In 2009 I headed off on a three day trip to Paris with a then boyfriend. After a messy arrival and a laid back first day we went full out to pack in as much as possible on our remaining two days. From the Louvre, to the Statue of Liberty we made the most of our time in the French capital.
After our first day, we made sure to have a nice early start of day two in Paris and having finally figured out how to utilise the subway journey’s it made maneuvering town is a bit easier.
Our first stop of the day is The Louvre Museum; world famous and of course home to the Mona Lisa. It also has quite a hefty admission price but we really fell on our feet here as while trying to figure out one of the ticket machines a gentleman came up to us with two tickets. Apparently he didn’t realise his children (children as in under 26 as is custom in most of Europe) could go free as French citizens and so offered us his extra tickets. We did offer to pay for them but the he refused which was exceptionally generous of him. Since our visit I think all EU Area citizens under 26 are now given free entry so bargain if you’re in the category
We spend a long time in the Louvre, the exhibits are extensive and it’s a lot of walking but there is definitely plenty of things to see. My travel buddie would have happily spent the whole day in the museum but luckily I was able to keep him moving along. If you have the time this is definitely somewhere to while away many hours but if you, like us, have limited time picking out a couple of areas to focus on and having a set amount to time in the museum will allow you to fit more of Paris’ attraction in.
Though there are many attractions to the Louvre, housing many famous exhibits and art pieces, by far the most well known is the Mona Lisa. Even if you know nothing about art you will of course be aware of the Mona Lisa. What you might not know is that it is actually really tiny. It was also very difficult to get close to or photograph as visitors are kept well back, it is kept is dim lighting and no flash photography allowed. The crowds gathered around it were quite exceptional though.
After what seemed like forever in the Louvre we went for a walk around near by, including past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel before our return to the Eiffel tower. Visiting in January means it’s dark pretty early so we opted to take a second trip to the Eiffel Tower, this time heading up the tower to check out the view over Paris and all the twinkly lights of the city.
Unfortunately, all our photos while up the Eiffel Tower turned out very blurry but it was a lovely view in all directions even if very, very cold! Like many tall tower attractions you can buy tickets to different levels of the structure. We opted for one of the lower observation decks which is a lower cost but we felt we still had a perfect visit and certainly didn’t feel like we had missed out by not going higher.
Our third and final day in Paris was our busiest. Another nice early morning and all packed ready for our flight later in the day before heading off to explore some more of Paris before jetting back home late night. Notre-Dame Cathedral was first on the list.
When we first arrive it nice and quiet but it wasn’t long until it soon busied up so even in winter early mornings are key if you want to beat the crowds. We wandered about inside and looked at the amazing colourful stained glass windows and enjoyed the very peaceful atmosphere. We even paid a few euros to see another section of the cathedral which were given the impression was to see the upper half of the church or the bells tower but this turned out not to be the case and instead gained access to an area which houses some of the more valuable silverware and other intricate church items. Sometimes you need a little more than high school level French.
While everyone associates the Statue of Liberty with New York City, the statue was originally a gift to the United States from the French people and several replicas of the Statue of Liberty sit right here in Paris.
This one sits on the Île aux Cygnes, River Seine and supposedly faces the much larger US version on Liberty Island in New York. Who knew that 5 years later I would get to go see the full sizes one in Manhattan during a week long stay in New York.
Next stop is the site of the Bastille Castle and the July Column; a massive monumental column in the center of the Place de la Bastille which commemorates the 1830 French Revolution.
As we continue our Paris walk, we head on past Luxembourg Palace, now the location of the French Senate, it was previously a royal residence, meaning it is very fancy and ornate building set in large gardens which are very beautiful spot for a nice walk.
After a lot of walking and a packed day our final stop is the Panthéon in the Latin Quarter in Paris before we head back to the airport for our late night flight home.
For three days in Paris you can pack a lot in and making use of the subway system is great if you plan to take in lots of different locations in one day. Of course there are so many more things to discover in Paris and we only scratched the surface but if plan your time well you can certainly cover a lot of the key attractions if not in great depth!