Intro: Paris is pretentious. Paris is magical. Paris is bohemian. Paris is the city of lights, and of love. It’s a city that demands your full-attention because it’s so full of life. Paris knows it’s a world-class city, and I can’t tell if I hate its snobbery or have the utmost respect for its confident approach to living! You can read my journal-style post about Paris here.
Eat: UNESCO has stated that Paris’ cuisine is a “world intangible heritage.” This is HUGE y’all. That doesn’t happen every day… or ever, really. From macarons at Ladurée (my favorites will forever be Marie Antoinette and Strawberry Creme!), to crepes from the corner cafes, food in Paris is a total experience. Wander into a restaurant where there is no fixed menu in seven languages and you’ll get the tastiest food. In a financial crunch? Go to Burger King. Dude, I’m serious. It’s so much better over there than here. THE BUNS DOEE.
Sleep: If you’re getting a hostel, I’d highly recommend St. Christopher’s. It’s not very walkable to the city center, but it’s a short metro ride away and the affordability makes up for it! It’s clean and large, and a chain. So you can trust it. You also get free breakfast and the beds have curtains. Now, I’m not saying to share a bed, but the couple next to us did (and only had to spend half the accommodation money we did), and got away with it… so if that fits into your ethical standards than so be it. I won’t rat you out.
Trek: We flew into Beauvais airport via Ryanair. It was then a $17 ride each way into town. The cheap flight kind of evens out the heavy coach ride fare, though Beauvais is almost an hour and a half away from proper Paris. Another option is to fly into Charles de Gaulle via EasyJet. From CDG, you can easily take the underground straight into city center Paris. Speaking of the underground, the Paris metro system is easily my favorite out of anywhere I’ve been. Thee old saying goes you’re never more than 500 meters away from a metro stop, and I believe it! It’s also insanely affordable compared to other world-class cities (looking at you, London). So, even if you’re staying a bit further out from town, as long as you’re near a metro stop it’ll cost you just $2 to get into the city center!
Do: I’ve been to Paris twice now and I still have things I want to do and see next time I go. It’s so large, you can’t absorb it all in one go. My favorite thing to do is have a picnic on the Eiffel Tower lawn, because it’s something so casual yet the fact that you’re at the Eiffel Tower makes it tres magnifique! Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle of wine, some French cheeses, and a loaf of French bread and make the trek over with all of the other 20-something bohemian travelers. After, make the trek up into the tower! Other things to do are tour the Sacré-Cœur Basilica (a lovely basilica with amazing views overlooking the city) in the Montmartre district and the bohemian streets all around there, take a picture in the front of the real Moulin Rouge, see the Arc de Triomphe (and walk down the Champs-Elysées while you’re over there anyway). A visit to Paris wouldn’t be complete without a tour of the Notre Dame Cathedral too! It’s beautiful and I’ll never forget when I went to mass there- and that was over two years ago! The Louvre is great too because who can say no to a selfie with the Mona Lisa? I haven’t been to the Musée d’Orsay but it’s on my list.
Summarization: I love Paris because it’s like that glamorous, worldly aunt you have the utmost respect for but also are slightly jealous of. I always welcome a trip there, because hello carbs and sugar are my love language. Go! You won’t regret it.
- Paris is known for pick-pocketing. I’m not trying to scare you, but just be extra alert.
- If you’re planning on seeing many attractions, it’s worth looking into the Paris Pass, which gets you free entry to a ton of things all around the city! The Paris Pass also gets you free transit, a great perk when you’ve been go go go all day.
- Sandeman’s Free Walking Tour was one of my favorite things I did this past time in Paris!
- If palaces are your thing, the Palace of Versailles is one of the most amazing palaces I’ve ever been in. On a student visa, you get free entry! It’s about a 30 minute train ride from Paris.
- Before you visit an attraction, look to see if there are discounts for visiting on a certain day, or if the attraction is closed on certain days! For example, the Louvre is free after 6pm on Fridays, and the Musée d’Orsay is closed on Mondays!