I spent a total of two weeks in Paris during the start of May. I think the first thing we should discuss, is the weather. All in all it wasn’t bad – especially considering that Paris is basically flooded now – but I would recommend you to pack in some layers when visiting Paris in April/May. The first week of my stay was lovely spring weather, but the second week had some drizzly days.
Then, I did something everyday, and if I had to write a review on everything I can almost guarantee that nobody would finish reading this blogpost. So I’ll just tell you about the highlights.
Paris is a great city to just walk around in. In fact, most days this was my main outing. For me, getting to know a city is to be in the city, and not only dedicate my time to museums and galleries. Be careful about pickpockets though – as every local kept informing me.
One of the first places I visited was the Picasso museum, and it didn’t disappoint. Personally, I’m not so much into very abstract art, and I found that the Picasso museum had a perfect blend of Picasso art pieces. It was also very informative on the life of dear Pablo.
Something I absolutely loved about Paris was the amount of churches and cathedrals the city holds. Paris is in actual fact not that big of a city, and I was constantly amazed when around almost every corner you find yet another beautiful piece of architecture dedicated to prayer and worship. Also, most of them are freely open to the public. Go do yourselves a favour and experience the extreme care in craft that went into constructing these places.
I did a visit to both the Musée D’Orsay and Le Louvre, and in all honesty, I preferred the Musée D’Orsay. It was less crowded and the art was more to my taste. Also, I didn’t feel like I was doing a marathon in Musée D’Orsay. That being said, Le Louvre was in itself amazing. The vast majority of art is slightly overwhelming, and when people tell you that there is no way to see the entire Louvre in one day, they speak true. The best thing to do is to prepare beforehand and choose a few sections you want to visit. C’est la vie to the rest. — Side note, both museums have coffee shops and restaurants inside, so it is possible to spend an entire day in both without dying of hunger and fatigue halfway through.
Versailles was another ‘big’ touristy thing I did (excuse the pun). The castle already leaves you half speechless, and thereafter you are faced with one of the most magnificent gardens, or rather parks, ever. This is definitely a day-long trip, but well worth it. Friendly tip, buy tickets online in advance if at all possible.
The Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomph and Sacre Coeur can all be done in a day, depending on whether you go up and/or inside. I had been to Paris previously with my family, so I kept my visiting times at these landmarks rather short.
The metro in Paris is very simple and accessible. For guidelines on how it works, you can ask for help at the stations, or you can read my previous blog post [here], where I give a brief summary on how the London underground works – Paris is pretty much the same deal.
Lastly, cost. Paris is rather expensive. There’s no reason to sugarcoat that fact. But, one can be smart about it. Meals are cheapest if you buy them at grocery stores. When visiting a museum or gallery, always check online, or ask at the desk, whether there is some discount or special price that you qualify for. That being said, please don’t go to Paris and not indulge at least once.
It is after all Paris, and you would be doing yourself an injustice not to have at least one macaron from La Durée, or a nutella crêpe in Saint-Michel.
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