Landing in the French capital was no less an adventurous trip to me. Yet, on my first morning, I woke up to a wonderful surprise of light snowfall even when the weather change was imminent and the arrival of spring expected. That did raise my excitement levels at the experience of this tiniest blessing of nature since coming from Delhi in India we never get to see *real* snowfall. However, snowfall also means bad weather, or maybe even rains which can be a spoilsport sometimes. Although, I try not to let bad weather ruin my vacation, though one can’t compete with mother nature..right? It’s better to be prepared, in my case I wasn’t!! I wasn’t because I didn’t do the rain check, I didn’t get proper clothes and even forgot an umbrella – never considered packing one :D. But..but despite all these difficulties, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in the city of lights and tried to cover all the must-do places. So, here’s I’m presenting all the things one must do, see and even eat while in Paris.
I started my day at Café De Trocadero for breakfast, opted for an omelet and a cappuccino to beat the chilly weather. An amazing restaurant in a typical Parisian residential neighborhood although more like a touristy one because of great views of Eiffel Tower with excellent quality of food and top-notch service. Do visit the restaurant to get an impression of Parisian lifestyle, passing cars and tourists finding their way to Palais de Chaillot while enjoying direct views of the most spectacular tower in the world. Enjoying coffee in the restaurant will be one of the most romantic things to do in Paris, so don’t shy away from bringing your date to Cafe De Trocadero!!
How can one visit Paris, and not see Eiffel Tower? So, I started my stroll towards Eiffel Tower as I believe what better medium to explore a European city than barefoot. Well, it was quite a walk which I underestimated to be close but actually was not, although totally worth it!! While crossing Seine bridge ~ Pont d’Iena, overlooked some souvenirs shops and promised myself about purchasing some on my return, which I missed and I know I shouldn’t have!!!
Finally, reached the iconic 324 meters high Eiffel Tower acquiring its name from Gustave Eiffel’s company which designed & built the tower. Completed in 1889, the tower served as the entrance to the World Fair’89 & held skepticism in its construction, instead turned out to be a global icon. The 81-story building ~ the tallest building in Paris has three levels for visitors accessible via stairs & lift and the observation deck showcases the bird’s eye view of the city. The monument can be seen usually from any part of the city, but standing right below the Eiffel gives you a feeling you might never have before. I settled on a bench opting for a cappuccino in the cold weather with a packet of chips enjoying the view. This will be one of the best things to do in Paris and will give you a memory for a lifetime.
#Arc De Triomphe
Continued my quest towards Arc De Triomphe while admiring the architecture of the city and another 30 minutes of walk brought me to my destination. It is one of the most famous monuments of Paris honoring the fighters of the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Located in the center of Charles De Gaulle, the monument stands high since it’s construction in 1836. There are 284 steps to the top of the Triomphe and the observation deck showcases the best panoramic views of the Paris city. The roundabout around the monument is currently the busiest traffic Triomphes in Europe. Sightseeing in Paris must include a walk to the Arc De Triomphe.
I couldn’t visit the observation deck because of the long queue for the ticket and hence I returned back capturing pictures from outside. My phone’s battery was drained so I couldn’t even locate the way back to the hotel. Following my gut, I backtracked and lost my way and reached Victor Hugo street where I did window-shopping and a lovely lady in Zara helped me with my way back. Although, this walk turned out to be the one I remember about Paris making me feel sometimes it’s better to travel without phones!
#Musee de Louvre
A visit to the French capital can never be complete without feeling its art culture persistent for centuries. World’s largest museum, an architectural marvel, a photographic gem and illuminating star is the museum Paris has a gift for tourists!! Even, so many books and movies have revolved around the art collections from this particular museum and some movies have also been shot here and thus this museum is one of the top sights in Paris. If visiting the museum in Peak season, plan accordingly as the museum is known to host millions of visitors annually so the entry or ticket counters queue can be overwhelming for some.
#Notre Dame de Paris
The historic cathedral which took over 2 centuries to be built completely is another prime vantage point associated with the Parisian city. Showcasing finest French-Gothic architecture, the cathedral stands high at 130 meters and the steps leading to the top of the church features some of the best views of the capital. Did you know this particular cathedral is one of the largest church buildings in the world? Read more about the historical facts surrounding the cathedral in the detailed post – here.
#La Défense ~ La Grand Arche
The Trocadero metro station was just 5 mins from my hotel from which took me straight to Gare de La Défense – a metro station in Europe’s largest office complex located just beneath the Grand Arche in the west district of Paris.
The Arche is approximately in shape of a cube and is placed on a secondary axis with two tallest buildings in the city – Tour Eiffel & Tour Montparnasse. The roof of the Arche was open to the public for views of the city until 2010 but unfortunately closed after an incident in elevators. Read more about La Defense in my detailed post here!! After completing the Grand Arche Tour, I was left with half a day for exploring the city, so my voyage continues 🙂 There are a variety of things to see in Paris, while no one recommends this urban side of Paris. I highly recommend taking Paris metro and enjoy cheap shopping and skyscrapers here.
A trip to the iconic city of love can never be complete without tasting some typical French cuisine. Beautiful start of a morning with a freshly baked Croissant and a coffee served with chocolate. Smell how crepes are being prepared at every nook and corner of the alleys in the city. And yes not to forget, the famous macarons in different flavors now easily found everywhere in the world yet Parisian ones have a special feel to them…isn’t it? You can various delicacies specific to Europe filled with their regional specialties and same is the case with typical Parisian cuisine. You’ll not leave disheartened if you taste some of them in the French capital and that will be the memory which will stay on your Paris visit forever.
These are my must-see places from Paris, still confused about what to see in Paris? Read these 21 things to do in Paris on your first trip from Chandrima From “Travel Stories Untold“.
Have you been to Paris?? Do share your experience with me!!
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— The Wanderer