So unlike most peeps Paris has never been a huge bucket list must visit, it wasn’t evening my top 10! But since I was heading to London I decided to go at least see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Booked a $50 flight with Vueling though Expedia and a random hotel with Hotels.com. I didn’t plan anything in advance and I honestly wasn’t even that excited about going. Plus I know absolutely no French and I just knew that would cause issues.
I landed at 10am and caught the train into the city, thankfully my hotel was able to store my bags so I could head out and explore, I had about 5hrs of sunlight left and had a super early flight the next morning so i hadn’t planned on being out all night.
I decided to skip the metro and walk the city, I didn’t have a plan so I just walked and happened to run right into Notre Dame! The bells were ringing and there was hardly a line to go inside, it’s actually free to tour the cathedral. They were actually having mass so I hit pause on tourist mode for that, how many people can say they had communion in Notre Dame? The cathedral it’s self was gorgeous, huge ceilings and beautiful stained windows. It was pouring rain and it’s free to enter so unfortunately it was slam packed with people just trying to stay dry.
I wandered my way randomly though adorable little Parisian streets and along the not so pretty river seine. I next happened upon the louvre museum, I of course had to get a picture of the glass pyramid. I’ve never been into art and I was on a budget so touring the museum wasn’t a “must do” I have also heard for many travelers that they were disappointed with all the hype around the louvre and the Mona Lisa.
From there I walked down though the mini arch, the gardens and to the Paris version of the London eye. It was pretty cheap so I decided to jump on. I lucked out being alone, none of the couples wanted me as their third wheel in the little cabins so I scored a cabin to myself even though it clearly said no single riders! It was a spectacular view of the city and I could finally see the tower! Up until then I had yet to catch a glimpse of it and was beginning to think it didn’t exist lol
Since this was my only day in Paris I broke my no tourist attraction spending and jumped on a hop on/off bus. I really like these tours, it’s normally a great form of transportation and fun facts along the way. I would suggest booking online ahead of time, they normally offer a little discount. Just remember to print the tickets before you leave, they don’t accept email receipts and while in NYC last year I had to find a copy place so that I could print them out.
I hopped off at the tower, I unfortunately had only grabbed my rain jacket before I left the hotel since it had been so warm compared to London but apparently a cold front had arrived and it was windy and freezing! I stood shivering in line and went though security to only find out that due to wind they had closed the top of the tower. Talk about major let down! It was still pretty neat to stand under it and I got some great tower pictures but I decided to add “going up in the Eiffel Tower” to my bucket list. I did however grab a tasty doughnut while there.
Not doing any planning or research lead me to being surprised on how many things are in Paris, I totally forgot about the arch de triumph and many other neat shops and museums.
I did leave for Paris with a list of foods to eat, #1 being macaroons!! They have been my favorite little treat to indulge in recently and I had this dream of walking down a Paris street munching on macaroons lol I found a little shop that happened to be one of the most famous places bakeries to make them. They had so many flavors and colors and huge ones to the typical size. I wanted to try them all but these little things can be so pricey! I thought they were a rip-off till I made some myself this summer. They are a pain to make and take forever so I can sort of justify the price now. I won’t about €19 on 6 regular and one giant macaroons. I went with vanilla, coffee, strawberry, passion fruit and chocolate! They wrapped them all up and put them in a fancy little bag! I also stopped at a bakery to grab some croissants that were melt in your mouth delicious!
I made my way back to my hotel to check in and I was pleasantly surprised. I had booked it very last minute and I liked the price so I grabbed it. The receptionist was so great, he had held my luggage all day while I explored plus given me a larger room then I had originally booked. The room it’s self though small was perfect! It was cozy yet elegant, clean and had those huge European windows I live so much! I finally did some research and found out the hotel was named after Louis, price of Condé. Most people would be like “ummmm ok” but this was super exciting because I loved the show reign that while not historically correct at most times followed the story of Mary queen of Scotts. Condé was one of my favorite characters from that show so it was neat to stay in a hotel named after the real Condé. The hotel was even on the rue of Condé.
I was silly to think that one day would be enough in Paris, I totally fell under the cities spell and can’t wait to book a flight to come back and dive deeper into its alleyways and history! I do plan on learning a little French though, while most people spoke English it was obvious that they were not a fan of speaking it. It did help to start with “bonjour” then ask if they spoke English and always end with “merci” the locals seemed more willing to help that way. I also ended up with an uber driver on the way to the airport that didn’t speak a single word of English and was very new to France as well which made it very difficult to communicate but I made it safe and on time to the airport so all good!!