European City Getaways: Paris

Paris is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in not only Europe, but the world. A 2-hour flight from most European city capitals, here’s an essential overview on how to capture the city in 3-4 days with an overview of some of the must see and spectacular sights of the city. Also included is some useful advice on how to navigate around the city, with tips on how to minimize expense for those seeking to explore on a budget.

#1 Sacre-Coeur/Montmartre/Moulin Rouge


First port of call for all visitors to the city should be the Montmartre region, especially for those whom fly into Charles de Gaulle.

Sacre-Coer is a free visit trip around the church, with mass frequently offered. I opted for the hike to the very top, all 350 steps.   These steps are a struggle but the view from the top is mesmerizing, I’d go as far to suggest the best of Paris. Entry is €6.

Montmartre is the district of Paris wherein you can find Moulin Rouge within a walking distance. A tourist hotspot, but also a tourist trap. I was warned before the trip to mind my belongings, and of all places visited, I felt my personal belongings were most at threat here. Walking around the streets in Montmartre was without doubt a highlight. It felt like the real Paris, with small intimidating restaurants. Starting your break away in this region is highly recommended.

#2 Eiffel Toweref

Well you have to go really, don’t you! A sight from every angle once within the city. In fact, it is very difficult to take an outdoor image without the backdrop of the tower.

My plan of action for this tourist attraction was to walk up to the 2nd floor (€5 admission fee) and then get a lift to the top (€6 fee). Direct elevators to the top are possible but at a further expense and with a lengthy queue. Stairwells are actually very quite and not much of a struggle to hike. The biggest struggle I encountered was tackling the ascend in the midday heat. Through this path you can also fully appreciate the structure. I downloaded some great free audioguides to listen up upon ascending the tower which greatly added to the experience.

#3 Palace of Versailles


Vast. I was told that this is a must see for my trip, and I would tend to agree. That said, depending on the number of days you have in Paris, the palace and gardens of Versailles requires a full day excursion. I grabbed a train from the city out at €3 each way. Such is the scale of the palace, I only managed to take in the gardens and out houses, at a cost of €7, however EU citizens can gain entry for free on days when the water shows are not on. A little tip I would give is to invest time exploring the gardens, which stretch as far as the eye can see. The groundskeepers and maidens gardens are particularly pretty and secluded from tourists. When planning in advance, it is important to note that most of Versailles is not open on a Monday.

Tip: Under 26 and hold an EU Passport? Get in for Free! Just bring your Passport along with you!

#4 Musee d’Orsay/Louvre


The final two highlights of Musee d’Orsay, The Louvre and Notre Dame can all be done on the same day and are all within walking distance of each-other. My recommendation would be to go to Notre Dame in the morning, Musee d’Orsay in the afternoon and then save the Louvre until the evening (Note it is open until 9:45 pm on a Wednesday and Friday).

Musee d’Orsay was my personal favourite of the two, with a much nicer layout. The Louvre is horribly laid out and quite frustrating. That said, if one was pushed for time I would recommend Musee d’Orsay. Art lovers should be directed to Musee d’Orsay, tourists looking for selfies with the Mona Lisa should be directed to the Louvre.

Tip: Under 25 and hold an EU Passport? Get in for Free! Just bring your Passport along with you!

#5 Notre Dame


Navigation throughout the heart of Paris can be guided with the aid of the River Seine. At the most easterly point of the city centre is the Notre Dame cathedral. The cathedral is quite similar to Sacre-Coer, with the slight draw back of the views elevation over the city not placing this attraction higher up the list. Well worth a visit and you can go right up into the Bell Tower.

Tip: Go up to the top of Notre Dame upon arrival. The entrance is actually to the left front facing. Groups of 20 go up at any given time, so expect to wait. Queing up straight away will save 30 mins to an hour, wherein the queue to the cathedral is fast moving.

Tip: Under 26 and hold an EU Passport? Get in for Free! Just bring your Passport along with you!



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