Destinations,  France

2 Perfect Days in Paris

We really did out do ourselves when planning our honeymoon. How typical could we get? Two newlyweds touring around Europe hand in hand, a stop in Paris was a MUST! It was short, sweet and to the point. No time was wasted and we made sure we indulged in as much of Paris as we possibly could. 

Paris is HUGE. There are a ton of historical sights, landmarks and museums scattered throughout the city centre and further. Traffic is pretty insane there and unfortunately I can’t speak to their public transit system. But I’m sure it’s comparable to any other major Western European City. With a short stay of only 2 days in the city of love and wanting to do and see as much as we possibly could; we decided to give the oh so touristy option of the hop-on-hop-off buss a shot. Had we been there for 4 days, we definitely would have taken public transit. Time was of the essence and we did’t want to waste it buying tickets, waiting for trains and busses to arrive etc. We wanted to get to each sight in a timely fashion so we could take in each one in for as long as possible. 

Getting to Paris

We arrived to Paris by train from Den Haag, Netherlands. It ended up being quite the situation, let me tell you! I’ve said it before and here I go, saying it again! Travel never goes perfectly but it tests your patience, resilience, maybe even some survival skills along the way. Typically the train is the best option. They are easy to navigate and you can find the information you need and purchase your ticket online ahead of time. For whatever reason we were unable to purchase our tickets online and had to call their reservation line. Long story short we ended up getting a ticket that had connecting trains rather than taking the direct bullet train. One of our trains ended up malfunctioning and we were delayed by an hour. This caused us to miss our third train to our final destination. What could have been and should have been a 3 hour train journey was actually a 9 hour one.

My advice

Always take the direct and fastest train and always try to book them as much as in advanced as possible. They are a little bit more expensive and fill up a lot faster but it is always worth it. By the time we got to Paris we were absolutely exhausted and decided to Uber to our Air BnB. Just poor timing… there happened to be some sort of police incident outside of Paris Gare De Nord train station with multiple roads blocked off. It was at least 1.5 hours by the time we got to our Air BnB. In the end that was pretty much the worst of our luck out of 25 days of travel. We are definitely grateful! 

Accommodations

Our Air BnB was located in the 7th arrondissement (the French government has divided the city up into 20 different neighbourhoods)

{see a map of the arrondissement’s below} 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrondissements_of_Paris 

We were within a 10 minute walk of the Louvre which was absolutely fabulous! It did come at a price though. We paid just shy of $150 CAD for a very tiny AirBnB with a loft style bed, a shower that my husband couldn’t stand straight in and a shared toilet between the other apartment owners & guests. It wasn’t exactly the most comfortable sleep or luxurious accommodations but it worked for our time frame. Unfortunately I completely forgot to take pictures of it! 

See location below

Arrival Day 

The chaos of travelling from Den Haag to Paris is what inspired this post! Technically we were supposed to arrive in Paris mid-day around 2PM and have 2.5 days in Paris. I guess fate understood that a blog post called “Paris in 2.5 days” just doesn’t sound as good! LOL!

We spent the evening getting familiar with the surroundings by our Air BnB. We discovered a bakery with the most divine pastries and bread, a cheese shop owned by husband and wife that make their own various types of delectable cheeses and before deciding between the  variety of classic Parisian restaurant options we were surrounded by, we stopped to watch the sunset over the Seine River.  

2 Day’s in Paris

Day 1: First full day in Paris

We decided to give Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tours a shot for the first time ever! The Hop-On-Hop-Off tours ended up working out great for us! This was the first time the hubby and I have used Hop-On-Hop-Off and would both highly recommend it if you’re short on time in a popular destination. The tickets can run for about $50 CAD (you can pay cash to the driver at any stop in the country’s currency) which is why I say I don’t always recommend it. There are a ton of different options with add-ons like skip the line, extra stops, 1, 2 or 3 day passes etc. We decided to buy the bus tour with the Seine River Cruise tour included. 

We were lucky enough to be within walking distance of the Musee D’Orsay hop-on-hop-off stop, so we started our day there. 

Stop1: Arc de Triomphe/ Champs-Elysées

It was such a wonderful way to see the Champs-Elysées, we drove down the entire avenue to the very end where we got off at the Arc De Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe was built to honour those who fought and died in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The names of the French victors and the generals are inscribed on the outside and inside of the Arc. Underneath lays the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is where the first ever eternal flame was lit in Western AND Eastern Europe. Burning in memory of the unidentified deceased from both World Wars. The Arc de Triomphe sits in the centre of Paris in the middle of a massive roundabout leading to about 12 massive & major streets so please be careful when trying to snap your instagram photo! Once we were finished admiring the massive Arc we walked down the opposite side of the street to stop for some lunch and find the next hop-on-hop-off stop.

