5 Places Not To Miss in Paris (24h guide)

Paris has always been one of those destinations I’ve always dreamt about. I think this is the case for many others as well. How can it not be? Portrayed in so many films, series, and other art and culture, “The City of Love!” and everything else that comes to mind when you think of it.

That’s why it was a little disheartening when upon entering the city we were welcomed by cracked roads, not so clean streets and masses of people, shops and trinkets, and that crazy rush you get in any major European city. Romantic rooftops, macarons, or baguettes were nowhere to be seen. I wasn’t shocked by this, of course, I knew the whole city wouldn’t be like a postcard, but it still took some getting used to, that is, for the image of Paris in my mind to mesh with the image of Paris I was seeing before me.

Eiffel under construction and dry leaves

After I got back, I found out that there is an actual psychological phenomenon called the Paris syndrome, where tourists experience physical consequences such as dizziness and even fainting. What is it? It’s the side effects from the shock of realizing Paris wasn’t what they’d imagined!
It mostly occurrs with Japanese tourists because they have been seeing Paris portrayed in media as this idyllic place for their whole lives so when they finally arrive, they are in for a rude awakening. Quite literally, the curtness of the Parisians is also a shock for them, as politeness is a key part of their culture.

In comparison, my initial disappointment doesn’t seem that big. After a few hours, I was already taking in everything this amazing city has to offer. So after taking everything into consideration, here is my list of everything that was definitely worth a visit and that you shouldn’t miss when planning your trip to Paris.

1. The Seine

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wherever you pick as your starting point in Paris, it will surely be in the centre and the Seine will follow you along. We got out at the Châtelet underground station, which is really close to the Palais de Justice pictured above and a great starting point for your stroll along the river bank.

All along the bank you can find vendors selling old magazines, movie posters, books and many other things which adds to that Parisian vintage charm. Many main points of interest can be found as you walk along the river, so it’s nice to just enjoy the view, cobbled streets and stumble onto something interesting by accident.

2. Shakespeare and Company

Right after you take a picture by the Notre-Dame, cross the road and you will find this beautiful little bookstore nestled in a row of buildings. It’s cozy and filled with books in English (and French), both new titles, classics and a great children’s section.

You get this cool bag as a souvenir, and if you want, you can get your book stamped with the same logo! I picked up The House in the Cerulean Sea and it was a great choice!

Best souvenir!

3. Louvre

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The only very touristy thing that I believe is worth the hype is the Louvre. From stunning architecture and the beautiful courtyard with famous pyramids, to the opulence and beauty of the precious art, the Louvre is definitely worth the visit and the 17 euro ticket.

Be warned: Louvre is big. You will spend a lot of time here, and if you’re not careful, the day might get away from you. That’s why it’s a good idea to look at the map of the museum and pick a few places you absolutely must see and plan accordingly. It’s easy to get lost and sidetracked in there, so if you’re short on time, be mindful of that.

Oh, and if you’re expecting to see the Mona Lisa in all its glory, don’t hold on to that hope too much. There is a line of people waiting to come near it, and even when you’re in the front of the line, you are still at least two meters away. So I suggest coming from the side, outside of the line, taking a quick photo, and admiring it from afar. There are dozens of beautiful paintings in that same room that no one is paying attention to, so take a chance to admire magnificent art without having to wait in line.

One of many great works of art you can see up close.
Just a small part of the ceiling!

4. Moulin Rouge

This was my must-see place for Moulin Rouge is my favorite film of all time and I just had to take a picture here! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see a show, but it’s definitely on my list for the next time I’m in Paris. The glitzy neon lights and the iconic turning mill is definitely something you need to experience for yourself.

And once you take your photos, you can head straight uphill to Montmartre. You will see another mill on your climb up, as well as many beautiful shops and restaraunts.

5. Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre 

Photo by Pierre Blachu00e9 on Pexels.com

If I were to pick only one thing from this list, I would without hesitation pick Montmartre. This lively, artistic and beautiful part of town in the hills has a magical energy you can feel at every corner. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs and lovely art.

As you start your climb towards it from Moulin Rouge, you can find something beautiful wherever you look. And once you climb up the first part, turn around and take a look at the long way down.

And it is all topped with the majestic Sacré-Cœur  and the stairs with the view of the city. As you can see from the photos, we visited Montmartre in the evening, so we really experienced that nightlife feel. We debated having dinner at one of the classic French restaraunts in the square and shelling out a good portion of our budget on this experience, but in the end we decided to get a cup of mulled wine from a stand we had just passed and sit on the stairs to enjoy the view. Fancy dinner will have to wait until next time.

And let me tell you this was an excellent decision! The best way to end your day in Paris is to sit on the stairs overlooking the city with locals and other travelers alike and take in the views of the whole Paris. On this chilly November night, we drank our 3 euro cup of mulled wine (which was the best I’ve ever tasted and I’ve tasted quite a few on many Christmas markets) and it was one of the best moments of the whole trip!

Santé!

You might have figured out already that I’m very biased toward Montmartre but I just fell in love with it. And if you only have a day in Paris, I think you shouldn’t miss visiting this beautiful area. And you will be walking in the steps of many a great artist who lived here such as Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas and of course, Toulouse-Lautrec.

And that concludes this list! Overall, if you still haven’t, definitely give Paris a visit whenever you can. It might not be what you expect, but it will definitely leave you with a lasting impression and a desire to see and do even more. I know I will be back as soon as I can.

Published by Mirna

restlesstraveleress.com

2 thoughts on “5 Places Not To Miss in Paris (24h guide)

  1. “Paris has always been one of those destinations I’ve always dreamt about.”
    Same here Mirna!! I can’t wait to get inside Shakespeare and Company being a book lover, once I go to Paris of course 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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