I was the little girl growing up that dreamed of Paris. I mean I had the room decor, t-shirts, and wallpapers. I wanted nothing more than to see the city and experience what seemed to only be real in movies. When I graduated high school we had a ticket booked, unfortunately my mother become very ill and we called off the trip. Flash forward two years and mom, now a cancer survivor, and I tackled on Paris with my aunt and Me Maw as well. Talk about the ultimate girls trip! We visited Paris for four days…but the fun didn’t stop there for me. As my family traveled back to the states, I began to venture out on what would be my city for the next eight weeks. I joined a study abroad program to take my foreign languages abroad. I GOT TO LIVE IN PARIS STUDYING FRENCH FOR EIGHT WEEKS!!! I felt like I was every twenty year old’s dream. My program was a universal program, therefore I studied with students from all over. It was so incredible to get to hear about their ways of life, and I created some life long friendships. I chose to live with a host family to really get a feel for the Parisian lifestyle and wow was it amazing. I felt really invested into the culture and didn’t feel so much like a tourist anymore. I grew a new appreciation for European cultures and how they differed from out comfortable lifestyle here in the states.
Read the post below to help guide you through your future travels to the romantic city!
Places to go, things to see:
The Moulin Rouge – There are seriously not enough words for this place. If you have ever seen the movie The Moulin Rouge ( which is oddly one of my favorites) , don’e expect the Moulin Rouge in Paris to be the same trippy event. This cabaret style show is held in the Montmarte district of Paris. I personally believe this is worth every penny that you pay for it. It is a two hour spectacular filled with dancing, singing, talents, and the most amazing costumes you can dream of! The creators haven’t spared a penny on the design of this show. You will feel emotions such as love, romance, and desire. Buy tickets online and get in line early before the show, the line can get long. You will have designated seating and the seats that we selected had us at a table lit with a small lamp, and a bottle of champagne for the table. The only downside…no pictures inside!
You can order tickets here: https://www.moulinrouge.fr/reservations
Arc De Triomphe- Do yourself a favor while in Paris, spend the couple of euros and trek your way up to the top of the Arc De Triomphe. I promise you this is the view of the city you need to see. Don’t get me wrong, the view from the Eiffel is incredible, but the Arc is located more in the center and gives you more of an insight of the city. Another tip, take your time and people watch while at the top. The streets surrounding the arc do not have any lanes and it is interesting to see how Parisians navigate around the traffic packed circle.
The Louvre- Many people have mixed feelings on this famous place. I am a major art person so for me it was a must. If you have time while in Paris, I highly recommend it. However if you are rushed, it wouldn’t be first on my list. The Lourve is massive and you can no joke spend all day in there. If you are like most people and your only desire is to see the famous Mona Lisa painting, then you can be in and out in under an hour and a half. Signs throughout guide you to where Miss Lisa is hanging. However it is no straight shot and you will be detoured through various rooms to of course view other pieces of art. The architecture on the outside of the famous museum is actually very stunning. If you can classify as a student then you get incredible perks when purchasing tickets. This is certainly a bonus item that you can say that you have done while on your Paris visit. Snap a selfie with the Mona Lisa then step outside and capture an image of the glass pyramid.
Le Tour Eiffel – This one is totally common sense. You simply can not travel to Paris without seeing this famous landmark. You don’t even have to ride to the top but at least visit the tower to see the incredible architecture. I advise getting to the tower early as the lines can get very long, especially around sunset. Take the elevator to the top and see outstanding views of the busy city below you. At midnight the tower lights up and twinkles. It is a very extravagant experience. During my studies abroad we spent countless nights drinking champagne, while eating cheese on picnic blankets watching the twinkling lights till early hours of the morning. Everyone claps and cheers when the lights come on. If you tour the tower during the day time it is a lovely place to people watch but can get very crowded at the top sometimes. The area around is fun as well. There are several carts selling crepes and gelato as well as a fun carousel.
The Notre Dame Cathedral- This is one of those places that you have to stop and take a deep breath to take it all in. Take your time at this one and really view the structure and design of the building. Pay close attention to the gargoyles on the side. The stain glass in the inside is worth it to go inside, but honestly I liked the outside much better. It’s is a stunning Cathedral! This church is in a really great location and there is a lot of shopping and places around it. Check out some of the street vendors as they have some unique stuff. Shakespear’s bookstore is right around the corner and is another Paris favorite and something very fun to see. Outside the Church is a monument in the concrete that is the center of Paris. Rumors have it that if you touch the city center then you will return to the city one day (I’m still waiting on my return)
Other things to do if you have the time:
- Visit Montmarte – Nestled on a hill in the city. There are a lot of street vendors, a beautiful church, people playing live music all over, cute little restaurants, and much more.
- Catacombs- Journey through the underground catacombs with millions of former Parisians skeletons. Sounds creepy, kinda is, but well worth it for sure. Do some research before you go and make sure and arrive early.
- Shop till you drop down the Champs Elysees- this street has all the stores you can possibly imagine, including a two story Louis Vuitton
- Lock Bridge- This is a small bridge located near the Notre Dame. You can purchase locks from local vendors and write a little something on it and attach to the bridge. It’s interesting to see what others have attached to this unique man made monument.
- Tour the Opera House- it is difficult to get actual tickets to see a show at the Opera house, but if you have time to kill I recommend stepping inside and seeing the ceiling done by famous artist Marc Chagall.