are just visiting the area.
From the Moulin Rouge, there is a bus that takes you right across town to Trocadero for only 1.90 euros (metro ticket). A positive about Paris is that the transport is very advanced and easy to navigate. Enjoy an evening tour of the city as the bus heads through the winding streets back to the centre of Paris. Finish the evening enjoying the lights on Trocadero Square. Make sure to snap some photos.
WELL DONE!! You’ve made it to your last morning in Paris after countless steps walked through the old cobblestone streets, be proud to say, you have survived 72 hours in Paris. I spent the last morning to visit more of the Latin Quartier, this included a trip to the local natural history museum and the zoo. Then headed back to Gard du Nord on the Eurostar. HOME AT LAST…
If you have made it this far, thank you x
p.s. it took me a very long time to write this blog post, I lost motivation to blog, I had writer’s block, A-levels results day, something just didn’t want me to write but I want to document my life in the best way I know how… SO I’M BACK (again) and I’m ready to be better!
Thanks for reading and peace out,
Accidental Aspirationalists x