The city of lights in France is a very popular city. I totally understand why. I’ve been here three times and I still can’t get enough. Every year I tell myself: “next year, I’m NOT going to visit Paris.” However, I think I am going to visit Paris again this year. There’s something about this city that makes me want to come back. As a three-time visitor, I’m here to give you a small guide for your first trip to Paris. Not wasting time, let’s get right into it!
Skip the Eiffel Tower
Yes, this is a hard one I can imagine. However, I have found a few spots that have a way cooler view of Paris ánd the Eiffel tower. Skip the extremely long line and get to these spots instead. For one, the Arc de Triomphe has my favourite view of Paris. It does not look high enough for a great view, but don’t be fooled. It is very high and you have a wonderful view of the Champs Elysées, the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and Tour Montparnasse.
That last one brings me to my next location. Tour Montparnasse is a pretty high building in the neighbourhood “Montparnasse”. This was the highest building in Paris until 2009. I guarantee you that these two spots have a way better view of Paris than the Eiffel Tower. I highly recommend you climbing the Tour Montparnasse to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night. Breath-taking.
Avenue de Camoëns is known as the best place to admire the Eiffel tower. It is the best kept secret location in Paris. So don’t tell anyone I told you this, it’s our secret! This is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Paris with the most expensive real estate. Great to walk around.
Read more: Paris Photo Diary
Must see: Château Versailles
It’s pretty expensive, it’s a train ride away from Paris but it is SO worth the visit. I’m not going to lie: the line to get into the palace is a pain in the ass. The line was 2,5 hours long when I visited the palace. So, here’s my tip. Skip the palace. It’s not worth the wait, and I’m not sure if this is an unpopular opinion. Let me explain. The palace was robbed and lots of furniture has been sold during the French Revolution. There are only a few rooms with furniture in it and even inside it is too busy to even have a proper look.
Focus on the gardens instead. This was my most favourite part. The garden is so impressive and lovely to walk around. One big important tip: do not skip Marie Antoinette’s’ house in the garden. I forgot this one, and it is supposed to be very pretty.
Skip the Seine tour
So, there’s a boat tour on the Seine that takes you along all the gorgeous buildings and architecture next to the Seine. However, the water in the Seine is (usually) pretty low which means that you can’t see the buildings as well. And the sides of the boat have sort-of windows which makes photographing very hard. Instead, take the metro to those pretty spots and walk around. It’ll save you money and the view is much better.
Get your lunch at Paul’s bakery
This lunch/coffee room/bakery Paul’s is located pretty much anywhere in Paris. It’s perfect for getting an on-the-go sandwich, a nice cup of coffee and other delicious French specialties. It’s not super expensive and the sandwiches are really good. Definitely great when you’re running around Paris! Once you know about Pauls, you’ll see the bakery in almost every street.
Watch the sunrise and sunset by the Seine
The sunrise and sunsets are gorgeous in Paris, especially when you’re next to the Seine. It has a wonderful view on the Eiffel tower and the sky has the prettiest colours. Definitely one of my favourite memories. While I must admit: I’m not a morning person so I just stuck with sunsets. However, I did hear from others that the sunrise is a must-see as well. I might be watching the sunrise next time with a cup of coffee from Pauls, obviously.
Read more: 6 Reasons Why Paris Is Always A Good Idea
Visit Montmartre at Dawn
Montmartre is a must see when you visit Paris. Be aware, I’m not sure which metro station this is: but there’s one where there is always a line at the elevator. As a beginner in Paris, I decided to take the stairs because I could handle a stairs or two. Do not take the stairs.
The metro station at Montmartre is so far below ground, that you’ll have to take a massive amount of stairs to get to the top. And you’re not done yet, because you have to climb the stairs to the top of Montmartre as well. However, be smart and take that fun little train to the side of Sacré-Coeur. It should work with your metro pass.
Let’s talk about Montmartre. It’s nice to walk around the neighbourhood, enjoy the shops and admire the art pieces. The Sacré-Coeur is gorgeous and you’ll have a pretty view of Paris. Especially at dawn. Stroll around the backstreets of Montmartre searching for the best view of Sacré-Coeur!
Have dinner in Quartier Latin
As much as I love Paris, it’s an expensive city. But Quartier Latin is here to save our bank accounts and help us with our budgets. This is known as the cheapest, but most cosy, Arrondissement in Paris to have your dinner. You’ll find anything here from Italian food to Asian food. This is the place to be for your dinner.
You MUST visit le Marais
Oh, my favourite part of Paris. This is where Centre Pompidou is located! I wish I had the money to live here after I’m done with college. This is by far the loveliest, cosiest and cutest Arrondissement of Paris. Get lost in the dozens of small streets, don’t forget to take your camera to snap the greatest pics and enjoy a shopping spree or a museum visit while you’re here. You won’t get bored in this Arrondissement!
Simply enjoy Paris
I was so focused on seeing lots and lots of stuff when I visited Paris the first time. It felt so rushed and exhausting. Don’t forget to just admire the city Paris itself. Have a stroll around all the different city parcs like Jardin du Luxembourg (highly recommend this one!) and walk along the Seine.
Your first trip to Paris should be a good one if you follow these tips. Have a nice picnic under the Eiffel Tower, watch it sparkle at night, have a cup of coffee along the streets of Paris and be a true Parisian. It will be a great trip. And, be sure to share your tips after you’ve visited Paris!