I get a lot of Facebook messages from friends asking me for travel tips and the must see spots in Paris. That is the inspiration for this blog post. I decided to create a seven day itinerary (including a two day excursion to the Normandy region).
Alright! Let’s get started!
What to do before arrival:
- Order train tickets for any day trips outside of Paris. This is one of the sites you can use for trips close to Paris. I used a few times myself and found great deals through it:.
- This next link is one I found doing a simple google search. It’s good for the Normandy portion of your trip.
- Read Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs: The Left Bank World of Shakespeare & Co. It’s such a great way to learn about one of the world’s most famous bookstores and its wonderfully eccentric history. It’ll give you a deeper appreciation for that little whole in the wall enchantment of a library.
- Download Metro Map and Route Planner app on your phone
- Learn essential French phrases
What to do upon arrival:
- Buy metro ticket for zones 1-3. Request ticket for the amount of days you will be in Paris (ex: 3 day metro ticket or 5 day metro ticket or 7 day metro ticket) The metro pass works for the RER (which you will take to Versailles), the buses and the trams.
- You could order The Paris Pass online. I don’t have really anything to say on it because I never used it. Living in Paris I had a different kind of pass. However, the reviews are good.
- Buy museum pass: Believe me, unless you’re under 26 and/or a student in Europe, you will need this!
Now you’re ready to start exploring!
Day 1: Visit the Eiffel Tower. Try Early in the morning to avoid crowds and long lines. Get off at Trocadero metro stop– it’ll give you the most impressive first look.
After your first Eiffel Tower visit of many during your seven day trip, head over to Les Invalides. This is where Nappoleon’s tomb is kept. Right across from Les Invalides is the Rodin Museum. So worth your time. It is gorgeous. When you’re done there, walk around and make your way toward the Seine. You will find the most beautiful bridge your eyes will ever see. –Ponte Alexandre III. Walk across the bridge to the Grand Palais and then walk down Place Concorde and walk up the world famous Champs Elysees to l’Arc de Triumph. You have to cross underground to get to it. Use your museum pass to enter and climb to the top. You’ll find an amazing view of the city.
Day 2: The Louvre. This museum is expansive and you haven’t much time. First look for The Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and finally the Mona Lisa (The signs will say La Jacombe). On your way to finding the Mona Lisa you’ll get to see other famous paintings like the Coronation of Napoleon.
I recommend that you go to Musee d’Orsay after the Louvre—it’s just across the street. At muse d’Orsay spend time in the Van Gogh exhibit, then make your way up to the third floor where you’ll see paintings from other impressionists (Renoir, Monet, Degas, etc.). On your way back down look for the ball room, it’s just exquisite, and when you’re back on ground level look for the collection kept of paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec.
After you’ve visited both museums walk to Pont Neuf and go down the stairs to see Ile de la Cite. This is the place where Paris began.
After visiting Ile de la cite you’re in the perfect spot to visit Shakespeare &Co., Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, and Centre Pompidou.
Go to Shakespeare & Co. first then cross the street over to Notre Dame. After finishing your exploration of Notre Dame, make your way to Sainte Chappelle. It’s absolutely stunning. Then keep going to Centre Pompidou. This is a modern art museum with a great view at the top.
Day 3: It’s time to go see the Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre.
Take the blue line and get off at Anvers metro stop. When you exit the station you’ll see the Moulin Rouge diagonal to you and the street that leads to Sacre Coeur will be right in front of you. After enjoying the view from the steps of the Basilica and touring the Basilica don’t miss out on the bohemian world that thrives right around the corner. Take the path right next to the church to Montmartre. You’ll find artists, restaurants, places to have delicious crepes, the Montmartre museum and so much more. It’s a world in it of itself and worth taking your time.
Day 4: Use day four to begin your journey around the famous region of Normandy. Start with a quick stop to Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny. It’s just 30-45 minute train ride from Paris. From Giverny continue on to Caen where you’ll find D-day beach tours. This is worth every penny and every minute.
Day 5: After exploring Monet’s beautiful home and the D-day beaches make another train ride to Mont Saint Michel. Spend all of day 5 there and return to Paris in the evening.
Day 6: Continue exploring beautiful France by going to its most famous chateau—Versailles. Take the RER C and get off at Versailles Chateau (your museum pass will get you into the palace). Follow the crowds to the palace. It’s a short walk from the station. I recommend going through the palace quickly (without short handing the Hall of Mirrors) and spending the bulk of your day exploring the gardens. There you will find the Queen’s Hamlet, Le Trianon, and Le Petit Trianon. If you go in the summer, you should stick around for the fireworks show in the evening (extra charge).
Day 7: On day 7 take it easy. I’d suggest going for a picnic at Jardin des Tuileries and walking to Musee l’Orangerie which is right there in the gardens. At this museum you’ll have the opportunity to see some of Monet’s finest work. At Jardin du Luxembourg you can relax with a great view of the the palace in which the French Senate is now housed. Visit l’Opera and do some shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Coco Channel.