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A view of Paris from Sacre Coeur

Things To Do In Paris: Be A Tourist! (Part 2)

May 19, 2013

A view of Paris from Sacre Coeur

I’m not gonna lie, I think doing touristy things can be awfuly cheesy.

But when it’s your first time visiting a new place, it IS a shame to skip out on seeing all those world-famous tourist sites.

So, let’s continue with the second part of the Touristy Things To Do in Paris series, which I hope will be useful for those who are visiting Paris for the very first time.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to read Part 1.

Now, I know many would argue that this list is not complete. And I agree, there are many many Oh, so Parisian! things that one could do while visiting Paris.

But, if you are only passing through the city for a couple of days and you are pressed for time, then these are the places and activities that are a must!

6) Visit The Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur is the beautiful cathedral that’s sitting on top of the hill of Montmartre. While the inside of the cathedral is well worth a look, the real reason to come up here is the stunning view of the city of Paris from the top of the hill.

On a sunny day, you can come prepared with a basket filled with sandwiches and a bottle of wine, sit out on the grassy knoll and have yourself a nice little picnic. Along with the rest of the world, who’ll probably have the same brilliant idea as you.

In the same area, you can find lots of cute little shops, restaurants and café’s. And many small and quiet cobbled paths for you to explore.

Sacre Coeur

7) Climb Montparnasse

Montparnasse is quite easy to spot as it is the only skyscraper within the city limits of Paris.

Almost all the buildings in Paris adhere to the same elegant look and height of six floors. So Montparnasse, with its 59 floors and outdated 70s mod look, is really the odd one out.

But even though Montparnasse is the ugly and embarrassing hulk of Parisian architecture, the view provided at the top is even better than the one that you see from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

People say it’s the best view, because when you’re on top of Montparnasse, you can’t see the ugly building you’re standing on!

Montparnasse

8) Ride the Bateaux-Mouches

This is an easy (ahem, lazy) way to take in a lot of different sights. Just hop on one of the boats that cruise up and down the Seine river.

During the ride, the sights are pointed out and explained to the passengers. I would recommend doing a boat ride especially during the summer, when you can sit out on the deck and enjoy the breeze and wave to the people sitting on the river bank.

Many of the boats also offer a dining experience. Among the different dining boats to choose from, I’ve ridden on the Calife. It’s not a typical bateau-mouche, but I recommend it for its quaint charm and appetizing menu.

Bateaux Mouches

9) Go On A Bike Tour

This is a more active way to get around and learn about different historical sights. Although I’ve never been on a bike tour before, I recommend going on one because everyone I’ve seen biking around in a tour group always looks so happy!

There are different kinds of bike tours you can go on. You can go on a night time bike tour, hidden treasures of Paris bike tour, and even a wine bike tour! If you’re concerned about the safety of going on such a tour, it’s good to know that Paris is very bike friendly and the tour will probably only take you through the safest routes.

Two of the more popular bike tours are Blue Bike Tours and Fat Tire Bike Tours.

Bike Tour

10) Visit the Arc De Triomphe

The Arc De Triomphe is the magnificent arch at the end of the Champs-Elysées avenue.

It is probably the third most iconic structure of Paris (after the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame cathedral). It was built in honor of soldiers who fought and died during different French wars, and etched on the walls are hundreds of names of soldiers.

For those who are interested in military history, there is an “eternal” flame that burns under the arch in honor of the unknown dead soldiers from both world wars.

You can also climb the arch to get a panoramic view of Paris. Afterwards, you can make your way down along the Champs-Elysées and go into all the different luxury name brand stores.

Arc De Triomphe

While you’re here…

Take a little bit of time to sit outside one of the café’s and sip on an adorably small cup of espresso. It’s a great way to relax and do some people watching. This is definitely one of those activities that are oh, so Parisian!

So there you go.

Now hopefully, you have some ideas of all the famous places to visit in Paris!

