“We only went to Paris and we loved it.” During our travels in Central America, Jon and I have met a few French travellers and we’d always say how much we enjoyed our short visit to France. A famous tourist destination for years, Paris has received mixed reactions from people who went there – some good, some below expectations. We can’t simply base our perception on a place based on what others say, we had to see it for ourselves. Paris is the last city we visited during our nearly three months in Europe (we visited Morocco in between). Although we only spent three days in Paris (we arrived Friday night), it was a perfect finale to our unforgettable first trip to Europe.
Eiffel Tower from Champ de Mars
I couldn’t explain the happiness I felt when I saw Eiffel tower for the first time. It was a hazy autumn Friday night, but the glimmer of its lights and the golden structure shone through. It is dramatically beautiful. This engineering masterpiece is just as stunning as I had imagined.
We only had 2 days in Paris to explore as much as we could. We started our day with a quick morning visit to the Eiffel tower. It was a short walk from Rue Du Commerce, the area where we were staying. In different lighting conditions, it’s as gorgeous as ever.
Avenue des Champs-Élysées
From the Eiffel tower, we walked towards the Louvre Museum via Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Retail shops stand side by side in this well-known tourist stop. It is surely tempting to visit all the fancy shops but shopping will have to wait till my next trip to Paris (A designer bag simply doesn’t fit in a backpacker’s priority list).
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Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum)
To make our visit to the Louvre more exciting, we watched the movie, “Da Vinci Code” again. Yes, we visited all the works of Leonardo Da Vinci! Prior to the movie’s fame (or the book), the Louvre Museum was one place I really wanted to visit in Paris. There was something about being surrounded by a myriad of artworks that I find truly inviting.
Like kids in a candy store, we were full of energy searching for the best artworks in the museum. With the crowd, we adored the beauty of Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. As we explored other halls of the Louvre, we saw other numerous impressive pieces of art, paintings and sculptures. It was a long day, but truly worth it.
Pont des Arts Bridge
Right outside the Louvre Museum is the Pont des Arts Bridge, a bridge known not only for its architecture but for its transformation into a love locks bridge. However, when we went for a quick visit, the love locks were all hidden away. Boards covered nearly the whole stretch of the pedestrian bridge’s railings so no one can place new love locks. It has been a question for some time now, is it graffiti or is it art?
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Musée d’ Orsay
Huge Van Gogh fan here. I’m not a big art person but I have adored Van Gogh’s works since I encountered photos of his paintings when I was a kid. The brush strokes are full of passion and the colours are very dramatic. Musée d’ Orsay, an old railway station turned into a museum, holds the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world from painters such as Van Gogh, Monet, Renoir and Gauguin. I came as a Van Gogh enthusiast, and left as an admirer of Impressionist Art altogether.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral was our next stop. The exterior and interior of the church is impressive, but it was the view that we longed to see from the cathedral’s tower. Unfortunately, it was closed when we got there. It was only 4:45pm but because of the winter season, they had to close early. Thus, we had to wait for that till the next day.
Archaeological Crypt of Notre Dame
Underneath the Notre Dame Cathedral is an archaeological crypt which offers a fascinating overview of the history and development of the city Paris. The ruins here may be hard to appreciate as there are not much left but the narratives on the museum provide good information if you are keen to know more about the past of this city.
Latin Quarter of Paris
Saturday night ended with dinner at Paris’ Latin Quarter. It was our local twist to our Paris Itinerary (it’s actually a touristy area but we didn’t have it on our planned itinerary). If not for Jon’s friend, who had been living in Paris for a while, we would not have found this area filled with great restaurants, cafes and brasseries. It was busy but it was full of life which makes it really interesting. We had our first proper French dinner in one of the restaurants here and it was delicious!
Check out the second part of the Weekend of Art and Romance: 2 Days in Paris post here.
Where to Stay in Paris
Luxury – Le Narcisse Blanc & Spa
Boutique – Hotel La Lanterne
Budget – Familia Hotel
Do you have plans to visit Paris? Have you been to Paris? Let us know!
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