• Paula Gamble

One Week in Paris

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

Day 1

The first stop of the trip was in Paris, France. We arrived at 6:00am on Saturday morning in August, sun shining, mom bright eyed and bushy tailed and me, trailing behind in my no sleep daze after the 9.5 hour long-haul flight of no sleep.

After collecting our bags and whisking our way through security, we were in the Uber and on our way to our Airbnb in the heart of Le Marais. Located in the 4th arrondissement, Le Marais was once a part of the city’s Jewish quarter but has since transformed into a hip epicenter of bars, cafes, shopping, and restaurants. It’s also the place that Victor Hugo (who also has a museum in the area dedicated to himself) lived before his death.

Upon arrival, I quickly collapsed face-first onto the bed, where I then stayed for the next 6 hours, into early afternoon, at which time I was woken up and told to “get a move on” as “the day is wasting”. My mom, ladies and gentlemen.

We decided to start by wandering around the area first, without too much of a destination in mind, given the fact we were both so tired. In our, mindless meandering, we stumbled on the Picasso museum, one of the very places we had planned to go to the following day. The museum is small, but a fantastic addition to any trip to Paris. With detailed history on Picasso’s life and the lives of his muses, it’s a great way to spend an hour inside in Le Marais, especially when still daydreaming about getting back under the covers of the Airbnb 15 minutes away.

After the museum, a trek over to le Sacre Coeur was the next item on the itinerary. An hour and a half later strolling past Du Pain et des idees for croissants, Saint-Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, we ended up at the top of the hill at the square Louise-Michel where Sacre Coeur overlooks the city. Though I now have a hard time remembering much of the details, I took lots of pictures of the view, so I do know I actually ended up making it there.

A quick glass of wine on our way back was the last thing we managed before passing out once again at the apartment, asleep at 8 pm.

Day 2

After a rough night of sleep, day two was a slow start. On the hunt for fresh croissants, we found Tout Autour du Pain right by our apartment, offering what would end up being some of the tastiest snacks we have on the trip.

Afterwards, a quick paced walk past Centre-Pompidou led us to our booked bike tour location. The guide was fantastic, leading us all around the city in a group of 6, along the Seine, past the Notre Dame (in it’s full force), the Louvre, Pont des Arts, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the Tour Eiffel. Here are some of the pictures from that day:

For dinner, une salade nicoise and a crisp glass of wine, with soft piano music playing down the street from a local street artist. Heaven.

Day 3

A new day, a new patisserie. This time, Cyril Lignac in the north. Complemented with un chocolat chaud, and the day was already off to a great start. Places des Voyages was our next stop, where we stopped for a few minutes to sit and people-watch in the gorgeous square. With very few tourists and the sounds of French being spoken everywhere, it was very peaceful.

We headed south of the Seine to the 6th and 7th arrondissements. The Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church was unsurprisingly stunning, with elegant facades and timeless stone detailing that made you stop in your path and stare for a few moments. If you have time, definitely head inside and look around.

Luxembourg Gardens are a great place for a quick break mid-way through the day, and are free to enter. By the point in the day we arrived, it was already getting late and was cooling down, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you got a sunburn at mid-day, especially in mid-August when we were visiting.

Day 4

Our fourth day in the city was quiet, taking the time to look around and take in the city. Sitting by the Seine, eating crepes, and watching the sunset was all that really happened.

Day 5

Alright, back to sightseeing!

Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe and man, getting a good photo without any cars here should be an extreme sport. One of the busiest round-a-bounts (it felt like) in Paris sure is photogenic, but 5 minutes here was more than enough to soak up the Arc and move on.

Walking down the promenade, we found a few parks and snacks to keep us busy for the rest of the morning before heading over to our pre-scheduled appointment at the Louvre in the afternoon. With a much shorter wait time for pre-bought tickets, I highly recommend booking in advance, as no one wants to spend their precious time in Paris waiting in line.

Pro tip: Take the secret entrance with your pre-booked tickets, at the lions’ heads entrance. Though you won’t be entering under the super fancy glass cube, the queue lasts a fraction of the time - we waited about 35 seconds to get inside.

The museum itself could easily take up the better part of a day, with galleries going on for what feels like an eternity, with never ending oil paintings and artifacts as far as you can see.

If you’re brave, fight your way to the front of the room to get a precious picture of Mona. It took me about 20 minutes, and these two pictures show what it takes to get to the front.

And that was it! Hope this gives you some ideas for your next trip to Paris.

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