There are a few places in the world that come to mind when I think of travel. The most popular being Paris, France. My whole life I’ve seen people gush over Paris with more than enough movies highlighting the beauty of the city; the food, the music, the romance, and of course, the Eiffel Tower. Before visiting, I never understood the hype. However, when my friend’s boyfriend offered to treat us to two days in Paris for both of our birthdays, I absolutely could not say “no.”
After checking into our hotel (we stayed at the Grand Hôtel Lévêque, only a 10-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower), we walked as quickly as we could to make our 4:30 PM booking for the Louvre, the last time slot of the day. The museum suggest purchasing tickets prior to visiting, which we did, paying €17 each. Buy your tickets here. For 4:30 PM on a Monday afternoon, I was pretty surprised at how quickly we got in. There was no lineup outside and thankfully, there was hardly a crowd in front of the Mona Lisa. I wouldn’t say I care much for the painting, but can you even go to the Louvre without paying her a visit? No.
The museum is filled to the brim with incredible and breathtaking artwork. Ever since studying Art History in college, I’ve had it on my bucket list to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace, otherwise known as the Nike of Samothrace. There were plenty of people crowding around one of the most praised sculptures in the world, but if you ever visit, please take a moment to admire her.
The Louvre is the largest art museum in the entire world covering an area of 72,735 square metres (so wear good shoes!). Maybe we just got lucky, but I think because the museum is so large, our visit didn’t feel rushed. The crowds of people were respectful and moved at a good pace. Considering we were the last group of the day to enter, we covered a lot of ground.
Walking around Paris is like being in a movie and in some areas, can make you feel like you’re in a different time. The building are so picturesque, it’s hard not to daydream your life as a rich Parisian waltzing through your grand apartment (one day, one day). What else can I say about the architecture of Paris? It’s perfect. Watch Midnight in Paris and start planning your trip!
With only two days in Paris, I indulged in wine, Creme Brulee, French Onion Soup, Camembert and admittedly, some Mozarella Sticks from an Irish bar down the street from the Moulin Rouge (€200 for dinner and a show is just silly, sorry). Paris and food go hand in hand so make sure to look up well-rated restaurants when planning your itinerary. And please share your recommendations in the comments!
The Palace of Versailles
Another thing on my bucket list was to visit the Palace of Versailles. I fell in love with it after seeing Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette for the first time. For whatever reason, I didn’t think it was anywhere near Paris, but when we dropped our bags off in the hotel, I looked at the map and noticed that just outside of the city was Versailles. To me, nothing else on this short trip mattered.
The artwork and decor throughout the Palace are so ornate and exquisite that your stomach is likely to turn knowing that you’ll never walk through a place like this in the comfort of your sweatpants because it’s simply NOT YOURS.
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower had about the same appeal to me as the CN Tower in Toronto did before I visited, so I’m happy to report that she is indeed, a beaut. Seeing it in person, it’s hard to accept just how large it really is. The tower serves as a constant reminder to residents and visitors that, “wow, you’re in Paris!” The light show at night is so magical and will even turn an ice cube like me into a gushy romantic. Vendors nearby sell wine and other drinks, snacks, and in the winter months, even mulled wine is available.
The last thing we did in Paris was go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. For someone afraid of heights, I can’t say this was the best idea. The view was absolutely stunning, but I was happier with my feet on the ground. If you’re not one for heights either, think of visiting Paris in warmer months so you can have a picnic by the Eiffel Tower and admire it from below. We paid €25.50 for a lift to the top, but you can pay €16.30 for access to the second floor. Buy your tickets here.
No other city in the world that I’ve visited carries the same amount of magic and romance that Paris does. Everything they say is true. Whether you visit with a partner, a friend, or even alone, just go and experience this gem of a city. It truly is like nowhere else.
A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.