Paris sera toujours Paris. Paris will always be Paris. And despite the fact I had been 3 times previously in the past, I still wanted to go back after a long time, and this time with Carlo. The occasion was a small family reunion after living 3 years in Australia and a Xmas gift for Carlo’s parents on behalf of Carlo’s sister and her husband.
Here are at least 12 tips of things to do in Paris on a weekend:
1.Pay a visit to the Louvre, even if you’ve been there before. By the way they built a shopping centre underneath it which is just fabulous and already beautiful decorated for Xmas. Very good we booked the tickets in advance, so no queue for the museum. And, by the way, if you don’t want to die inside the Louvre, just plan to see just a part of it right at the start. We focussed on the Italian section (maybe biased? 😉 and spent a bit more than 2 hours inside, of course without missing the well renowned “Gioconda” by Leonardo and also the “Nike of Samotracia” and the “Psyche revived by Cupid’s Kiss‘” by Canova. Great to visit again!
2. Stop for lunch at a brasserie, where you can enjoy a frugal lunch, or in our case a bit too many types of cheese and glasses of wine. We went to “l’Affineur affine’“, which is a “Fromagerie” (i.e. a cheese shop) and I highly recommend. Also good as starting point to a nice walk towards the Sacre Couer, very much needed after our lunch!
3. Visit le Sacre Couer and walk around Monte Martre. The view from up there is absolutely amazing and you’ll savour it even more if you walk and climb the stairs up there instead of taking the funicular 🙂 the little lanes, the shops, etc… on the way up and down are absolutely amazing.
4. Stop for a coffee or an aperitif (at one of these cafes, for example, Chez Camille, Relais de la Butt, Café du Commerce) and do “people’s watching”. I was told it’s a typical “parisienne” attitude / habit. We were too full, but we decided to pass by and have a look anyway. These tips are courtesy of Xavier, a dear French/Aussie, but very much French, friend we met in Australia
6. Walk around the Saint Germain and the Latin quarters at night as they are bustling with life or just romantic little lanes and views of Paris.
7. Walk along the “Seine” at night, just to be impressed by “La Ville lumiere” and if you can also during the day to see the life of the locals. Depending on where you are, you’ll see the Eiffel tower lit up or one of the beautiful buildings along the river.
8. Take the bateau mouche and go for a cruise along the Seine. I know it sounds very touristy, but it really is worthy at least once in a lifetime. You get to see things from a different perspective. You may choose the 40-50 mins cruise or the “Bateau bus” just to go from one side to the other of the city. You’ll see people going for a picnic along the river banks and do all sort of things.
9. Stop fo a quick visit at the Quai Brainley museum. We actually saw a Photo exhibition from Quai Brainley but along the river.
10. Take the yellow line to Notre Dame. There’s always some queue outside, but it’s usually pretty quick. Wear something appropriate, no hats, no shorts or skirts too short to enter the church.
11. Take a walk around le Marais, which I absolutely love, till Place de la Bastille and stop at any little cafe, brasserie or shop that you like, but for sure at Place des Vosges, a square of artists, the first modern square and the biggest at the time where the French monarchs used to live. Now it’s a cute square with a little park in the middle and art galleries all around and you’ll also find Victor Hugo’s house. While going through the Marais, if you feel like visiting another museum, you could choose between the “Centre Pompidou“, better book first, or the “Musee Carnevalet” dedicated to the history of the city.
12. Have a taxi take you by Place Vendome, la Madeleine, Champs Elysee’, l’Arc de Triomphe, etc… and see what’s around, if you don’t feel like walking anymore and as a way to save some time.
Of course, there was so much more I wanted to see, but Paris is huge, I tend to forget it each time. We shall be back.