In less than 48 hours, John and I will be on a train for Paris, and I can’t wait! I’ve been wanting to go back to Paris ever since we got back last year, but every time we planned a trip, going somewhere new always seemed to win out. After our original plans for Labor Day fell through due to soaring airfare prices, we decided this was a perfect time to go back to Paris. (And yes, we realize exactly how ridiculous it is when PARIS is our second choice.)
Our first trip to Paris was awesome, because we were able to fit in arguably the top touristy attractions you go to Paris to see – the Louvre and Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, etc – but that didn’t leave a lot of time for wandering the neighborhoods, relaxing on the Seine and sitting at cafes. Now don’t get me wrong, I definitely think that Paris is the place it is perfectly acceptable to have a packed itinerary the first time around – embrace being a tourist, it’s the perfect town for that. It’s also the place to have a picnic outside or people watch in a cafe, which we didn’t get to do last time.
So, in planning for this trip, I made a list of sites we should see (when I asked John what he wanted to do, he answered, “French things.” So clearly he wasn’t going to be a ton of help!) and went from there. It included not only site-seeing but also lots of free time to wander and relax!
1. Avoid the Louvre at all costs.
It was cool to see the Mona Lisa and the other pieces of art you grow up hearing about. But the experience was dampened by the crowds, which were so overwhelming that afterwards we deviated from the schedule and went to a cafe to decompress. This time, I’m looking forward to exploring the Musee d’Orsay and Musee de l’Orangerie. I’m sure there will be crowds, just hopefully not the massive crush that was the Louvre!
2. See Napoleon’s tomb and visit the Military Museum in Les Invalides
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Les Invalides and the Military Museum inside. Last year, it didn’t make the cut but I’m so looking forward to getting the chance to explore the inside of this building!
3. Relax by the Seine River with a bottle of wine
I was envious of the folks hanging out by the river and really wanted to do this last time – we just weren’t able to fit in it. This time, I so want to do this…and I want to take a picnic to the Champs de Mars and enjoying french bread, cheese and wine in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower!
4. Go inside Notre Dame and climb the towers.
Last year, the Notre Dame stop followed the Louvre and the sight of the line to get inside after the Louvre crowds completely turned us around. Without a Louvre stop this time, I’m looking forward to seeing this beautiful church inside and enjoying the sight from the towers along the gargoyles!
5. Spend more time in Montmarte and around Sacre Couer.
Our last night in Paris, we wandered the grounds of Sacre Coeur and had dinner in the Montmarte neighborhood, and both experiences made the cut the second time around. Two of my favorite memories and I can’t wait to go back!
6. Another repeat – enjoying the Eiffel Tower at night!
I loved the Eiffel Tower at night and am so looking forward to experiencing it again. This time, it will include a picnic on the grounds surrounding the tower and enjoying the atmosphere rather than jostling the crowds up the tower for a picture!
7. See the Champs Elysees from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
We only made it to ground level last time, and going up to the top of the Arc at night is definitely a must this time! Even from the ground the roundabout seemed insane, and I can’t wait to see it at night all lit up!
8. Find our love lock.
Honestly, I’m not entirely expecting the lock to still be there after the recent sweep to rid the bridges of these locks, but the optimist in me says we have to look because who knows! It may have stuck around! 🙂
The rest? Well, who knows…maybe the Catacombs, maybe the Saint Ouen Flea Market, or maybe just biking around. Either way – it’s sure to be awesome because Paris is always a good idea! 🙂