Stop 2: Eiffel Tower 

The first time I visited Paris, I was 15 on a European family vacation. We were unable to visit the top of the famous tower & I was absolutely devastated. I vowed to one day go back to Paris and visit the top of the Eiffel Tower. In reality I ended up choosing to not go up the tower. I think as I have travelled more and grown up I found more importance this time around in learning more about Paris and seeing new things. I’m definitely not knocking down the idea of going up to the top though, if that’s something you want to do, then go for it, I hear the views are amazing! 😉 

(to go to the top of the tower is costs €25/person) 

Stop 3: Seine River Cruise 

From here we walked over to the river where we could hop on to our Seine river boat tour. The boat tour was lovely, it gave an opportunity to rest the feet and get some fresh air. We were able to see the Eiffel Tower from the water along with stunning Notre Dame & the Grande & Petite Palace’s. We were accompanied by exquisitely detailed bridges throughout the entire journey. It was comfortable and relaxing. I would really recommend you give the river/canal tours a try wherever you can!

Stop 4: The Louvre 

The last stop of the day… that is, right after a stop for a sweet waffle treat; was the Louvre! By the time we arrived it was 7:30PM. When buying our tickets the lady at the counter seemed concerned and continued to confirm with us that we wanted to go in so close to closing time. We didn’t understand why until we entered the museum and were trying to look for certain pieces of art. We knew it was big, huge…a MAMOTH, yes. But man… were our expectations ever blown out of the water.

Not being “art” people, we figured the 1.5 hours we allocated would have been enough. I swear time works differently in that museum and that 1.5 hours flew by in the blink of an eye. Give it at least 3 hours. If you’re not able to allocate that time then you must accept that you will see about 1/8 of the museum and not all the pieces of art you were hoping to see. This is my friendly warning 🙂 

The Louvre holds over 30,000 pieces of artwork. 

FACT: If you were to spend 30 seconds looking at each piece of artwork (with no pee breaks, or spared seconds) it would take you 6 months to see each individual piece! 

However, we made it our mission to see the most famous painting in the world – the Mona Lisa. Along with some other super cool pieces. See my pictures below or check out my instagram @lostblondesole

We stayed until the very bitter end trying to see as much as we possibly could. Then headed back to our AirBnB where we had a couple fresh baguettes, some brie and some 18 month aged Gouda. Delicious!!

Day 2: Second full day in Paris

Stop 1: Moulin Rouge

Starting our day the exact same way by hopping back on our Hop-On-Hop-Off bus (only the blue line this time) we headed to Moulin Rouge. The original Moulin Rouge was founded in 1889 but unfortunately burned down in 1915. Famous for being the birthplace of the CanCan dance and later being the backbone to the explosion of cabarets around Europe. It was evolutionary in its time and you can still visit today and enjoy the throwback decor and spectacular classic entertainment. If I’m being completely honest with you, we didn’t go into Moulin Rouge and enjoy a show. It’s not something that really ever interested myself or my husband. Rather we walked around the 18 arrondissement grabbing lunch and taking in the raw culture of Montmartre (they have tons of sex shops, lingerie stores and strip clubs!) 

Stop 2: Notre Dame 

This is the most visited attraction in Paris, with 12 million people stopping by to gawk at it’s beauty yearly. Like most churches and castles in Europe Notre Dame was breathtaking. Construction started in 1160 & was nearly complete by 1260. It’s gone through restoration a couple times over it’s lifetime yet stands as tall and as intimidating as ever. We learned that Notre Dame isn’t perfectly symmetrical on either side. It’s kind of like one of those games where you have two pictures of the same thing but there are 10 slight differences you need to find. That’s Notre Dame for you, the LIVE version! LOL! The classic French Gothic architectural style is dazzling and the detail on the outside is articulate. It’s something you wouldn’t find on any modern architecture these days. The minor differences of either side give it a beautiful charm and the gardens that are filled with scare crows and gargoyles give it just the right amount of spooky feels. Inside doesn’t fall short of the same impressive details. Colourful rose windows and rib vaulted ceilings are a must see. 

What we would change

I can promise you that we never felt rushed at any point. Our time in Paris was spent doing all the best things and at the perfect pace for us. We walked along random streets, stopped by to browse stores & buy souvenirs, grab snacks and enjoy each sight. The only changes we would make would be swapping the day we visited Moulin Rouge & the Louvre. See our minor changes and recommended bullet itinerary below!

Itinerary

Day 1: 

  1. Champs-Elysées/Arc de Triomphe
  2. Eiffel Tower
  3. Seine River Cruice 
  4. Moulin Rouge 

Day 2: 

  1. Notre Dame 
  2. Louvre 
  3. Catacoombs of Paris (we didn’t do this- I honestly completely forgot about this {that’s what happens when you’re planning your wedding & honeymoon at the same time!} I would  have loved to do this, it’s a little further out in the 14th arrondissement but if you have time definitely check it out!) 

2 Comments

  • Sheila

    This brought back so many memories of my trip 28 years ago just after graduating college with an art degree. So many stories in my head of that visit. I wish I could do it again! I literally spent 30 seconds looking at all the pieces I wanted to and it took me 3 hours allotted to me by my dad.

    • Holland

      Oh man! We were so shocked. Still to this day… I knew it was big but man you can’t predict that! Paris is so beautiful and has so much history and stories to tell throughout the city! I’m happy my post brought back happy memories for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *