Champagne. Croissants. Romance. Snooty Waiters. Welcome to Paris! The City of Lights is the most visited city in the world, with 33 million visitors flocking there each year. Whether you are sitting on the banks of the Seine, climbing the Eiffel Tower or visiting the artist’s district in Montmartre, you’ll be surrounded by history, style and the French joie de vivre. Paris deserves to be drunk in slowly, like a fine red wine, but if you only have time for a whirlwind tour, then use this itinerary as a starting point. It will take you through some of the major landmarks while still giving you a little sample of life as a Parisian. Bon Voyage!
After a late arrival, take advantage of the extended opening hours at the Musee de Louvre and visit some of the most beautiful pieces of art ever created. One of the most important museums and galleries in the world, the Louvre hosts the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory amongst others too numerous to list here. You really need days and weeks to see everything, but a quick and well-planned trip can take you through the highlights. Those long lines you see out the front near the pyramid are for security and can be avoided if you head underground and enter through the Carousel shopping center. You can use a self-serve ticket machine and be inside before the line outside has even moved an inch.
Head home via Le Louvre Ripaille, a French wine bar and bistro for a glass of red and the plat du jour. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation.
Out your walking shoes on – you’re going to need them. Start with the…
Your trip would not be complete without a trip to the iconic symbol of Paris. Lines for the landmark are notoriously long (a two hour wait is a good day), so don’t waste your short time in Paris waiting in line. Book tickets for the lift a few months out or, turn up on the day and take the stairs. There is usually a very short wait as those long lines are for the lift entry, and it’s only a few easy flights before you take the lift to the very top anyway. Use it as an opportunity to burn off some of those croissants you ate for breakfast.
The views from the top are spectacular, though be prepared for some crowds. If you were hoping for a secluded spot to make a grand declaration of love, then you might find you need to share that moment with throngs of tourists, so you’d best book a reservation at the restaurant Altitude 95 if that’s your goal. Otherwise, you can grab a glass of champagne at the top (plastic glasses of course) and enjoy the view. From there, it’s an easy walk to the…
Arc De Triomphe
The Arc De Triomphe is a monument to honor those who fought and died for France during the revolution and Napoleonic wars. At the end of a roundabout at the bottom end of the Champs de Elysees, it has twelve roads running from its center to represent a 12-point star. Visit for the historical significance and for the entertainment value in watching tiny Parisian cars navigate the huge roundabout while tourists try to cross.
From the Arc de Triomphe, head up the Champs-Élysées for a 1.8 mile walk. Browse the designer shops and see how the other half live. You’ll find a lot of the global brands here, like McDonalds, the Disney Store, Sephora, H&M as well as designer stalwarts Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss and Guerlain. Prices are high but you pay a premium for the location. Grab a macaroon and other delightful patisserie treats from the famed Laudree.
After all that shopping, your legs will need a rest so it’s time for a leisurely evening. Use a booking service to arrange a dinner cruise the Seine and a show at the Moulin Rouge.
After breakfast at a little café (there WILL be one at the end of your street), head over to…
The cathedral that inspired Victor Hugo offers some of the best views in Paris. Climb the 250 steps up to the bell tower and see what all the fuss is about. No resting now though because a mere 1km away is the…
Jardin de Luxembourg
Famed for its tranquility, the Jardin du Luxembourg is a 23 hectare park in the middle of busy Paris. See its tree-lined promenades, flowerbeds and check out the famous Medici Fountain built in 1620. Grab a baguette and some camembert and have your lunch on the lawns and watch the world go by. If you have any energy left, then be sure not to miss the Luxembourg Palace for which the park is named.
Before you go…
Grab an early dinner before your departure at nearby Le Relais de l’Entrecôte in St Germain (a mere 15 minute walk from the gardens). Uniquely French, this restaurant only serves perfectly cooked steak, salad and French fries. And of course, wine. All you need to decide is how you want it cooked (try not to ask for “well done”).
Grab a taxi to the airport ces’t fini!