My first trip to Paris was a day trip which lasted around 17 hours. I arrived at 6:00 am and left at 23:30 pm. I booked my time with am to pm tours a well-known travel bus company which operates in Germany. It is specifically geared at international students and young people. It was an extremely long and tedious bus ride. The upside is that I managed to make travel buddy friends. I got on the bus alone and exited with a group of 3 other people. Before I went on this trip I was told that I was insane because I wouldn’t even be able to go up the Eiffel Tower let alone go visit the Louvre. I proved the naysayers wrong. And arrived in Paris on the 30th of April 2016. On my big sisters birthday. if you plan on spending time in Paris my highlights will be a useful guide.
Go see the Eiffel tower
It is the ultimate must-see in Paris; take a photo in front of the tower. Go to the top if you are under 25 years old you get to go up for FREE. There are a few ways to skip the queue of the Eiffel tower.
You can book directly from the Eiffel Towers website:https://www. toureiffel.paris/en/rates-opening-time , anyone can buy tickets on the official website up to two months in advance for a specific time (up until 9:30pm) to access the summit (as well as the 1st and 2nd floors) via the elevator. The tickets sell out fast and even with a summit ticket which includes the lift you’ll have to switch elevators on the second level, on the way up and down. Usually, there are lines for this and you won’t be able to skip these lines.
Pre-book to get to the second floor and if you want you can purchase a ticket from there to go to the summit. This way you will skip the lines. The view from the second level is still breathtaking so don’t worry if about the summit too much.
The lift ticket to the Eiffel Tower’s (1st floor) is included in the cost of booking lunch at the Eiffel Towers restaurant, 58 Tour Eiffel Resturant. The restaurants’ website allows you to book lunch for the 12pm or 1.30pm timeslots. The cheapest lunch costs €39. You have to go to the Resturants’ welcome desk which you will find at the Esplanade 30 minutes before your lunch reservation time to collect your lift ticket. This restaurant ticket gives you faster and simple access to the restaurant using the priority queue. Click here for more information: http://www.restaurants-toureiffel.com/en/58-tour-eiffel-restaurant/lunch.html
You can also include a workout into your Paris trip and take the stairs up to the second floor for €10. The stairs aren’t steep at all and it’s cheaper plus the line to the stairs cannot be prebooked it is first come first served. Most people prefer using the lift so it’s a good way to skip the far longer line.
You can book your trip through a tour operator which is typically €36 and up. I wouldn’t recommend this since it tends to be done in a scammy way. It is overpriced. But if you must do it do it through Easy Pass Tours they are local and are not a reseller in the way Viator is.
Time it properly I went to Paris in April on a rainy day. I arrived at the Eiffel Tower very early and took photos around the area. I got to the line in the morning and that’s why there were only 2 people in the line ahead of me and my travel group. Lady luck worked in my favour too because other travellers complain about long early lines.
If you aren’t a morning person or if the line is crazy long in the early morning. Go at night time. From mid-June through to the end of September the Eiffel Tower is open until midnight. You can enter until midnight, it closes at 12:45am, 11pm for the summit elevator. The rest of the year The Eiffel Tower closes at 11:45pm and the last entrance to the summit is at 10:30pm. The last entrance to the 2nd level is at 11pm and the last entrance via the stairs at 6pm.
Soak in the scenery from above Paris and live in the moment. After sunset, the tower is lit up and every hour the Eiffel Tower lights sparkle, it’s a marvellous thing to see so don’t miss it. Other travellers have called it overrated I disagree it’s just a matter of getting your timing right. Arrive early make it your first stop and you will manage just like I did or use one of the other tips I suggested to go see the Iron Lady.
Walk along the Seine
The Seine River runs through Paris, there are boat trips but if you are pressed for time just stroll along the banks. And see if you can spot the trees which are carved with initials and hearts. I walked from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre it’s a bit of a distance. The 42-minute walk isn’t strenuous and it is scenic even in the rain. Directions can be found by clicking on the words Google Map Eiffel Tower to Louvre Museum.
Go see the bewitching bridges and be astounded.
Alexander III Bridge is outstanding with its gold details. I got to see a high fashion photo shoot taking place at the bridge. It’s a popular bridge in Paris. It celebrates the Franco-Russian Alliance and its details are stunning.
Pont des Arts or Passerelle des Arts is a pedestrian bridge in Paris which crosses the River Seine. It links the Institut de France and the central square of the Palais du Louvre. This love lock bridge is famous because tourists have initials or names written on them. The bridge is featured in the film Now You See Me so go see it. I’d advise against adding a lock; the locks damage the structural integrity of the bridge.
According to Wikipedia, the city has launched “Love Without Locks campaign and social media hashtag. The website states: “Our bridges can no longer withstand your gestures of love. Set them free by declaring your love with #lovewithoutlocks.” Being a traveller means respecting the place you are visiting so please don’t add a lock rather participate in the Love Without Locks campaign and respect the city.
