Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Paris for the first time, and since then it’s left me wanting to go back and explore more of the wonderful city. Like many other people visiting Paris on a budget, we only had a short stay there (2 nights definitely isn’t enough time to see all of Paris!), so I decided to compile a list of the places you MUST see on your first trip to Paris!
The Eiffel Tower:
Yes, it’s definitely the obvious choice, but everyone visiting Paris HAS to go and see the Eiffel Tower. When I was younger I thought it was a bit over-stated, but seeing it up close made me realise the beauty of it, and how incredible it really is! It was lovely sitting beneath the tower as the sun started to set with a bag of fries and my better half, and it’s something I’d recommend for anyone’s first night in the city!
The Notre-Dame is another of those must-sees for Paris – both the inside and out! We arrived on the first day before dropping the suitcase off at our hotel, so just to warn you that you’re not allowed in with one, but it just gave us a good excuse to come back the next day! The outside is surrounded by beautiful gardens to wander round in and a large square facing the entrance, so not getting in on the first day didn’t feel like much of a hardship. In this area, there are also lots of little stalls selling artwork quite cheaply, so even if you’re not interested in buying, it’s nice to wander down by the river to have a look. We also got on a boat ride down the river outside of the Notre-Dame, which was a lovely way of seeing more of Paris on a hot day!
Even though we were only there for three days, I lost count of the number of crepes we ate! In little cafes, street-side stall and one rather fancy restaurant, the crepes in Paris were delicious!
Saint-Germain is a beautiful little neighbourhood filled with shops, cafes and restaurants, and is a lovely place to wander round for a couple of hours! We strolled round drinking slushies, taking in the atmosphere and although we didn’t buy anything (the shops are quite expensive) it was nice to wander in and out of them! If you want to avoid the big touristy places and get more of a feel for Paris, I’d head here!
The Sacre-Coeur and Montmartre:
Another obvious choice, but the Sacre-Coeur is one of the most impressive buildings that I’ve ever seen. Walking up the hill from the metro station, it suddenly appears out of nowhere and dominates the whole landscape. Sitting at the bottom by the carousel is lovely, giving excellent views of the Sacre-Coeur (although watch out for pick-pockets and con-men in this area, as they suddenly engage you in conversation to trick you out of your money), while the views at the top over Paris are incredible. You can either can a tram to the top or walk – although it is incredibly steep! Although we didn’t go inside, I’ve heard that the insides are beautiful, so if you’re there I would recommend it!
Montmartre, which is located at the top near the Sacre-Coeur is also a wonderful area, filled with painters and art, cafes and stalls. We had a very relaxing couple of hours wandering round and looking at the paintings (and wanting to buy them), and sitting in a café people watching, so if you decide to visit the Sacre-Coeur, make sure not to miss Montmartre!
Walk down the River Seine:
Gareth and I made the perhaps rather foolish error of underestimating just how enormous Paris is, and decided to walk from the Notre-Dame down to the Eiffel Tower by the River Seine. This took absolutely aggges and was exhausting, but it meant that we saw much more of Paris than we would have done if we’d caught the Metro. We saw all of the beautiful bridges – including the bridge which has now established itself as the new padlock bridge after they were torn off of the other one – and it felt like we really got a feel for the atmosphere of Paris. So whether it’s a long walk or a short one, I’d take some time to wander down by the river and enjoy the weather (if it’s nice of course!)
While this list may be filled with cliché places, I feel like that’s mainly because no-one can deny that these are some of the best and most beautiful places to visit in Paris! What do you guys think? 🙂