I have been to Paris a few times since my first time in 2001 when I was 17. Every time I go I have a totally different experience because I am a different age and with different people. Reid and I did SO much in just a few days and my feet were definitely yelling at me. Reid landed in the evening and we went out to dinner before getting some sleep for our adventure to champagne. On Saturday, our adventures around Paris really started!
How do you explore Paris in two days and try to see it all? You put on your walking shoes and start walking! I always say if you are going to see Paris in a day then start at the Arc de Triomphe then keep walking until you end at the Louvre. That is exactly what we did with some stops in between!
As many times as I have been to the Arc de Triomphe, I have never walked to the top and this is why Paris is different every time. We bought skip the line passes which are the same price as a regular ticket and started climbing the 284 spiral staircase steps to the top.
The view from the top is absolutely stunning! You can see the 12 streets that converge to make the craziest roundabout I have ever seen! There is a tunnel under the street to allow you access to the Arc de Triomphe but it is very entertaining to watch people look at the street and try to figure out how to cross it. Just be smart and don’t try to cross.
Leaving the Arc de Triomphe you can go down any 1 of the 12 streets but we were heading down the famous Avenue Champs-Élysées to explore the stores and take in the sites. Another first for me was stopping at the famous Ladurée macaron shop founded in 1862. The line was out the door and it took about an hour from start to finish, but it was worth the wait! I am not a big fan of sweets but I am a sucker for macarons, specifically, pistachio flavor.
Macarons in hand, we continued our walk until we finally reached the Louvre. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the Louvre, you can always find something new. If you love museums, this is a must see and can take you up to 3 days to see it all if not more.
There are plenty of pictures to post of statues and art and little figurines but this little guy stood out to me the most. We joked that this is the guy you see at the end of the party that you have to take home because he was over served. I couldn’t find the description of this guy but based on where he was I would guess he is late 1800’s.
There has been a lot of advancement in technology and we were given Nintendo 3DS systems to walk around the museum with interactive maps and additional information. They were very helpful since the Louvre is huge and we absolutely got lost. The entire thing really makes for quite the look!
We stayed at the museum until closing and stopped in the park for a glass of champagne to rest our feet. The adventure continued in the hunt for the Shakespeare and Company bookstore and some dinner. Like a lot of random things that happen while traveling, we happened to end up dining right outside of Notre Dame.
One cannot be in Paris without talking about the food. We had some beautiful foie gras for dinner and in the spirit of France, we had some cheese for dessert. This was not the first or last time we had something like this throughout our time in France.
On any other Saturday night, the museums would be closed and there would not be anything to do except continue to eat or head out to a bar or club. But this was not a regular Saturday night. We happened to be in Paris during Nuit Blanche (White Night), which meant we had some bonus hours to explore museums and see pop up events around the city. White Night is a celebration of the arts and Paris was turned into a giant festival!
Are you exhausted yet because we sure were but the night was not over. The Eiffel Tower lights up every night but tonight there was a special show with music to make the tower look like it was melting and being poured into a cup. The music was really creepy and I didn’t really understand what was going on, but we were up close and personal to the Eiffel Tower. Another site to check off the list!
By this time it was about 1:00am or so and it was time to go home. We walked a bit to find our metro only to discover that it was shut down because there was a mugging on the line! Our next thought was to go outside and catch a taxi which on any other night would have been easy. Since it was a special night, everyone was out and about and the cabs were all busy. We continued walking looking for another metro stop and completely failed. Along the way we passed a few concerts and some of the other evening art exhibits. Finally at 2:33am we gave up and I turned on my data and we called a car to take us home!
We drew a bath to soak our feet and poured some rose and at 4:00am, we finally went to bed. 15 miles of walking around the city and about 60 flights of stairs, we were done!
As you can imagine, we were absolutely exhausted. We had big plans to get up and go to brunch and start our day at a reasonable time, but instead we slept until 1:00pm! You have to listen to your body. Alas, we set out to the Musee de L’orangerie and Musee d’Orsay. On the first Sunday of the month there are quite a few things to do in Paris for free. Reid was really excited to see all the panels from Monet’s Water Lilies but I am not the biggest Monet fan. I took pictures of some other art but they are from Picasso’s erotic period and should be seen in full display as art.
As if our feet were not in enough pain from walking the past days, we continued on and went to Sacre-Coeur to take in the architecture.
If you have been to Montmarte then you know this part of Paris is full of stairs beyond stairs and then more stairs. Once again, we set off on a mini adventure just to see what we would find.
After some wine and our final dinner in Paris, it was time for bed. We had a 6:14am train to catch to Bordeaux! Two days in Paris and I felt like it was mission accomplished of seeing the sites!