Things To Do In Paris

Things To Do In Paris: Be A Tourist! (Part 1)

April 20, 2013

Things To Do In Paris

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Paris related post.

And since my friends and family have been asking me to do one, and since my older brother is coming to visit me next week, I’ve been thinking about all the fun things you can do in this beautiful (but sometimes very maddening) city.

So! For everyone who’s been curious and asking me about what you can do when you come here for a visit, here is my list of the Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris. 

And by touristy, I mean all the things that EVERYONE does when they come here. So if you are looking to join the “Paris Tourist Club”, then the following places and activities are A MUST!

1) Climb The Eiffel Tower. Duh.

Okay, not everyone actually does this. Parisians don’t do this. And I haven’t done this. Mainly because I’m averse to long lines and waiting around for hours. But I’ll finally do this when my brother comes to visit.

I’m sure the view from the top will be absolutely worth it.

You can pay a small fee to take the elevator or climb the stairs, but only up to the 2nd level. To get to the very top, you have to take the elevator all the way and pay €14,50. For more information, visit The Eiffel Tower’s Official Website.

eiffel-tower copy

2) Visit The Museums 

Paris itself is kind of like a big museum. Even if you do nothing but walk around, it’s already like getting a free history lesson. But if you’re really intent on getting the most out of your time here, then you can steamroll through some of the biggest and most visited museums.

There’s the Louvre of course, which houses the Mona Lisa and A BUNCH of other stuff. And then there’s the Pompidou, which is filled with contemporary art and A BUNCH of other stuff.

There’s also a long list of smaller museums to check off. Like the Musée D’Orsay, the Picasso Museum, the Rodin Museum, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Orangerie and so on and so on. Basically, you can spend all of your time in Paris walking through museums and still lack the time to see everything.

If you’re a museum lover, I suggest you look into getting the Paris Museum Pass.

Inside The Louvre

3) Visit The Notre Dame Cathedral

After the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral is the second most iconic structure in Paris. It is located in the heart of the city, sitting on a little island surrounded by the Seine river.

There is so much gothic detail to admire from the front that people often forget the back of the Cathedral is also magnificent to behold!

You can go into the main part of the Cathedral for free. There’s often a Catholic mass going on inside. I’ve even seen people go into confessional booths to talk to priests.

If you want to climb the towers, you have to get in line and then pay a small fee to climb a seriously long, steep flight of stairs.

The Notre Dame

4) Walk Through The Catacombs

Paris has many secrets. Beneath the charming buildings and cobbled streets, there are numerous dark underground passages filled with remnants from the past.

The Catacombs is an underground network filled with the bony remains of around 6 million people. These bones and skulls were relocated in the late 18th century from cemeteries in central Paris, after they became too crowded and caused unsanitary conditions.

Now the Catacombs are open for the public to explore. The tour will take you from one part of the city and you’ll come out in another part. In other words, it is a long sprawling network of creepy delight. Not for the squeamish, the faint of heart or people who suffer from claustrophobia.

Though there are people who go together here on their first date!

Paris Catacombs

 5) Take A Stroll In The Gardens

The French love Nature! As long as Nature follows a few certain rules…

In order to get some face time, Nature must be orderly, controlled, manicured, symmetrical, well-coiffed and well-behaved. I can think of no better example of this than the way French gardens are manicured.

Seriously though! French gardens are impressive displays of how humans have shaped and tamed their natural environment.

My favorite garden in Paris is the Tuileries, which extends from the Louvre. I love the Tuileries mainly because it’s my playground. But other people also really love the Jardin de Luxembourg. I don’t go to that one very often. That’s like, on the other side of the river.

Other gardens you must visit: the one in the Rodin Museum (for the amazing statues) and the Jardin de Plantes (for the tropical green house).

Me Standing In The Garden

To be continued!

I’ll write the 2nd part of the “Top 10 Touristy Things To Do In Paris” next week. And keep an eye out for other “Things To Do In Paris” posts.

You can also check out my “Paris My Love” series.

Hasta pronto!