After spending some time in Grenoble (read about it here!), the next stop in our European travels was Paris. As one of the most iconic cities in the world, Paris is a city I’ve dreamed of visiting my entire life, and it didn’t disappoint.
On our first day in Paris, my dad and I visited the Eiffel Tower. We bought our tickets online the day before and were able to bypass the entire ticket line and basically walk right into the elevator. The tower has three levels and you can buy your tickets according to how high you would like to go… we wanted to reach the very top, obviously!
Overlooking Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower… what a view!
Once we were back down on the ground, we found an area of little street shops selling everything from scarves to jewelry to food to wooden crafts. One thing that seemed popular in both French cities we visited is hot wine, so we bought a couple cups from a stand here to try for the first time.
I saw this painted near the Eiffel Tower, and loved it.
Next we began making our way over toward the Arc de Triomphe, one of the most famous monuments in Paris. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the traffic around it… I’m pretty sure if I ever tried to drive in such a huge traffic circle I would crash! It looks so chaotic!
We spent the rest of our evening shopping down the Champs Elysées and taking in the sites, like this beautiful ferris wheel.
And of course, we had to hit up Ladurée for some macarons!
We happened to stay right down the street from the Louvre museum, so on our first night in the city I insisted we go take a look at the pyramid, all aglow.
We also took one of our mornings in Paris to go inside the museum. The Louvre property is so beautiful, with fountains and pyramids in the courtyard and an inverted pyramid inside.
One of the most famous pieces in the Louvre is the Mona Lisa. I’ve heard that the area around the Mona Lisa is usually really crowded, so much that some people don’t even get close enough to see it well. When we visited, the room was nearly empty. I was able to walk right up to the front of the viewing area and snap as many photos as I wanted (no flash allowed, though!). One of the perks of traveling in December, I guess!
Another perk of traveling in December? The holiday lights. Everything is more enchanting when decorated for the holidays.
Overall, Paris ended up being one of my favorite cities of our trip. I can’t wait to go back!
My travel tips for Paris:
- Buy your Eiffel Tower tickets online. It helped us avoid at least an hour-long line for the ticket booth at the tower. The tickets online are sold in time slots, so we just bought ours the night before, printed them off, and walked right on!
- There are multiple entrances to the Louvre, and most of them have shorter lines. The most popular entrance to the Louvre is through the pyramid in the courtyard, which usually has hundreds of people in line. However, there are several other entrances into the Louvre that are much less busy. We used the Carrousel entrance on the northern side of the museum… just take the escalator down into the little shopping center and you’ll find an underground entrance right into the museum. We bought our tickets inside at an automated machine and had zero wait time.
- Shopping tip: French brands are typically less expensive because there are no import/export costs. This is an obvious one, but I was delighted when I found that brands like Chanel, Dior and Longchamp were less expensive than in the US.
- Location tip: We stayed right on the Tuileries Garden, and loved its proximity to everything. We had a beautiful park right across the street, and from there we were able to walk to the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Arc di Triomphe, and everything in between.
Have you read my other Eurotrip posts?
- Traveling Europe: Rome, Italy
- Traveling Europe: Venice, Italy
- Traveling Europe: Geneva, Switzerland
- Traveling Europe: Grenoble, France
- Traveling Europe: London, England
Have you seen my Europe video yet?