Good morning everyone! This past weekend I was in Paris for the first time and it was an amazing experience. This city was way different than I had expected it to be. It was by far my favorite trip and I can definitely see myself living in Paris (and I know I say this on every trip I go on but this is different). The food, culture, buildings, and museums all drew me in. From the second I got there I was planing out how I’d be able to come back again in the near future. I was warned the people were rude but I had a completely different experience. Everyone was so nice to my friends and I even though I speak no French. Even with the cold and rainy weather I felt so at home in this amazing city and I’m excited to share what I learned and where I went.
Lesson 1: Pack Warm Clothes
For some reason I thought the cold November weather didn’t apply to Paris so I brought only tanks to wear under my leather and fur jackets. They were really cute don’t get me wrong, but I was cold. Thankfully, I brought my gloves and a scarf to help make up for it but I was still pretty cold.
Lesson 2: The Metro is your best friend
It’s so cheap and easy to use. I suggest the 10 pack to split with a friend.
Lesson 3: The Love Bridge is actually way less of a thing than its hyped up to be
This was one of those scenarios where my friends and I thought we weren’t in the right place. We were, it was just underwhelming to say the least. What we didn’t know is that Paris took down the locks in 2015 due to the weight issues it was causing. Slightly thankful for this safety concern, but also couldn’t they have made it more sturdy? Morale of the story- this isn’t worth your time while in Paris.
Lesson 4: There are MANY free attractions in Paris
- Eiffel Tower: The trick to this is you don’t have to go up it. In my opinion its a waste of time and money. Instead buy a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese and have a picnic in from of it with the company of friends or family. Pro-tip, at night it sparkles every hour and lasts for 10 minutes.
- The Pompidou: With a student ID the main exhibit is free. This took us about two and a half hours to see. It was all spectacular modern art with some interactive pieces as well. There are two floors which we didn’t realize and the second one was way more interesting than the first so make sure to save your energy.
- The Louvre: This is where the Mona Lisa is hanging along with tons and tons of other painting and statues. I didn’t stay longer than one hour so that I could see the Dior Exhibit too, but I really enjoyed my time there. Plus, it was free on Fridays for students.
- Notre Dame Cathedral: There wasn’t a very long wait to get in and the stain glass inside is truly spectacular. Even being Jewish I’ve gotten an appreciation for the time and detailing that have gone into these Cathedrals all around Europe. Worth the time to take a look!
Lesson 5: For macaroon fanatics like me…
Skip the long touristy lines at Laduree. Trust me. (There is one in the airport if you feel necessary that won’t have any lines). Instead a friend living in Paris recommended Lemoine and they are amazing and more reasonably priced than other bakeries.
Lesson 6: Map out the City on Mapstr
This saves me a ton of time and usually works without internet connection. It helps when I am trying to plan my time wisely by not walking back and forth throughout the city or to see which restaurants are closest to my current location.
Lesson 7: Come up with a daily game plan BUT its okay to go off course
People like to travel differently. It can cause problems as some like having more down time while others wanna keep going. To avoid arguments its helpful to plan it out before. I made a long google doc with tons of recommendations. It helps if you have people
comment on the ones most important to them so you get a better idea of what people are expecting out of their trip. Secondly, its totally okay to explore places not on the list. One of the recommended restaurants was overbooked so we found another place in that area and had an amazing time. We even found a bar after with live music that most of us highlighted as a favorite part. Unexpected turns can lead to great discoveries.
Lesson 8: Pre buy tickets to the Catacombs
This was probably the biggest disappointment of my trip. We didn’t realize how long the lines were and couldn’t see the catacombs. It was about a two hour wait in the cold and rain so we had to ditch the idea as a whole. We later learned you can pre-purchase the tickets and get to go into the shorter line.
Lesson 9: Its okay to separate from the group and explore on your own
Like I mentioned above, I left the Louvre early in hopes of seeing the Dior Exhibit no one else was that interested in seeing. BEST DECISION I’VE MADE IN MONTHS. The Dior Exhibit was my favorite part of the trip by far. I am super into fashion and was nearly brought to tears many times during the experience. The last room is spectacular and I actually did have tears of joy from that room. Also with a student ID I got reduced pricing to 8 Euros and 50 cents.
Overall, I had an amazing time. I’m very thankful for the amazing company and I cannot wait to go back to do it all again.