I actually stood in line at the main entrance to get into the Louvre for around 10minutes only we timed it. I didn’t get there that early so I don’t know how that happened. I went to Paris 4 times and also had friends who visited. So I now know how to skip the much longer lines.
- The Best time to visit the Louvre
The museum is closed on Tuesdays so obviously don’t go on Tuesdays. Don’t go Mondays it’s the busiest day because other museums in Paris are closed on Mondays this means that hordes of visitors are waiting to get into the Louvre. Rather go on Wednesday of Friday evening. You have until 9:45pm to enter so booking the tour as late as 7pm is possible and it is best because you won’t have to put up with crowds.
- The Best entrance to get into the Lourve
I used the Le Pyramide entrance boy was blessed. This line usually gigantic even before opening time. I actually had a group of rude tourists even burst in line before me even though the line was short. So skip this entrance. I’m wiser now and next time I will use the Le Carrousel du Louvre. This is the best entrance to the Louvre if you don’t have a pre-booked ticket. Le Carrousel du Louvre is the underground entrance to the Louvre. You can access it by taking the metro, (metro stop for the Louvre: Palais Royale-Musee du Louvre on line 1 and 7). But, if you walked to the Louvre you can access Le Carrousel du Louvre from the Rue de Rivoli, at number 99 walk down two sets of escalators into a small underground shopping section. Pass the shops and find the inverted pyramid. You pass through a metal detector at all the entrances and both lines can get long during high season which lasts from June to August and also in December. Still, Le Carrousel du Louvre is much shorter.
Ignore the Port des Lions entrance it’s for tour groups and the Porte de Richelieu it’s reserved for tour groups and people who have membership cards to the Louvre.
Visit Notre Dame
The Catholic Cathedral is a well-known church building throughout the world. It’s built in the Gothic style and building of the cathedral started between 1163 and 1345. It’s free to go inside and admire the stained glass windows. I arrived during a service and got to see part of it and listened to the French Hymns. I stood and waited here for longer than I had to wait to get into the Eiffel Tower and Louvre. It was still about a 15-minute wait not too bad. The line isn’t properly managed so you can burst in line if you are travelling alone although I don’t advise this. If the line is too long rather click here for more information about booking a skip the line tour which takes you up the Notre Dame towers:https://www.getyourguide.com/paris-l16/skip-the-line-notre-dame-cathedral-with-audio-guide-t83454/?partner_id=LIF9K9K
The stained glass window inside is so pretty and if you able to you should have a look inside. I got to see them on my trip and I didn’t even spend a full 24 hours in Paris. If you arrive in April it will be off-season like I did and this will help you.
Although I couldn’t eat a French meal in Paris I indulged my sweet tooth and had a tasty chocolate cake and macaroons. I bought mine at Mason Padier along the Champs Elysées and the cashier mistook me for a local. If you make travel buddies you sometimes have to eat what they want to so my lunch was at Mac Donalds of all things. Fortunately, I stayed in Laval in the West of France, for almost a week at my friends’ places and her dads cooking made up for me missing my Parisian lunch.
Walk down the world famous street admire the trees and the shops. At the end of it, you will see the Arc de Triomphe (The Arch of Victory).
Take the stairs
Walk up the Arc de Triomphe from the top of it you can see the Eiffel tower. The aerial view is worth the workout you will get from climbing the stairs. This was the longest queue for me given that I arrived with my group after we had done everything else we wanted to. I waited for around 20 minutes. I found these links which allow you to buy tickets to skip the line and it starts at €12:https://www.tiqets.com/en/paris-c66746/arc-de-triomphe-skip-the-line-rooftop-access-p974146
Mornings aren’t as busy. Christmas and Easter season it’s mega busy and on public holidays. For more information click here:http://www.paris-arc-de-triomphe.fr/en/
The headquarters of Louis Vuitton is located on the Champ Elysées, you can see or buy bags on the bottom floor or just take a photo of the building. I chose to see rather on my student budget.
I bought postcards and little Eiffel Tower key chains, and on my second trip, I bought a few bookmarkers of the art located in Paris. Don’t buy the key chains from sellers who are standing at tourist hot spots I made that mistake at first you can get keychains for 50 cents if you buy from the right vendor.
There are many beautiful parks in Paris. Close to the Eiffel Tower is Trocadéro Gardens from it you can see the Eiffel Tower. When I went to Paris for the second time I got to see wedding photos being taken at this spot. I wish I could have gone to the Moulin Rouge and to the Palace of Versailles but, I will have to go back again for that. Cramming in things only gets one so far. Despite everything the rain, the non-french lunch and not being able to see everything I had a wonderful time. So if you only have one day in Paris arrive early, don’t take too many breaks, and have a game plan. Know what you want to see and how you will get there. Stick to your list and don’t focus on everything you won’t get to see. Stay positive and be grateful for what you do get to see. It’s about your attitude and your willingness to have enjoyed your travels. Because if I could have a blast walking around in the pouring rain in Paris with wet shoes then you can do the same only in a much drier state hopefully.
Wishing you happy travels through the journey of life!
xxx Nikki xxx
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