Ten things to make your trip to Paris unforgettable

I’VE been thinking a lot about Paris lately so I wanted to share some of the amazing things to do there, some photos and some tips!
It doesn’t matter if you’re only staying a few days or a few weeks – this list will help you check off the best things to do in this city.
In no particular order, here are my top things to do in the city of love.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

Paris.

Get lost in the Louvre:
Although this is on most people’s list for Paris but it is possible to get away from the crowds in this massive complex.
When my boyfriend and I visited last June we ended up finding a beautiful quiet wing, which was infinitely better than pushing and shoving our way to see the Mona Lisa with the rest of the world.
This was mostly because we wandered in the wrong direction but it made for a perfect afternoon.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance though, especially during the height of the tourist season or you’ll be in for a long wait in the sun.

The Louvre | Extraordinary Days

Beautiful.

The Lourve | Extraordinary Days

The Louvre.

Walk as much as you can:
One of the best ways to see a city is to walk through it and Paris is no different.
Make sure to take a stroll along the Seine and look at the tiny book stalls that line the banks.
There’s something magical about walking along the river in the heart of Paris, especially in the evening.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

So many little streets to explore!

Pick a random place to eat:
I’ll say this for most of Europe – rather than agonising about where to eat, just pick the first decent place you see.
In my experience (especially in Paris), the food will be great and it’s more of an adventure.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

A beautiful place to be at night, too.

Go on a river cruise:
One of the best ways to see this beautiful city is from the water.
Many hour-long cruises leave from the port opposite the Eiffel Tower (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the city’s biggest attraction!) and have audio guides available in a range of languages.
This is a great way to learn more about the city’s rich history, it’s many bridges and some of its most important buildings and areas.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

The Seine!

Walk along the Champs Élysées:
This beautiful tree-lined streets gets about 50,000 visitors every day and it’s easy to see why.
All of the world’s biggest fashion brands have a spot there and there are plenty of more minor stores too.
With the Place de la Concorde at one end, you can great a great view of the Arc de Triomphe as you walk along this world-famous avenue.

Champs-Élysées Paris | Extraordinary Days

The Champs-Élysées is a busy street!

Climb the steps at Sacré-Cœur:
This one is not for the faint of heart!
Situated in Montmartre at the city’s highest point, this basilica makes for an amazing panoramic view across the whole of Paris.
Climbing the 270 steps up to it is not for everyone, so there is a funicular car for those who don’t feel up to the challenge.
Once at the top the interior of the basilica is open to the public, include the dome at the very top. (I’ve never been inside but it’s on my list!)

Sacré-Cœur, Paris | Extraordinary Days

Sacré-Cœur.

Go to Shakespeare and Company bookstore:
This tiny bookstore is almost hidden in a small street near the Notre Dame cathedral but it’s well worth seeking out.
Booklovers need to go here!
The shelves are packed full of a wide range of books and upstairs there is a reading area, perfect to while away some time in.
On the day I went with Michael there was a man playing something beautiful on a piano as a breeze came in through the open window – I actually thought I was in heaven.
If you’re buying a book don’t forget to ask for the attendant to stamp it with the Shakespeare and Company stamp before you leave.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

Book lover heaven!

Go to the Pont des Arts (love lock bridge):
It’s a well-known tradition for people to visit this famous bridge, attach a lock and throw their key into the river (ensuring good luck and that their love will last).
However, in recent years the Parisian government has tried to make people aware that this tradition is also slowly destroying the bridge, as it cannot cope with the weight of thousands upon thousands of metal padlocks.
Just before I visited last June a section of the fencing along the bridge collapsed and fell into the river below because of the weight.
While that did mean there was a nice empty panel for Michael and I to put a lock on to when we arrived, I would think twice about this if I visited again because at the end of the day, I don’t want the city to take stronger measures to protect part of its history and take all of the locks away because the bridge is on the verge of collapse.
(As it was, when Mike and I were leaving the area we saw council workers with a ute tray FULL of locks pull up, ready to cut away bicycle chains full of locks that had been fastened to the bridge.)

Paris | Extraordinary Days

This section was quickly filled!

Take a day trip to the Palace of Versailles:
This is for those on a longer stay in this city and it was well worth a visit.
While our tour tickets cost about $100 Australian each, we got to travel from Paris in an airconditioned coach and have a guided tour throughout the palace and grounds.
A guided tour is something I’d definitely recommend as the guides know exactly what to point out in each room and the most important and entertaining information to give you.
I can only imagine what it would have been like in its prime!
As it was peak tourist season it was packed with people so anyone who is claustrophobic may want to give this a miss, or come at a quieter time of year.

