On the final leg of a European vacation, Rebekah and I flew from Prague to Paris on EasyJet, one of many budget flight operators in Europe. We found that flying was the easiest and cheapest way for us to connect from Czech Republic to France.
While one of the primary reasons for visiting Paris was a convenient direct flight home to DFW using frequent flyer miles, I was excited to experience first-hand the magic of Paris. Rebekah visited Paris on a multi-day layover before we were married, but was eager to share this enchanted city with me. Playing the part of tour guide, Rebekah planned our itinerary based on her prior knowledge of this massive city.
We had four full days in the capital of France. While four days is a great length of time to hit most of the highlights, you could spend weeks or months thoroughly exploring the city and all it has to offer.
We found that strategically grouping activities based on location was key. With poor planning, you could spend an hour taking Metros and walking to sights that seem close on a map, before you realize the impressive scale of Paris.
For your reference, we have included the major attractions that we visited on each day. While we are by no means experts on Paris, if you are planning a trip to Paris, feel free to use this as a guideline. Add, subtract, move and modify based on your itinerary and interests.
DAY 1: Sample the Arts of Paris
AM – Wander through the impressive international art collection of The Louvre (closed on Tuesdays).
PM – Enjoy the French Impressionists at the Musée d’Orsay (closed on Mondays).
Evening – Cruise the Seine River on one of many boat tour companies.
DAY 2: Day trip to Versailles
AM – Hop on the train from downtown Paris to the town of Versailles. Wander through the rooms of the Royal Palace, including the famed Hall of Mirrors (complex closed on Mondays).
PM – Lounge in the Palace’s gardens, including the Domain of Marie Antoinette. Travel back to Paris.
Evening – Hike up the iconic Eiffel Tower for great views over the city.
DAY 3: The Architecture of Paris
AM – Contemplate the stained glass windows of Saint-Chapelle and Notre Dame Cathedral’s architecture. For a great view, climb Notre Dame’s towers.
PM – Relax while taking in Monet’s The Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie (closed on Tuesdays).
Evening – Stroll through Luxembourg Gardens.
DAY 4: One last look at Art, Churches and the Monuments of Paris
AM – Ponder The Thinker at Musée Rodin (closed on Mondays).
PM – Explore the Montmartre neighborhood capped with The Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Sacré-Cœur.
Evening – Climb the Arc de Triumph for sweeping views of the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower’s twinkling lights at night.
When planning your Paris trip, you will undoubtedly come across the well-advertised Paris Pass. Basically, the Paris Pass includes access to select museums, monuments, the Metro and other attractions/activities all in one ticket. When Rebekah and I crunched the numbers, we found this pass was not a good deal for us, even considering the fairly intense sightseeing itinerary above. However, the less know Paris Museum Pass was very beneficial. This pass allowed access to the above museums, plus the tower climbs at Notre Dame and the Arc de Triumph. Note: Neither of these passes include admission to the Eiffel Tower. Also, we purchased a four day Metro Pass in addition to the Museum Pass since we used public transportation frequently. This pass works for sites within the downtown zone, but a separate ticket is required for day trips, such as Versailles.
Now that you have your itinerary and your tickets, let’s talk about these great places in more detail.
In the first of many series we could write on Paris, join us as we take a look at some highlights from the city’s extensive art scene. The Art of Paris will start in the world renowned art museums, but spill out of the galleries and into the streets, viewing stunning colored light from stained glass windows at our favorite church to the serene beauty of a cemetery.
Thursday, October 1 – Musée Rodin.
Monday, October 5– Paris at Night: A Photographic Stroll through the City of Lights.
Monday, October 12 – Top 5 Experiences at the Musée d’Orsay.
Thursday, October 15 – Saint-Chapelle.
Monday, October 19 – Monet’s Water Lilies at the Musée de l’Orangerie.
Thursday, October 22 – Père Lachaise Cemetery.
Tuesday, October 27– Top 5 Experiences at the Louvre.