HomeAway staffer J.R. Link counts down his top 10 favorite moments from his vacation to Paris:
Often described as one of the “most romantic cities in the world”, Paris absolutely holds true to that claim. With the Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel to locals), Louvre, Notre Dame and many more, the City of Lights is worthy of at least a week’s vacation! While Americans might be surprised to hear how friendly and accommodating the French locals were, the biggest surprise might be how quickly you can pick-up the language, even if you’re a pure Texan! This list could envelop 100 worthy activities and events, but I’ve highlighted the top 10 for a week in Paris, France!
10. Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
Although it’s number 10 on this list, don’t think for a second it’s not worthy of the top spot! The best way to go about the Eiffel Tower is to do a pre-paid, “Skip the Line” tour. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, you should absolutely try to do the New Year’s tour; it will be a guided event that begins on the Champ de Mars and concludes on the 2nd level of the tower, before venturing to the summit on your own. You should spend some time visiting the tower both during the day and at night, as the hourly light show that illuminates the city runs from 7pm until midnight!
9. Seine River
Although it might sound “touristy” and a bit pricey, the river cruises on the Seine are well worth it! The dinner cruise, which runs approximately 2.5 hours, allows great views of the Eiffel Tower, the statue of liberty replica that sits on an island mid-river, and the cityscape at night!
8. Centre Pompidou and the Marais
One of the most eclectic and artsy areas of Paris, the Marais is a great place to spend a few hours wondering the streets while enjoying local artisans, street vendors and the current exhibits at the Centre Pompidou. One of the best nutella crepes of my visit was in a small café adjacent to the Centre Pompidou, which also boasts one of the most renowned restaurants in Paris. This would be a great activity for a day of local immersion, as it’s fairly removed from the bustling tourist locales!
7. Palais Garnier
The opera house in Paris is a true architectural gem. One of the most striking Beaux-Arts style buildings within the city, it was built in 1861 and is well-worth a visit!
6. Notre-Dame Cathedral
Perhaps one of the most well-known Parisian sites, this was one of my favorites while visiting the city! There is an actual “viewing deck” directly across from the Cathedral, so you can take some great photos, take-in the architectural wonder of the building, and be among thousands of visitors from around the world!
The Louvre is apparently a full-day event, so if you plan on exploring the museum, you should definitely schedule an entire day for it! The grounds are worth roaming, even if you don’t make it inside. One of the most iconic structures, the pyramid is amazing to see at night. Even though it wasn’t constructed until 1984, there is a great juxtaposition of architecture between old and new!
4. Day trip to London
If you have a free day in your schedule, take the Eurostar train, via the chunnel, to London! In less than 2 hours, you will arrive in the center of London, ready to take in the city! During our hurried visit, we were able to take a spin on the London Eye, visit the Churchill War Rooms, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben! The best way to go about visiting each of these sites is to plan ahead and purchase tickets online, as they will sell-out quickly! London provides a welcome relief mid-trip during your Paris visit, as the transition from French to English was great!
3. A Parisian View
We all know that the view from atop Tour Eiffel is incredible; especially hearing the storied history of those who have reached the summit (and those infamous historical figures who tried but failed). If you’re able to stay in a vacation rental or a hotel with a view amidst the city, it is an absolute must! One of the most exciting opportunities about staying in central Paris is the feeling of history, culture and thriving metropolis. If your hotel/vacation rental has a great view, book it!
2. Galeries Lafayette
Once again, a visit during the holiday season is essential for this must-see spectacle of a shopping venue. Galeries Lafayette, located in the 9th arrondissement, is a sprawling shopping center, whose focal point is a giant Christmas tree sitting underneath of the iconic glass and steel dome. The Haussmann location is the flagship location for the chain, and it is a whirlwind of Parisian fashion, global branding and sensory overload!
1. A Parisian stroll
The quintessential Parisian experience relies on an afternoon of simply taking in the city; enjoy a crepe beneath the Eiffel Tower, walk the Tuileries Garden or spend the hours immersed in what is arguably the cultural center of the world. No matter your time or budget, it’s hard not to fall for Paris and her charming ways.