Paris is one of the my favourite European cities with its French cuisine, countless museums, historic architecture and charming parks. I treated my sister with two tickets to Paris for her 18th birthday so that she could go with her best friend to see the Christmas Markets. Because my family still had some reservations about her going alone, I had to go and just be their point of contact if they need. Who wouldn’t turn down tickets to Paris!?
In my opinion, Paris is not a once and done type of city. I would happily return again and again, especially with my husband. Paris is just so vase and there is so much to explore. Im going to give you a brief breakdown of what I did in each of the three days. You will find that it was pretty laid back because I went to Paris as an opportunity to de-stress from work and to re-connect with myself. In other words, I wanted to see the main attractions but also soap up the wonder of Paris at a street side café, indulge in way too many croissants at a local patisserie, watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night and just feel the city envelope you – that’s part of the Parisian charm!
As we went in late November, we were lucky enough to experience the French Charismas market. There’s an extra dose of magic when visiting Paris in winter. So dig out your scarf and glove and see the best three day itinerary for Winter.
After checking into the hostel, my sister and I parted ways. The first thing I always like to do is go on a free guided walking tours to learn more about the city’s history and to get my bearings. This is what I go up to on day 1:
I booked the walking tour with Sandman’s as I’ve used them before and know they are brilliant. The 3 hours ‘Free Tour of Paris’ covers many of Paris’ top attractions, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre and the Arc de Triopmhe. It started at the Saint Michel Fountain and ended at the Louvre. It was a great introduction to Paris at a price that suits everybody’s budget.
Notre Dame was the first stop of the walking tour and was the most architecturally impressive in my opinion. Like many other cathedrals, it was very intricately detailed and had some beautiful glass-stained windows. The cathedral has free entry so before the tour began, I quickly went inside to appreciate its beauty. Unfortunately, due to the huge fire last year, the church is closed for the foreseeable future until they do the repairs.
After walking along the Seine for about 40 minutes, passing iconic sites such as Alexandre iii bridge and the Tulleries Garden, the tour ended at the world-famous Louvre Museum. The louvre is home to hundreds of medieval ruins and priceless artefacts from around the world. It also happens to be the largest museum in the world. I did find the museum to be expensive as you have to pay for each separate section – so I just opted for the site with Mona Lisa and that was plenty for me. Catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa was on my bucket list, so I didn’t want to pass this opportunity by.
Even if you don’t plan to go inside, I would aim to at least visit the outside of the Louvre as the architecture is simply stunning.
The two grand shopping complexes along Boulevard Haussmann are Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Both stores are completely decked our with stunning window displays. I went to the stunning dome shaped 10 story Galeries Lafayette after dinning as I was keen to see the larger than life-sized Christmas tree, which has a different theme each year.
I loved just walking around each floor of the shopping mall. I bought a gold bracelet from this pop-up stall Lou Yetu as the queue was leading to outside the mall. It is also home to one on of the best free panoramic views in the city if you go its rooftop terrace. You can also ice skate on the roof of this department store, but as I was alone, I didn’t think it would be fun.
At this stage, i was absolutely exhausted and started to get hangry, with myself as i had no-one to aim my hanger towards. I have no idea where i walked or how long i walked for, but it seemed like more than an hour. I reached this neighbourhood which was evidently not very popular with the tourists. I was craving a duck confit and finally came across this adorable french restuartaunt. I had the nicest conversation with the waiter and ordered duck confit. I just remember sitting down and my head was so clogged up with thoughts about work, family, friends, life that i just pulled my notebook and started writing. I really enjoyed it, especially with the candle and dim-lit room. The food also exceeded my expectations! Im a terrible travel blogger as i should have noted down the name, but it felt good being lost in the moment.
En route to Eiffel Tower, we stumbled the most French street market you can imagine. It was the cutest thing – I picked up some cheese from here.
There is nothing more Parisian than catching a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. We also ascended the Eiffel Tower – even though it provided a great view over the city. I personally don’t think it was worth it, and you’re better off seeing from the top of Arc de Triomphe or another rooftop bar. Luckily there was no queue when we went so it didn’t necessarily eat up my time.
Arc de Triomphe
Another must-see in Paris is the Arc de Triomphe; a monument in honour of troops who fought in the French Revolutionary. Its located at one of the Champs Elysees and is looks very majestic. Its worth checking out from the outside and if you have the chance, to go up to the very top.
This is the oxford street of France – a huge boulevard lined with famous French luxury brands including Louis Vuitton and Cartier. I spent a long time just sitting outside in Paul café, reading my book, people watching and drinking coffee and eating their amazing pastries.
Dinner at Bouillon Chartier
I heard great things about the Bouillon Chartier. It shows a slice of Parisian history as its perfect-preserved relic of an old Paris, with glass-globe fixtures, tables jammed together, coat racks high above the tables and a menu that hasn’t changed in the last three or four decades. I was eternally curious…
Bouillon Chartier is tucked away down an alley off a side street, Bouillons were established so anyone can get affordable traditional French food and speedily. There are very few left and the price of started range from €1 – €6.80 and mains not exceeding €13.50 (and that includes steak). Its no wonder there was a queue snaking outside into the street. I expected lots of tourists, but I surrounded by the locals. It wasn’t too long before I was sat in this beautifully ast room, elbow to elbow with some strangers on a shared table and digging into my steak.
Going to a restaurant is an experience and never just about your meal. Its about the room, the service and everything in between. The steak I had was absolutely delicious but the experience was even better.
I wanted to do something slightly different on the third day and explore a new district. I was recommended by my colleague to go to Montmartre to soak up with 18th arrondissement’s ambiance. I definitely did not regret it as it was my favourite part of the trip. The hilltop neighbourhood of Montmartre was once synonymous with drinking, dancing and debauchery. This is because in the mid-19th century, it was just outside the city limits meaning it is free of the city’s taxes and controlled and ultimately evolved into a bohemian, artistic enclave. I did a self-guided walking tour of this unique city.
This stunning location is named after Dalida, a legendary Italian-Egyptian singer who is absolutely huge in France. I just know her from her rendition of Bang Bang, which is just perfection.
Dalida’s Parisian home was in Montmartre and it was only after she died that the city named this square after her and installed the bust of her. You’ll notice a few shiny places because its apparently good luck to rub it – hmmmm. Say hi to the bust of Dalida and continue up the stunning Rue de l’Abreuvoir, the most beautiful street I saw in Paris.
This Is the birthplace of the can-can dance. I wanted to go to a show here but the tickets were sold out. Maybe next time…
Le Moulin de la Galette
Le Moulin de la Galette is the last remaining windmills in Montmartre and also a tourist attraction. This windmill, once used for grinding flour is a favourite of Vincent Van Gogh. The owners of the windmill created a brown bread (Galette) that was so popular that the windmill got its name from it.
Built in late 1800s, Sacre Coeur, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is one of the most famous churches in Paris. I enjoyed going inside the church and also just enjoying the sunset over the city. However – be cautious with your personal belongings as there many pickpockets around.
I couldn’t leave Paris without trying a fresh Macaron from a bakery. I came across one on the way back to the accomodation and was blown away. It was so fresh and sweet that i had to go back and buy a box for my family!
Do you have any questions about travelling to Paris that I didn’t answer? Be sure to leave them in the comments, and I’ll get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂
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