Paris | Extraordinary Days

Gates at Versailles

And last but not least, visit the Eiffel Tower.
This was a given and I’d be surprised to see a list of things to do in Paris that didn’t feature it.
This monument is truly worth a visit and if you don’t want to wait in line to climb up into it, spending time around the base is just as lovely.

2015/01/img_0168.jpg

Take me back!

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this list — I enjoyed writing it!
I can’t wait to book another trip back to this amazing city one day.

Do you have any things on your Parisian bucket list? Or something I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Beating post holiday blues

When the good times are over it's hard not to be sad!

When the good times are over it’s hard not to be sad!

POST-HOLIDAY blues are rough.

You come back after this amazing time away and return to the same home, the same job and the same routine. (Not to mention any mess you left behind while you were frantically packing.)

I’ve just come back from a few days in Melbourne and I went on an incredible five-week trip to Europe earlier this year so I know this feeling all too well.

Seeing loads of amazing places can make the boring chores when you return even more dreary.

One moment you’re sailing across crystal clear water in Greece and the next you’re back in the morning traffic.

Heading into the supermarket to try and find something for dinner when you’ve eaten nothing but amazing meals since you left is a bit of an anti-climax.
And don’t even get me started on standing in line at the bank.

One of the worst things people can ask when you return is “are you glad to be home?” Because sometimes, the answer is no.

Getting deep into post-holiday blues can mean you get to the point where you’d push your own mother out of the way if it meant getting on a plane out of here. (Sorry mum.)

I knew I was sad but it took me a while to realise I was actually mourning my holiday.

I’d been planning my trip to Europe for years and I couldn’t believe it was over.

Months down the track I could hardly bear to look at my photos because it made my heart ache with sadness. (OK, I know that seems overdramatic but that’s just how it was.)

You start to second-guess everything you did.

Why didn’t I enjoy the planning stage more and savour every tiny moment of the months leading up to it?

I can’t say I didn’t soak it all up while I was there because I know I did but it’s still hard to think about all the times I was jet lagged so I went to bed early instead of enjoying the Parisian summer.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though.

 

Here are my top tips for getting over feeling like you want to quit everything and buy a one-way ticket to a tropical island.

  • Unpack straight away. Getting rid of that suitcase and pile of dirty washing can be therapeutic – and chances are you’ll find some nice things you’ve purchased at the same time. This is also a good time to have a clean-out because, if you’re anything like me, there’s probably no room for all of those new clothes in your wardrobe anyway.
  • Learn from your mistakes. As you’re unpacking, check what you didn’t use to help you plan for next time, because no one likes excess baggage fees.
  • Sort out, print and display your photos. I’ll be honest, this one isn’t easy right away, but having a reminder that you really did go and it wasn’t just a dream can be comforting. Actually holding a photo in your hot little hands can make it easier to recall every detail of the scene. I took an Instax mini Polaroid camera with me and it was perfect!
    • In the past I’ve been guilty of taking loads of photos and storing them on my computer for years. What a waste! I recently placed an order through an app run by a Sydney couple called Origrami. It lets you print photos from your Instagram feed and phone photo roll and posts them to your house. Easy! See my review here.
  • Go nuts on Tripadvisor. Loved a place? Really wish you’d been warned there was a school full of screaming children near your hotel? (Yes, this happened in Paris. I can only imagine it was a sports carnival because the cheering went on ALL DAY.) This is a great way to tell everyone about it. Save them from making the same mistakes, or let them on a well-kept secret.
  • Read up on all of the unanswered questions from your trip. What is the winter like in Greece? Are you supposed to flush toilet paper in Rome? You’re going to find out! (Mild but wet and no.)
  • Look into being a tourist in your own state. The travel bug can be soothed with a bit of exploring that won’t damage your credit card any more than it already has been.
  • Think of all the people and things your home has that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. If you’ve got good friends to help you numb the pain with fast food and wine, that’s worth coming home to.
  • And lastly but most importantly, PLAN ANOTHER TRIP. Never stop exploring.

 

What are your tips for getting over post-holiday blues? Let me know in the comments!

IMG_8667

THIS is what I left behind! Spent an incredible day sailing on this off the coast of Paros, in the Greek Islands.

Oh, Paris! There's nothing quite like it.

Oh, Paris! There’s nothing quite like it.