Visiting Paris had always been a dream of ours. We were thrilled when we were finally able to make our dream become a reality. Although we would have loved to stay longer than 4 days, we still had a whirlwind summer planned with several more European stops!
We picked a hotel in the Latin Quarter- Hotel Abbatial Saint Germain.
Room #47 on the 4th floor was tiny, as are most rooms in Europe. However, this was by far the smallest room we’ve ever stayed in. We barely found room for our two suitcases!
At least it offered great views of the surrounding neighborhood, including the Pantheon.
Paris is a sprawling yet walkable city. We walked A LOT, but also took the metro when feeling exhausted or when traveling to outlying neighborhoods, such as Montmartre.
We purchased the Paris Visite Card allowing us to use all of the public transportation services in the city. Since we stayed in central Paris for the duration of our visit, we purchased the 3-day Region 1-3 card.
Another money (and time) saving purchase we made was the Paris Museum Pass. 60 museums and monuments in and around the Paris region are currently included in the pass. Purchase a 2-, 4-, or 6- day pass depending on your needs and the duration of your stay. (We purchased both the Visite Card and Museum Pass at the Tourist Information Booth at the CDG Airport.)
We selected the 2-day museum pass and visited Musee du Louvre, Arch de Triomphe, Centre Pompidou, Sainte Chapelle, Musee Rodin, Musee d’Orsay, and Musee Cluny. (Click here to read about our museum experiences.)
Had we paid the individual admission prices, we would have spent close to twice as much! Having the pass allowed us to avoid waiting in long lines, as there were usually separate and extremely short (sometimes non-existent) lines for pass holders.
We visited the Arc de Triomphe at 5:30 pm on a summer evening and didn’t have to wait at all!
We loved the view from the Arc, as it included the Eiffel Tower in the city skyline. (Want to know where else to go for some of the best views in Paris? Check out this post.)
Not included in the Paris Museum Pass, but definitely worth a visit is the Opera National de Paris (Paris Opera House).
We felt fortunate that our trip coincided with Fete de la Musique, an annual event that takes place every June 21st (since 1982), where musicians and bands set up in the streets, cafés, and bars and play until the wee hours of the morning. As we wandered through the city streets, we heard rock, classical, jazz, techno, and our personal favorite- drumlines!
When visiting a new place, we usually make a list of ‘must try’ foods. Our list for Paris was quite extensive, including crêpes, croque monsuirs, macaroons, and crème brûlée, to name a few. For more Parisian food ideas and mouth-watering pictures, check out our food post.
As mentioned, Paris is a lovely city to explore by foot. You don’t have to go very far before stumbling upon a beautiful park or garden, as there are many throughout the city. (Want to know where some of the best are located? Take a look at our post- Strolling through the Gardens of Paris.)
Wandering the streets and along the River Seine, we came across some beautiful images worth capturing, such as the locks of love on the many bridges over the river.
Hotel de Ville is a beautiful piece of Renaissance architecture.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is another gorgeous sight to behold. To see some beautiful interior shots of the Notre Dame and other churches in Paris, check out our post- Stained Glass & Gargoyles.
Across the street from the cathedral is the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. It was small and cramped inside (which Sam loved), and had a neat selection of books.
There is so much to do and see in the City of Lights that 4 days certainly was not enough time. But, as is typical for Paris, it leaves you wanting to come back for more!
For a (printable) quick-reference destination guide to what we did during our entire stay in Paris (where we stayed, what and where we ate, activities, money saving tips, etc.), click here.