As we were in France this year on our annual holiday I managed to convince the husband to let me go to Paris for one day on my own and whizz around the beautiful capital taking in as much as I possible could before returning to my family.
I did some research and discovered that the top five monuments are quite spread out, I decided to use the river cruise and hop on hop off bus to cram the most in to my day, you can read about it all here One Day in Paris but at a quick glance here are my top five places to see in Paris.
The Eiffel Tower
A beautiful structure and international symbol of France, the Eiffel Tower has to be at the top of my list. It is located by the river on the Champ de Mars and attracts 7 million visitors a year. For this very reason I suggest booking your tickets online if you want to go up it, you will still have to queue but it will be one queue less and trust me you’ll be thankful for that by the end of the day. There are shops, restaurants and even a champagne bar but remember to book the restaurant in advance.
Museè du Louvre
The Louvre Museum is known world over for being home to Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa oil painting but there is so much more to discover in this art gallery that I would suggest you take a few hours to visit and make the most. On the website they are offering an App downloadable for free to act as a guided tour. 10 million people visit each year so it would be wise to book your tickets online and cut down the queues.
Notre Dame de Paris cathedral
One of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the Notre Dame de Paris, is open all year round and it is free to enter inside but there will be a queue at the door, are you beginning to see a pattern here? The cathedral is open from 8am to 6.45 pm and service times can be found on their website. It is possible to climb the towers from a side entrance. There is a small charge of €8.50 per adult and last climb up the 387 steps is at 6pm (45 minutes before closing) There are no lifts so it has to be the stairs.
Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe stands in the middle of a massive and VERY busy roundabout, please don’t try to cross the road, take the subway that goes under and pops up right beside this beautiful monument. Best photos are taken from the central islands of the Champs Elysees but up close you can see the wonderful sculptures and the memorial flame. The monument is open for the best part of the year and it is possible to climb to the top, stairs only. Queue alert. The best day to visit would be July 14th Bastille Day.
Avenue des Champs Elysees
I love the Champs Elysees and I spent a lot of time there on my One Day in Paris tour, onboard my Hop on Hop off bus I listened to Joe Dassin sing the very French ‘Aux Champs Elysées’ and it really got me in the mood. Beautiful buildings line both sides, a very wide avenue and trees running the entire length. Some of the best stores world wide can be found including Laduree where if you are a macaron lover like myself you might like to pop in to buy a few to take home.
Extras to squeeze in
Galeries Lafayette – There are a few buildings in proximity of each other that make up Galeries Lafayette and you want to aim for the main one as right in the centre of the building is the most fantastic glass dome roof letting in light and shining beauty on the golden balconies looking down from the floors to the bottom. Lots of photos on my blog. It is stunning, please go. Also while you are there take the elevators to the 7th floor where there is a roof top terrace, all free of charge and you can see the most fantastic views of the rooftops of Paris.
Cruise on the Seine – About an hour long cruise going from the foot of the Eiffel Tower and returning to the same point. A beautiful way to see parts of Paris offering totally new views.
The bridge of love locks – it used to be just the one bridge, Pont de l’Archeveche but lovers ran out of space and now many locks can be found on all bridges and embankments of the River Seine. It is romantic, it is pretty and makes a good photo BUT it’s ruining the bridges of Paris so we are now being kindly asked to not leave our love locks anymore. I think that’s quite fair don’t you?