Paris is the capital of France and is crossed by the famous Seine River. Throughout the course of its history, Paris has had a decisive influence on the politics, culture, lifestyle and economy of the entire Western world. A treasure chest containing numerous monuments of incalculable historical and artistic value, Paris represents the very symbol of French culture and its prestige in the world.
In short, it is well known that Paris must be visited at least once. For short stays, I suggest you check out Airbnb and expect to be a bit out of the center if you want to save money, because you know that Paris is not a cheap city.
What to see
Having already been to Paris a few times for my short stay I decided to revisit familiar places and enjoy new ones. Remember that up to the age of 25 (included) virtually all museums are free! However, it is important to always book all the entries, especially on weekends.
For those who have never been of course a tour of the most touristy places is a must. One route I’ve always loved is to start from the Louvre Museum passing through the Jardins des Tuileries – where you can enjoy relaxing on one of the famous green metal chairs – you can stop at the Museum of Decorative Arts which usually offers interesting exhibitions on fashion. I, for example, have the opportunity to visit an exhibition on the designer Thierry Mugler. From there, passing you again through Les Jardins des Tuileries you can reach the Musée de l’Orangerie, where you will find the largest exhibition of Monet’s water lilies.
At that point you will easily find yourself at Place de la Concorde where you can walk along the famous Champs-Élysées and see the Arc de Triomphe or cross the imposing Pont Alexandre III to reach Les Invalides – where Napoleon’s tomb is located – and Champs de Mars with its favorite symbol of Paris: the Eiffel Tower. On this side of the Seine, you will also find the Musée d’Orsay, an old train station with a large collection of impressionist works and an unforgettable view of Paris.
Unfortunately, after the major fire in 2019, the famous Notre-Dame Metropolitan Cathedral is closed, thus leaving tourists without one of the most symbolic destinations to visit. In its place, however, I recommend seeing the Sainte-Chapelle, which is located just a few steps away from Notre-Dame and will leave you speechless with its colors. The chapel is one of the most important monuments of Gothic architecture because it is entirely made of glass.
A trip out of town – Château de Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is an ancient and grandiose residence of the Bourbons of France located in the town of Versailles reachable from the center of Paris in about 45 min by RER (the “city” train). It is therefore necessary to make a specific ticket, but round trip costs a total of €8.
The palace was built at the behest of the young Louis XIV to get away from the capital and its citizens, feared and considered difficult to keep under control. Versailles remained the seat of political power of the kingdom of France from 1682 until 1789. The most famous room to visit is the Hall of Mirrors, but be prepared to spend several hours not only in the palace but especially in the immense park of the palace. Needless to say, it is mandatory to book everything, both visit to the palace and entrance to the gardens!
Where to eat
Of course, my guide couldn’t not end with some great places to eat! Aside from my love for French pastries, I love trying cuisines from different parts of the world, to travel “without traveling”.
Pastry shops that you can’t miss are the historic Angelina, near Les Jardins des Tuileries and Cyril Lignac’s La Pâtisserie. They are not cheap, but your palate will thank you.
If you want to try flying to Vietnam for a few hours Paris Hanoï is a small but cozy place for you (and it’s cheap too!). TranTranZai is the place to try for the best Chinese noodles you can eat in the West! Just steps away from the Panthéon (a chance to see it), you’ll be licking your lips! Finally, from the Japanese tradition you can try Superbao, how to explain? Hamburgers revisited, but too good, especially with sweet potatoes!
A timeless classic of French cuisine you can try at Le Relais de l’Entrecôte Marbeuf. Here the highlight is the entrecôte with fries, you can have seconds and yes, it costs more than a normal dish, but once in your life you must try it!